Japanese Potato Croquettes, or “Korokke” as they are called in Japanese, are a delicious fried food made from panko crumbed mashed potato with carrot, onion and mince. They are a tasty street food but are also one of those Japanese home style dishes that can easily be made at home too.
My mother often cooked this for us because Japanese Potato Croquettes are a favourite dish of most Japanese children. Japanese Potato Croquettes are served for either for lunch or dinner because this little croquette is like an all-in-one-meal! They’re especially great for lunch on-the-go!
There was a butcher in my little home town and the “Korokke” they made was so yummy. The outside of the korokke was a perfect golden-brown colour, that gave a wonderful “Crunch!” sound as you bit into it… Inside was the ideal creamy mashed texture, with the perfect ratio of potato to beef mince! Plus, they were only 50 yen (which is like 50 cents) so it was perfect thing for me to spend my pocket money on as a child. Sometimes my mom would bring them home for dinner as well when she didn’t have time to cook. It was great.
I wanted to recreate the butcher’s yummy potato croquettes with some delicious Aussie beef (which Japanese people love). To get the crispy and crunchy outer coating you need to use Japanese panko crumbs, which you can get at most grocery stores nowadays.
I did a little bit of research since I first published my original potato croquettes recipe in 2016. I wanted to recreate the “hoku hoku” potato texture. Sometimes food textures are described in Japanese using onomatopoeias (where the sound of the word is similar to the sound of the thing you are describing). It is very difficult to translate these words exactly. Sadly, only those who have bitten into a Japanese potato croquette and felt the comforting softness and warmth of the starchy steamy potato texture will know just what I am talking about…
So, let’s make some “hoku hoku” deliciousness so you can know the hidden meaning too! In order to achieve the perfect “hoku hoku” texture, using the right type of potato is the key. The two main types that you find in Japan are “Meekuin” (メークイン) and “Danshaku” (男爵). Usually potatoes are classified into three types, Starchy, Waxy, and All-purpose. The Starchy type makes great for a great “hoku hoku” texture in Japanese Potato Croquettes because they are high in starch and low in moisture.
I was searching for something similar to Danshaku potatoes in Australia, and found a Sebago variety in my local supermarket. It is more of an all-rounder potato variety in Australia, but the croquettes that resulted from it were definitely “hoku hoku”. In America the classic Idaho, or Russet would a great choice for croquettes. Try to make your Japanese Potato Croquettes with a starchy type of potato in your country to experience the “hoku hoku” Japanese potato croquettes.
There is also one other important cooking tip to create the “hoku hoku” texture. After the potato is cooked (but before you mash it), strain the water from the potatoes, put them back in the pot and shake them around to rough up the outsides a little. This will result in the potatoes looking like they are covered in snowy-like potato powder! This technique helps decrease the amount of moisture in the potato through evaporatation, and makes the potato fluffier overall. This technique is called “Kofuki Imo”, and potatoes made this way are often served as side dish.
So, the secret to “hoku hoku” Japanese Potato Croquettes is: 1: Choose a starchy variety of potato, and 2: Before you mash the cooked potato, shake it around to fluff up the outside and fry off the excess moisture from the potato.
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- 500 g Starchy potatoes
- 120 g Beef mince
- 70 g Onion or half small onion
- 70 g Carrot half of small carrot
- 1/2 tbs olive oil
- Oil for deep frying
- 1 egg
- 4 tbs plain flour
- 50 ml water
- 1 tbs kewpie mayonnaise
- 2 cups of Japanese panko bread crumb
- Peel and dice the potatoes.
- Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Check if the potatoes are cooked by inserting a skewer. If it goes through, the potato is cooked.
- Strain the water from the potatoes, put them back in the pot and shake them around to rough up the outsides a little.
- Chop the onion and carrot finely.
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan over high heat and add the onion and carrot to cook.
- Add the mince and cook and season with salt and pepper.
- Once the mince is cooked, remove from the heat and add the cooked mince, onion and carrot to the mashed potato and mix well.
- Divide the mix into 8 equal sized ovals.
- Combine the egg, water, mayonnaise, and flour in a small bowl to make a batter.
- Coat each of the ovals with the batter, then place the potato oval into the panko crumbs.
- Coat all potato ovals with the panko crumbs.
- Heat deep frying oil in a deep pan until it reaches around 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). If you don’t have a thermometer you can check if the oil is the correct temperature by dropping a bread crumb into the oil. If the bread crumb drops about halfway down into the oil, then floats back up – you are at the perfect temperature.
- Fry each of the potato ovals until crispy and golden brown.
- Serve croquettes with salad leaves or any side dish of your choice.