japanese croquette (with recipe)

croquette440.jpg

during the taisho period in japan, a popular song in the japanese opera was コロッケの唄(“song of korokke“), which goes like this: “korokke is an everyday dish, we eat korokke today and tomorrow. are we gonna eat korokke all year around?”. “korokke” is the japanese word for croquette, the popular french food that had just been introduced to japan. japan still has popular songs about new popular foods. the croquette boom is over, but japanese people still eat a lot of croquettes. you can find them in the grocery stores and convenience stores, and they’re often served as pub food in izakaya. everybody loves croquette.

as a kid, i was one of them. i used to take swimming lessons every saturday. afterwards, i would be starving, so my friends and i would go to a meat shop to buy croquettes. the butcher would fry up some croquettes for us. i think they were 50 yen each. so it didn’t hurt my small okozukai very much, but sometimes i had to debate in my head if i should spend my money on a croquette or save it to buy a cute pencil. the meat shop and the stationery shop were on the same block. well, you can’t fight with an empty stomach :)

i always liked croquettes, but i never made them myself until yesterday. i’d never had croquette in canada, and i don’t think i’d had one for at least six years. so i made it myself.

i then realized that i’m not such a big fan of croquettes anymore. the croquettes i made turned out pretty good and tasty, but after i ate one i realized croquette is just fried mashed potato with ground beef in it. i’m not a big fan of mashed potato, nor fried food, nor ground beef, either. hmm… at least i like onion.

anyway, the croquette wasn’t as tasty as i remembered. i guess you can never beat the food in your memory.

either that, or the butcher in my hometown just makes way better croquettes than me :D

i still enjoyed making the croquettes and serving them. i wrote paul’s name in japanese on them in ketchup. he was happy.

recipe

this is for 10 croquettes:

  • 2 potatoes (medium)
  • 100g ground beef
  • half an onion, chopped
  • nutmeg
  • bay leaf
  • flour, beaten egg, panko (japanese bread crumbs)
  • vegetable oil
  • s + p

sauce:

  • ketchup + worchestershire sauce + red wine + grated garlic  (i just used ketchup)

how-to:

  1. boil the potatoes with skins on.
  2. saute the onion. when it turns transparent, add the beef, nutmeg and bay leaf.
  3. when the potatoes are done, strain the hot water and mash them in a bowl. set aside.
  4. when the beef mixture is ready, damp it onto paper towel to soak up the extra grease.
  5. add the beef mixture to the mashed potato, mix lightly (do not overmix).
  6. move the mixture onto a plate and cool in the fridge.
  7. heat the vegetable oil in a pan. arrange the dipping station for flour, egg, and panko. i used tupperwares.
  8. divide the cooled mixture and shape into balls and flatten them. make sure there are no cracks or it’ll explode in the oil. it’s better to wet your hand with some oil so the mixture won’t stick to your hands.
  9. when the oil is heated to 170c (if you drop in some of the flour and water mixture and it drops to the bottom and comes back up, the oil is about 170c), dip the ball into flour, egg and panko. i use my right hand for dry ingredients and left for wet so that the panko doesn’t get stuck together with egg. that way, you can get a clean result.
  10. turn them when they’re golden brown. cook both sides.
  11. when fried, put them onto paper towl to soak up the extra oil.
  12. serve them with cabbage and tomato. cabbage is supposed to help you digest greasy food. i like rice on the side.

enjoy! (or not so much…)