Kabocha Croquettes

Croquette? I had no clue what it was since I knew it only as “korroke”, the Japanese version, a panko encrusted potato-patty with minced onion and carrot and small amounts of meat, fried to a beautiful golden brown then topped with tonkatsu sauce. So when I went to Spain my first time in college, I knew I would have no problems sampling the true form of a croquette at a tapas bar. But I think a croquette will always have its Japanese roots. My ode to korroke.

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Ingredients

  • Kabocha
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Canola oil or peanut oil

Avocado Sauce

  • 1 Haas avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons mayo
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • tabasco sauce (optional)

Since this recipe has very few ingredients, I recommend choosing the best kabocha available. In selecting one, try to find one heavy for its size, a dark dull green skin, no soft patches, and don’t be alarmed by its barnacles. If you can purchase an organic variety, I encourage it because the rind is edible and will be incorporated into the croquettes.

Rinse the squash with a vegetable brush. Now for my least favorite part about squash, cutting them! The key thing about cutting squash is to saw into it with force. Cut into four equal segments and remove all the seeds. Can you roast them? No clue, roasting seeds just seems like too much work since it takes a lot of effort to eat them. In a steamer, cook the squash pieces until you can pierce a knife easily through the meat. This should take approximately, 10-15 minutes.

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With a spoon, scoop out the meat from each rind into a medium bowl.  Taking the rind with the smoothest surface, mince into tiny pieces with a knife or food processor and combine into bowl. Mix thoroughly while adding salt, and ONLY if the squash isn’t naturally sweet, add sugar. To form the croquette patties, you want to take a handful of the squash mixture, cupping your hands together while squeezing the mixture to pack it in. Continue with remaining squash mixture.

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Pour enough oil into a dutch oven so that it will cover the height of a croquette.  Heat oil over medium-high heat. Beat the egg with a fork inside a small bowl. Pour panko crumbs onto a flat plate with a rim or even a baking dish. Dip the patty into the egg mixture to wet its exterior then gently coat with panko.

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Test to see if the oil is ready by allowing a panko to fall into the oil. If tiny bubbles start to arise, the oil is ready. If not, turn your heat up a little higher and closely monitor the oil. You do not want to over-heat the oil. Once the oil is at the right heat, carefully place each one in the pot. Cook in batches.

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Cook on first side for 3 minutes, the second side for an additional 2 minutes. It should float up to the surface if you have enough oil. If there isn’t enough oil, check to see the color of one, it should be a beautiful golden crisp brown. Remove each patty from oil and place on cookie rack to cool.

I chose to accompany the croquettes with a simple avocado sauce. Mix all the ingredients of the sauce into a bowl and mash together with a fork until well-combined. Don’t mind the little lumps of avocado!

Happy eats.

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4 thoughts on “Kabocha Croquettes

  1. The first ‘croquette’ I ever ate was an Arby’s potato cake 🙂 But seriously, I love the Japanese version. I probably order it 30% of the time when I’m out. Your twist on this modern classic looks YUM!

  2. Have you had Mos Burger’s korroke burger in Japan?

  3. Manami says:

    So yum! Had to substitute buttercup squash so the texture wasn’t as dense as I’m used to, so I can’t wait to try it again with kabocha. I put my non-cooking husband and almost-three-year-old on the task of making the avocado dip – they liked “tasting” it so much that we had to make another serving before it made it out onto the table!!! Thanks : )

  4. I love that you got the entire family involved!

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