Japanese korokke is a delicious croquette made with potato, ground meat and onions coated in a layer of panko breadcrumbs and deep fried until golden. This dish is a firm favourite and perfect drizzled with Worcestershire sauce!
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What is Korokke (Japanese croquette)?
Korokke (コロッケ) is the Japanese word for "croquette", a popular type of "dumpling" often made with potatoes, meat or seafood. It's considered as a "yoshoku dish" which is a type of Japanese dish with heavy Western influence.
The standard form of korokke contains mashed potatoes and ground beef or pork. It's usually served with shredded cabbage and a drizzle of Japanese Worcestershire sauce.
History of Korokke
The Japanese loanword "korokke" (コロッケ) is said to have originated from the French word "croquette" or the Dutch word "kroket".
Korokke started appearing in restaurants and cookbooks during the Meiji period (1868-1912). While its true origin is unclear, the most promising theory is that a chef who started a yoshoku restaurant in Nagasaki combined his knowledge of Dutch cuisine and tempura cooking methods to come up with the recipe.
Considering Netherlands is one of a few countries that has a long trade history with Japan, it makes sense that our korokke would have Dutch influence. However, a lot of Japanese yoshoku dishes are inspired by French cuisine, so it's perfectly reasonable to believe that korokke has French influence too.
Whatever the origin, it is clear that korokke have existed here since the early days of the influx of Western food into Japan.
Korokke as ultimate comfort food
It has been more than a century since korokke first starting appearing in Japan. Since then, it has surely become a popular comfort food for many Japanese people.
You can buy korokke pretty much anywhere, from supermarkets and convenience stores to butchers. They can also be bought pre-cooked and ready to eat or frozen to cook at home. I must say, korokke from butchers are always the best!
I often remember asking my mum to buy me korokke from the butchers when I was a kid. However with the increase of supermarket chains and convenience stores, sadly many butchers closed down and the few that remain rarely serve korokke anymore.
So, in this recipe, I specifically recreate the butcher's style korokke that I have always remembered and loved.
Types of Korokke
The most standard korokke is made with potatoes and mince. However there are other popular korokke in Japan such as:
- Crab cream croquette (カニクリームコロッケ)
- Pumpkin croquette (かぼちゃコロッケ)
- Menchi katsu (Korokke only made from mince)
- Curry croquette (カレーコロッケ)
I have a few recipes for those above too, so if you're interested, please check them out!
Tips and tricks to make well loved "butcher's style" korokke at home
Here, I will list a few tips and tricks to making crispy, delicious, fail free "butcher's style" Japanese korokke!
Start with cold water
One of the key ingredients in korokke is mashed potato, so good mashed potatoes are a must! First we must boil the poatoes... but a common mistake is placing potatoes straight into boiling water.
Doing this cooks the outside too quickly while leaving the middle raw and hard. To fix this mistake, you'll end up cooking them longer to soften the middle while the outside becomes flakey and overcooked... disaster!
All of this can be prevented by simply placing your potatoes in cold water first and bringing them to the boil. This simple tip ensures even cooking and perfect boiled potatoes!
Mash the potatoes while they're still hot
It is a lot easier to mash potatoes while they are still hot, they will also have better texture. This is to do with the starch in the potatoes.
Definitely mash your potatoes as soon as they are boiled. (If they get cold make sure to reheat them before mashing.)
Do not leave the ingredients wet
We need to prevent excess moisture in the filling. If it's too wet, not only will it be hard to shape, but also when it comes to frying, the moisture will cause the filling to expand and explode.
Firstly, you can prevent watery potatoes by draining the water and then placing them back in the hot pan to let the steam evaporate for a few minutes. (Make sure the pan is off the heat though!) This will remove excess water from the potatoes reducing the chance of watery mash.
It's also important to fry the onions and ground meat thoroughly to release the moisture. Ground meat tends to release a lot of fat and we don't want to add too much of that to our korokke mixture. Spreading out the cooked ingredients and letting them cool down before mixing your korokke filling will allow any excess moisture to evaporate.
Allow the ingredients to cool completely before frying
The purpose of cooling the ingredients is not only to evaporate the water, but also to prevent the ingredients from rising in temperature and expanding before the batter is fried.
After shaping, I recommend to chill in the refrigerator before frying. If you're in a hurry, a short time in the freezer is also good.
Apply panko breadcrumbs evenly and thoroughly
If the batter and panko are unevenly applied, it is easy for thinly covered areas to explode. Rather than battering with flour and egg separately, I recommend using pre-made batter mixture which I will explain in the recipe.
