Japanese · Lunch · Main · Side dishes · vegetarian

Sweet Potato and Mushroom Croquettes

Croquette (or コロッケ, “ko-ro-ke”) is a delicious Japanese dish made with soft mashed white potato and coated in a light’n’crispy layer of crumbs. The high temperature oils used to fry them seal the moisture and flavours of the ingredients inside without leaving that heavy oily batter mouthfeel. These versatile balls of yum make the perfect more-ish snack on its own, or a winning piece as part of a main meal!

Here, I’m pairing up golden sweet potatoes and umami-rich mushies for a revamp of this Japanese all-time favourite! Once you master the basics, you can get creative and make your own flavour combinations at home too! You can try mixing in cooked lean mince, tinned fish or even curried veggies for dozens of fun lunchbox ideas.

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Tasty Tradition

You will never go wrong with traditional croquette flavours. These include are plain (just white spuds and maybe some sweet corn), with veggies (carrots and peas) or minced meat. In Japan, you’ll notice that butchers sell these on their side counter to complement their minces and meat products. It doesn’t stop there – nowadays, there’s even curry and cream-stew flavours (staaahhpp!) and they’re sold ready-made in supermarkets too.

Safety Check for Croquette-Making 

A reminder (and warning) to all home-cooks and assistants: let’s keep the cooking experience fun and SAFE – when deep frying the croquettes, please be careful not touch the hot oil (it is extremely painful and dangerous). I’ve emphasised “carefully” in the instructions as much as I can without getting excessive.

Enjoy!



Serves: 20-24 croquettes

Costs: $12.85 ($0.65 per croquette, if made 20 pieces)

Cooking time: 50 mins


Ingredients:

  • 4 small orange sweet potatoes, peeled (around 800g in total)
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
  • 500g assorted mushrooms (I used shiitake, shimeji and enoki but other kinds like swiss brown will work well too!)
  • 1 cup self-raising flour (wholemeal or white, both work)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup panko or coarse breadcrumbs
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Black pepper, to seasn
  • Tonkatsu sauce or Worchestershire sauce, to serve (optional)

Let’s get cooking:

  1. Steam sweet potatoes until soft, or use a microwave. Carefully transfer cooked sweet potatoes to a large mixing bowl and mash until almost smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, finely dice mushrooms or blitz in a blender or food processor until the mushrooms resemble small crumbs. Leave some larger pieces for texture in the croquettes.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan on high. Add onions and stir until softened. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until mushrooms have softened and they release their juices. Cook, stirring, for another 3-4 minutes or until the juices have evaporated. Remove from heat to cool for few minutes.
  4. Add mushroom mixture to sweet potato mash and mix well. Season with black pepper to taste.
  5. Line a tray or large plate with baking paper. Wet hands and roll a few tablespoons of sweet potato mixture into a ball and flatten slightly. Place on prepared tray/plate and repeat with the remaining mixture.
  6. Prepare 3 shallow dishes. Place flour in one dish, lightly beat the eggs in the second dish and place panko in the third dish. Lightly coat a rolled croquette in the flour, dusting off any excess flour. Transfer to egg dish and coat, allowing any excess egg to drip off. Then transfer to panko and coat, patting off any excess. Place on tray and repeat with remaining croquettes.
  7. Heat canola oil in deep frying pan to 180°C (see Notes). Once oil is hot enough, carefully drop in 2-3 croquettes or as many that will comfortably fit in your pan – do not overcrowd the pan as it will lower the oil temperature.
  8. Cook croquettes for 2-3 minutes, then turn over with tongs or chopsticks and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Carefully transfer onto the prepared wire rack. Repeat with the remaining croquettes.
  9. Prepare a wire rack and line a layer or two of paper towels underneath (to catch the excess oil from the cooked croquettes).
  10. Serve warm or cool, with favourite sauce(s).

Notes:

  • If your croquettes are falling apart, wrap them after step 5 and chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before proceeding.
  • How to test if the oil is hot enough: an easy way to test the oil temperature is by standing a wooden chopstick or wooden spoon in the oil; if bubbles appear, around the wood, it’s the right temperature. Alternatively, add a drop or two of the egg and panko mixture to the oil – if it starts bubbling immediately, it’s perfect (if nothing happens for a while, it’s not hot enough). The high temperatures of the oil gives you that light and crispy finish, so overcrowding your pan with croquettes will reduce the oil temperature and result in heavy, oily croquettes. Your patience will be rewarded!

Nutritional Information:

One serve provides 3.5 serves of veggies. 

Per serve (3 croquettes)
Energy (kJ) 2386
Protein (g) 13.0
Total fat (g) 35.0
 – Saturated fat (g) 3.0
Carbohydrate (g) 47.4
 – Sugars (g) 9.7
Fibre (g) 8.6
Sodium (mg) 307
Calcium (mg) 82
Iron (mg) 2.5

 

Recipe inspiration from Cookpad. The main inspiration was from mum and her star croquettes which she has made for me in my childhood. Now she’s co-experimenting with me in the kitchen over our usual kitchen catch ups. 

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