Korokke (Potato Croquette) (コロッケ)

Korokke is a kind of deep fried dish.

Summary
To cook korokke, cream sauce (sauce béchamel) or boiled and mashed potatoes are shaped into flat and oval patties, coated with flour, egg and panko (bread crumbs) and deep fried in hot lard or cooking oil. It is often the case that cooked ground meat, crab meat, seafood or chopped vegetables including chopped onions are combined and mixed in precooked white cream or mashed potatoes.

Korokke is currently an ordinary home-made dish in Japan. Korokke is a Western style cuisine to be eaten with Worchestershire sauce etc. for seasoning, and it is also available for takeout at butchers, and it is a really inexpensive, popular dish. Korokke right out of the hot oil is particularly delicious, and before the 1960's children often ate freshly-fried korokke at shops for a snack.

The method of cooking korokke is very similar to pork cutlets and other cutlets and deep fried dishes, but the korokke body is precooked and it is not necessary to deep fry it twice.

Danshaku potatoes (a type of potato) are perfectly suitable in taste for korokke because this type of potato contains a lot of starch. If meat should be used, it can be named meat korokke, and if potatoes should be used, it can be named potato korokke, but both are almost the same. Also, there are vegetable korokke combined with green peas or carrots, as well as sweeter pumpkin korokke that uses pumpkin as a substitute for potatoes.
When white sauce is used, it is called cream korokke, and these include 'crab cream korokke,' 'shrimp cream korokke' and 'corn cream korokke.'
Sometimes the mashed potatoes are flavored, such as with curry korokke and nikujaga (a simmered dish of potatoes and beef which is flavored with soy sauce and mirin (cooking sweet sake)) korokke.

Korokke are often served on a plate garnished with shredded cabbage, in the same way as pork cutlets.

Korokke are sometimes added to other dishes or served alone. For example, korokke in sandwiches are called korokke pan (bread), soba and udon noodles with korokke on top are called korokke soba noodles and korokke udon noodles, and curry and rice with korokke on top is called korokke curry.

Korokke made from rice and found in Italian restaurants in Japan originated with a dish called arancini which is very popular in Sicily.

History

It is thought that 'korokke' originated from croquettes which are used as a side dish in French cuisine. Croquette in France are similar to cream korokke filled with ground fish or chicken. There is also a recipe for cooking croquette in a way that mashed potatoes are coated with bread crumbs and deep fried.

There is a dish called croquette in the Netherlands also, one of which is a white sauce-based type and another which is a potato-based type, and it has been speculated that potato korokke might have originated in that potato-based type; however, it was the year 1909 when croquette was introduced from France to the Netherlands, and it is not likely that potato korokke was brought from the Netherlands to Japan, judging from the period that korokke first appeared and was gaining popularity in Japan.

The best seller of those days, 'Shoku doraku' (gourmandize) which was authored by the novelist, Gensai MURAI, carries a korokke recipe on page 153 of the Autumn issue of the magazine.

Korokke Song written by the lyricist Taro Kaja MASUDA, was a big hit and korokke gained popularity in the Taisho Period as one of the three top European dishes along with curry and rice, and pork cutlets.

Yayoi Foods Co., Ltd.'s korokke campaign song, 'Korokke Song' (Lyric is composed by Tooru RESORA, song is written by Takashi AOKI, sung by Yayoi-chan) was released as a single on CD. As of February, sales of the CD single reached 4,000.

Frozen food

Pre-fried frozen korokke are available, so serving korokke with meals has become quick and easy. Korokke are top sellers in the frozen foods section.
(As of the year 2007)

When deep frying frozen korokke, the korokke may burst due to differing temperatures of the outside coating and the potatoes inside, or they may break up if accidentally touched with chopsticks while they are thawing. To prevent such problems from occurring, it is important to put an appropriate number of frozen korokke into the hot oil because too many korokke may reduce the temperature of the oil. If deep frying a frozen korokke that has been thawed using a microwave oven, only the outside coating needs to be browned.

In recent years, people are cautious about the health effects of excessive consumption of cooking oil, and there is a way available to spray cooking oil over frozen korokke using a cooking spray and cook the sprayed frozen korokke in a toaster or electric oven. In addition, there is a new type of frozen korokke which can be made crisp just by heating it up in a microwave.