This recipe for potato croquettes (korokke) that remain crispy even when cool was taught to me by a butcher. They're delicious without sauce (Noteote: ready-to-eat potato croquettes are sold by butchers in Japan.)
Potatoes (waxy boiling potatoes such as May Queen)
500 g (not new potatoes)
Ground meat - beef and pork mix
Pepper, nutmeg, salt
1/2 teaspoon each
Sugar, mirin, sake
1 tablespoon each
Cabbage, cherry tomatoes etc. to serve on the side
For the batter:
Wash the potatoes well, remove any eyes, and wrap them in plastic wrap while they're still wet. Microwave for 6 minutes. Potatoes taste better cooked in their skins.
If a bamboo skewer goes through easily, the potatoes are done. If they are still hard, microwave for a bit longer.
Make a shallow cut in the skin and peel the skin off. You can peel the potatoes more easily if you hold them with paper towels as you peel.
Mash the potatoes. It's easy if you use an egg slicer.
Mash the potatoes up finer using a spatula. New potatoes don't have a lot of sweetness, so avoid using them if possible.
Chop up the onions fairly roughly.
Put some oil in a frying pan and stir fry the ground meat. Don't break it up too fine. Keep cooking until the fat that comes out of the meat runs clear.
Take the meat out of the frying pan and add the onion. Stir fry it slowly over low heat, to draw out its sweetness.
When the onion is golden brown, return the meat to the frying pan and mix it all together. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Spread the meat mixture out in a shallow tray to cool.
Add sugar, mirin, sake and soy sauce to the mashed potatoes. Mix well to distribute the flavors.
Combine the mashed potatoes and meat, and mix well.
Spread the potato-meat mixture out in a shallow tray and divide into 12 portions. Form each portion into a flattened oval.
Make the coating. Put 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of flour and 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl and mix well. Coat the croquettes with this mixture, then coat well with panko.
Heat up the frying oil to 200°C. If you fry the croquettes at a low temperature, steam will come out of the filling and the croquettes may burst. Gently put in the oil using a spatula.
Make sure to fry the croquettes for less than 2 minutes. Turn them over 1 minute after placing them in the frying oil. They'll brown nicely in 2 minutes if the oil temperature is 200°C.
Remove the crumbs in the oil diligently.
Drain the oil off well.
Arrange the croquettes on serving plates with shredded cabbage and cherry tomatoes and serve. These croquettes are well flavored so you don't need to serve with sauce.
Story Behind this Recipe
Butchers use lard in the frying oil, but vegetable oil alone is delicious enough!
● Make sure the cook the potatoes in their skins. ● If you add flour and water to the beaten egg coating, the croquettes will stay crisp even when they're cold. ● Deep fry the croquettes at a high temperature for a short time, i.e. at 200 °C for less than 2 minutes. ● Don't use new potatoes. ● Don't forget to add the nutmeg.