How to make potato salad: A recipe the South African way

How to make potato salad: A recipe the South African way

Potato salad is a versatile and popular dish in South Africa, especially during braais and other social gatherings. It is often enjoyed as part of a larger meal, contributing to the overall richness of the Mzansi cuisine.

Easy potato salad recipe
Potato salad with spinach, basil pesto sauce and bacon (L) with herbs (R). Photo: Haoliang/Mariha-kitchen (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Potato salad recipes can vary, allowing individuals and families to put their twist on the dish. This adaptability makes it a versatile option that can be optimized based on personal preferences and available ingredients.

Traditional potato salad recipe for South Africans

South Africa is known for its diverse culinary traditions influenced by various ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds. Potato salad’s ability to complement a wide range of dishes fits well in the diverse food landscape in the country.

There are multiple ways to prepare the meal, but the best potato salad recipe depends on individual preferences and cultural influences. Try this recipe for a creamy-flavored dish.

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Potato salad ingredients

You need these ingredients for an easy potato salad recipe with eggs;

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot (optional)

Potato salad cooking instructions

For a creamy potato salad recipe, follow these simple cooking instructions;

1. Place the diced potatoes in a pot of salted water.

2. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender but still firm (about 10-15 minutes).

Boiling potatoes
Bring diced potatoes to a boil. Gif: @thatocooks on YouTube/ (modified by author)
Source: UGC

3. Drain the potatoes and let them cool.

4. Mix mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, white vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

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5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled potatoes, chopped hard-boiled eggs, chopped red onion, chopped parsley, chopped chives, and grated carrots (if using).

How to make potato salad at home
Mix the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Gif: @thatocook on YouTube/ (modified by author)
Source: UGC

6. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and gently toss until the potatoes are well coated.

7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to allow the flavours to meld.

8. Once chilled, give the potato salad a final toss and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

9. Garnish with additional chopped parsley or chives if desired.

10. Serve and enjoy your South African-style potato salad!

Best South African potato salad
Serve as desired. Gif: @thatocooks on YouTube/ (modified by author)
Source: UGC

How to make a potato salad Jamie Oliver style

Jamie Oliver is known for his fresh and flavourful approach to cooking. His style emphasizes the use of fresh herbs and high-quality ingredients. The simple potato salad recipe is as follows;


You will need these ingredients to prepare a meal for eight people.

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  • 1.6 kg potatoes
  • 4 heaped tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 4 teaspoons English mustard
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • Edible flowers to serve (optional)

Cooking instructions

Follow these steps for the best potato salad Jamie Oliver style;

1. Wash the potatoes and half any larger ones.

2. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender (about 15 mins). Drain and let them cool down.

3. Mix Greek yoghurt, English mustard, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl—season with salt and pepper.

Jamie Oliver's potato salad
Add lemon juice to the mixture. Gif: @jamieoliver on YouTube/ (modified by author)
Source: UGC

4. Add the cooled potatoes to the bowl and toss them in the dressing.

5. Add chopped herbs like dill and parsley to the bowl and mix everything.

6. Sprinkle the dish with edible flower petals (marigolds, nasturtiums, or violas) or fresh herb flowers.

7. Serve the potato salad with crispy bacon on top. The meal can be served hot, warm, or cold.

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Potato salad recipe the Jamie Oliver style
Serve with crispy bacon on top. Gif: @jamieoliver on YouTube/ (modified by author)
Source: UGC

What is the classic potato salad made of?

A classic potato salad is a popular side dish. It typically consists of ingredients like Yukon Gold potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, buttermilk, yellow mustard, dill pickles, celery, salt and pepper, and red onion. Optional additions include paprika, fresh herbs, and pickles.

What not to put in the potato salad

For the best-tasting dish, it is crucial to avoid the following when preparing potato salad;

  • Spices that overpower the delicate flavour of the potatoes
  • Starchy potatoes like Russets usually fall apart during cooking
  • Excessive garlic may dominate the dish
  • Hot peppers, but it can be served on the side
  • Extremely sour ingredients as they may overpower the flavour
  • Dressing warm potatoes with mayonnaise. The hot potatoes will cause the mayonnaise to melt and become oily.
  • Avoid adding too many sweet ingredients unless you are preparing a sweet potato salad.
  • Avoid too many ingredients.

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Homemade potato salad
Potato salad with mayonnaise and spring onion. Photo: Wiktory
Source: Getty Images

Is it better to make potato salad the night before?

Preparing the dish the night before enhances its flavour. The flavours of the ingredients combine, and the potatoes will absorb more of the dressing and other ingredients.

Since potato salad is typically served cold, refrigerating it overnight in an airtight container ensures it is well chilled. However, if the dish includes fresh herbs, consider adding them just before serving to retain their flavour and brightness.

Why put vinegar on potatoes for potato salad?

When cooking potatoes, adding vinegar to the boiling water can help them retain their shape and not become mushy or fall apart. The vinegar helps form a thin crust on the outer layer of potatoes, which is necessary to keep them firm and prevent them from breaking down too quickly.

Tossing the warm potatoes in vinegar before adding the dressing can help lock in moisture and prevent the potatoes from drying out. The vinegar also helps season the potatoes, ensuring they are flavorful.

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Many types of vinegar can be used in potato salad, including white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and mild malt vinegar. The type chosen impacts the overall flavour.

How to make potato salad at home
Homemade fresh potato salad with blue cheese. Photo: Haoliang
Source: Getty Images

Why is potato salad served cold?

The dish is served cold for various reasons;

  • It enhances the overall flavour of the dish. Letting the salad chill allows the flavours to meld and infuse into the potatoes.
  • It contains ingredients like mayonnaise or dairy-based dressings, which can spoil if left at room temperature for an extended period.
  • It enhances the texture of the potatoes as it helps the dressing to set and coat the potatoes evenly.

Why does potato salad get watery?

Your salad can turn watery because of the following common reasons:

  • Using starchy potatoes like Russets, which tend to fall apart during cooking. Instead, use waxy potatoes like Red Bliss, New, or Fingerling potatoes for potato salad.
  • Overcooked potatoes absorb excess moisture. Ensure to cook until tender but still firm.
  • If not properly drained, moisture from ingredients like tomatoes, celery, and cucumbers can make the salad watery.
  • Adding the dressing to warm or hot potatoes contributes to a watery salad since they release moisture as they cool.
  • Starting potatoes in boiling water. The key to evenly cooked potatoes is starting them in cold water. From there, bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to cook the potatoes at a simmer.

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Potato salad recipe with eggs
Traditional potato salad with bacon and eggs in a white bowl. Photo: Vaaseenaa
Source: Getty Images

Spice up family reunions or Sunday brunch with the simple potato salad recipe above. You can experiment with different ingredients to find your favourite combination.

READ ALSO: Tasty baked rice recipe: How to cook it in the oven published the most preferred recipe for tasty baked rice. Baking rice in the oven is one of the easiest preparation methods that results in uniformly cooked and fluffier rice.

Rice is a versatile and timeless dish in many cultures worldwide. It can be served as a main course meal, a side dish, a dessert, a snack, or an ingredient in soups.

Source: Briefly News

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