It is less likely to fail with deep frying
It really depends on your preference, but when frying korokke, the more oil you use, the less likely it is to fail.
More specifically, there's more chance of the filling exploding with shallow frying because the parts sticking out of the oil will warm up rather than cook. These warm parts can become unstable and leak out once they've been turned over.
So, for frying korokke with less risk, I highly recommend deep frying!
Fry quickly with 170-180 degrees C
The key is to fry them quickly at a temperature of 170 to 180 degrees Celsius (that's about 340-360 degrees Fahrenheit) to achieve a perfect golden and crispy coating. Frying at lower temperature takes a long time resulting in soggy texture on the outside and greasy on the inside.
Since the inside is already cooked, there is no need to cook the ingredients when frying it in oil. All they need is to be heated through and crisped up on the outside!
Do not fry too many of them at the same time
It is important to maintain the temperature of the oil and adding too many items can lower the heat too much, which will then result in greasy korokke.
Depending on the size of your pan, fry two or three korokke at a time. Try not to let them collide with each other, otherwise the batter could get scratched and panko breadcrumbs could fall off or the filling could burst.
Do not to interfere with the korokke while frying
It is important not to touch korokke while being fried in the oil. It doesn't need to be mixed or moved, simply flipping it once half way through is enough.
When the korokke first enters the oil, it becomes quite delicate so it's especially important not to touch it with chopsticks or tongs in the first few minutes otherwise it could explode.
Enjoy this classic "butcher style" Japanese korokke as a meal, side, snack or in a bento box!Print
Korokke (Japanese meat and potato croquette)
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 2-3 portions
How to make delicious and crispy Butcher's style Japanese Korokke (croquette) with potato and ground meat. (Makes 3-4)
- 300g potatoes washed and peeled
- ½ tbsp salt
- 15g unsalted butter
- ½ small onion finely diced
- 80g mince beef
- pinch of salt and pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp mirin
- 1 tbsp whole milk at room temperature
- Worcestershire sauce for serving
- 50ml cold water
- 1 egg
- 5 tbsp + 3 tbsp plain flour
- Approx 75g panko breadcrumbs
- Oil for deep frying
- Cut the potatoes roughly into chunks (make sure they're about the same size) and add them to a pot of cold water. Add ½ tbsp of salt and bring the water up to the boil, lower the heat to medium and cook until soft. (Pierce with a fork to test the doneness)
- While the potatoes are boiling, take a frying pan and heat it on medium. Add 15g butter.
- Once the butter is melted, add the onion and cook until softened and slightly translucent. (Don't let them brown.)
- Add the ground beef and fry until it's cooked through.
- Next, add a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Mix well and then add 1 ½ tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar and 2 tsp mirin.
- Continue to fry until the liquid is absorbed.
- Turn off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- Transfer your cooked potatoes to a large heatproof bowl and mash them with 1 tbsp warm milk.
- Once the potato is smooth, add the mince and mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed. (Be careful not to overmix.)
- Transfer the mixture to a container and leave to cool.
- Once it's cool to the touch, place a lid or plastic wrap over the top and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Coating and frying
- Preheat your oil to 170-180°C / 340-355°F.
- Take a bowl and add 50ml cold water, 1 egg and 5 tbsp plain flour. Whisk together until smooth. This is your batter.
- Prepare two plates, one with 3 tbsp of flour and one with 75g panko breadcrumbs.
- Remove the filling from the fridge and divide into 4 pieces.
- Roll each piece into a flat oval shape.
- Coat the shaped korokke in plain flour, then the egg batter, then a generous coating of panko breadcrumbs.
- Place the 2 korokke straight into the heated oil. (You can keep the other shaped korokke in the fridge/freezer while you wait for them to cook.)
- Fry until crispy and golden.
- Remove them from the oil, place them on a wire rack and then repeat step 7-8 to cook the rest.
- Serve with a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce and enjoy!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Resting time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
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My husband who is from Japan recalled childhood with his granny in the home, and her warm korokke awaiting him as an afterschool snack. He was thrilled when we received a food processor as a marriage gift 45 years ago, and it had a cookbook that featured French croquettes. I think he would be equally excited if I were to use the authentic Japanese recipe.
Yes, korokke is a nostalgic food for many Japanese people. I hope you try the recipe and enjoy it with your husband! Thank you for your comment!