Warning: korokke is addictive!
If you’ve never had this Japanese dish, you’re in for a treat! Korokke, or croquette in English, is a satisfying mixture of potatoes, meat and spices, coated with panko breadcrumbs, fried up into patties or balls and often eaten with piquant tonkatsu sauce. (Is your mouth watering yet?)
Butchers in Japan prepare korokke in their shops, where they have the ingredients needed to make these fried patties on hand. Children would buy one or two korokke patties on their way home from school or sports, and Japanese mothers would be famous for making their own family recipes as snacks and dinner favorites.
Korokke, at its most essential, is a fried patty made of simple, easy-to-find and inexpensive ingredients. Like American hamburgers, they’re ubiquitously available and can be found at many street festival or corner convenience store… even Seven Eleven! Korokke are generally made using cooked ground beef, smashed boiled potatoes, sautéed minced onions, salt and pepper, all mixed together. The mixture is formed into a palm-sized patty, coated with flour, eggs and panko breadcrumbs and then deep fried. Adventurous cooks add curry or cheese or make them vegetarian by replacing the beef with carrots and other vegetables! McDonald’s in Japan even introduced their own seasonal version of korokke and made a burger out of it, called the “Gracoro Burger”, although their recipe deviates quite a bit from traditional korokke.
Korokke patties are even better in sandwiches, called korokke pan. These sandwiches, made with a korokke patty stuffed into either a sesame seed bun or dinner roll along with finely shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce, can be found at bakeries and sandwich shops across Japan. Korokke pan are perfect for packing into a bag or taking on a trip, and are great when you’re on the go. Convenience stores sell them packaged and sometimes warmed, so even if you don’t make them at home or aren’t near a specialty shop, you can find them easily when traveling around Japan.
If you’re ready to try korokke, check out this recipe using rice on our website, or try out a patty or sandwich from your local Japanese grocery store.
Stay tuned for our continuing series about Japanese street food!