Korokke is the Japanese word for croquettes, little fried potato cakes. They are popular in Japanese bento or lunch boxes because they can be eaten hot or at room temperature; and they can be made with a variety of ingredients. Where potatoes are plentiful and inexpensive, korokke is an economical dish that stretches the more limited protein sources.
I recall watching a movie called, ďThe Picture BrideĒ with Tamlyn Tomita, Akira Takayama and even a cameo with Toshiro Mifune. The young Japanese girl who agreed to marry a man knowing him only from a photograph is shocked to learn he is 25 years older than he claimed. She saves every hard-earned coin for a passage back home and scrimps on meals, serving her spouse korroke nearly every night. He gets drunk one night and stumbles home singing a song about his misfortune of marrying a young woman who only cooks korokke, korokke, korokke.
Whenever I cooked mashed potatoes for my white husband, I always made extra for the next nightís korokke. He and the kids cheer when I announce Iím making korokke for dinner. They donít care what type: beef, chicken, ham or vegetable. They love korokke with tonkatsu sauce, tomato ketchup and Japanese mayonnaise but especially curry sauce.
Korokke is a good way to use up little leftover bits of meat and vegetables as well as leftover mashed potatoes. Panko bread crumbs are the perfect coating but if you absolutely do not have the Japanese bread crumbs, you can use regular bread crumbs.
Here is the recipe for Ground Beef Korokke. Feel free to replace the beef with other cooked meat. But if Iím making chicken korokke, I will add some chicken boullion for added flavor.
Ground Beef Korokke
1/4 lb. ground beef
4 eggs, divided use
4 cups mashed potatoes
4 Tbsp. white onion, grated
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 green scallion, sliced thin
1 Ĺ tsp. salt
Ĺ tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. ajinomoto
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 cups panko Japanese bread crumbs
1 cup flour
oil for frying
In a skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain the fat and place the meat in a mixing bowl. Add 2 eggs, mashed potatoes, grated onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well. Fold in defrosted green peas and green scallion. Cover and refrigerate this mixture for about 20 minutes or more to allow it to firm up for easier forming.
Place the flour in a shallow dish. In a second dish, pour in the panko. In a third dish, beat the remaining two eggs.
With wet hands, form a small oval patty with the potato-meat mixture. Coat the patty with flour, then dip into the egg and finally into the panko bread crumbs. Set aside this korokke while you continue with the remaining potato-meat mixture.
In a skillet, heat the oil. Carefully place several patties into the hot oil, but do not crowd them. Do not move or turn the patties until they have developed a nice crust on the bottom. Then, gently turn to fry on the other side. Drain on paper towels.
Serve hot or room temperature with your choice of tonkatsu sauce, tomato ketchup, Japanese mayonnaise or curry sauce with rice.