Japanese potato croquettes, or korokke (コロッケ) in Japanese, is beloved comfort food that you can find in most convenience stores in Japan. It is also a popular home dish that one can prepare easily from scratch.
Korokke is so common in Japan that you can buy freshly made korokke in almost any Japanese convenient store (konbini) or supermarket across Japan. Korokke also happens to be inexpensive, usually around ¥100 (US$1) each, and it’s definitely a cheap and filling food to enjoy when you are out walking around the town and suddenly feel super hungry.
If you have been craving for some good korokke and it doesn’t seem like you will be traveling to Japan soon to satisfy that craving, you can now learn how to make your favorite food at home with this recipe.
What is Korokke or Japanese croquettes?
Korokke is a combination of the crusty and crispy golden brown outer skin encasing a fluffy and savory mashed potato mixed with sautéd onion and ground beef.
The perfect korokke with have that perfect contrast between the crunchy skin and the fluffy and meaty potato filling.
Ingredients for korokke
We will need potatoes, ground beef, onion, egg, butter, olive oil, all-purpose flour, panko (Japanese bread crumb), salt, and pepper.
The best potato for korokke is starchy potatoes. In the United States, this usually means Russets or Yukon gold. In short, choose potatoes you use for making your favorite mashed potatoes and that should be the variety you use for korokke as well.
I choose to use ground beef in this recipe. If you wish, you can use ground pork too, or even a mix of 50% ground beef with 50% ground pork. All three versions are equally delicious, so feel free to switch around to create a variety of croquettes.
Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
For bread crumbs, you will definitely get the best result if you choose panko or Japanese bread crumb. Ten years ago, you may need to visit your local Asian market for a packet of panko. Nowadays, you can easily buy panko from almost any big grocery chains.
Preparing korokke mixture and shaping korokke into patties
Here is the step-by-step guide to preparing the mashed potato mixture.
1. Boil potatoes
Peel potatoes and cut into small wedges. Place in a pot and pour enough cold water to cover the potatoes by one inch. Bring to a boil, and continue cooking until a skewer can easily go through the potatoes, about 15-20 minutes.
2. Sauté onion and ground beef
While the potatoes are boiling, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and sauté onion until softened. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
3. Fry panko
In another frying pan, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and panko. Fry (toast) until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
4. Mix mashed potato and beef
Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Use a fork or a potato masher and mash the potato together with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper, and butter. Add the sautéd onion and beef mixture to the mashed potato and mix well.
5. Shape into patties
Divide the potato and beef mixture into 16 portions. Shape each into a 1/2 inch thick patty. Arrange patties on a baking tray and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
6. Coat with flour, egg, and panko
Dust each patty lightly with all-purpose flour, then dip in lighlty beaten eggs to coat, and finally, coat the patty with panko. Arrange the coated patty on a baking tray. Repeat the process with the remaining patties.
Baking and serving korokke
The most common way to cook korokke is by deep-frying. But we will be baking them instead. It’s just so much easier with baking instead of deep-frying.
The most obvious benefit is that you can prepare a huge batch of korokke with less time, especially if you can fit multiple baking trays in your oven. The second reason is, of course, you can avoid deep-frying. I am not particularly averse to deep-frying but I am definitely happier if I can avoid it. 🙂
To bake the croquettes, simply preheat the oven to 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit), and bake for 10-15 minutes.
It may be difficult to judge for doneness from visual cues since the panko is already golden brown to start with. But you can give the croquettes a gentle nudge. If the croquettes easily slide and don’t stick at all to the baking tray, they are done.
Korokke is best served piping hot. You can enjoy korokke for snacking. Or if you want a full meal, serve korokke with a side of salad, some tonkatsu sauce, steamed white rice, and a bowl of miso soup.
Storing and reheating
If you make a big batch and have plenty of leftover croquettes, you can store the leftover in an air-tight container and freeze for up to one month.
To reheat, arrange the frozen korokke on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper and bake in an oven at 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) for 15 minutes, or until the inside is hot.
Other korokke varieties
Potato and ground beef is definitely the most popular korokke. But there are other variations too, such as tuna korokke, vegetables korokke, and kabocha korokke just to name a few.
Even for this super basic korokke recipe, you can add 1/4 cup each of diced carrot and button mushrooms. These should be sautéed together with onion and beef. This is a great version for people who love a more balanced korokke between meat and vegetables.
So get a feel of the proportion between potatoes and the filling, and you should be able to start experimenting and create your own winning korokke recipes.
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