Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kabocha & Okara Korokke (Kabocha Pumpkin & Soy Pulp Croquette)

Korokke (croquette) is a popular rustic food in Japan. You go to a local deli or meat market, and you can buy a piping hot korokke for 50 yen (about 60 cents) or so. The traditional rustic korokke normally consists of simple mashed potato and some ground meat.

Today, I made my own version with kabocha pumpkin and super-healthy okara (soy pulp...packed with fiber and protein). Oh, I also included a little piece of mozzarella cheese in the filling!

Kabocha & Okara Korokke

1/2 medium-size kabocha, seeds removed
3/4 to 1 cup okara (soy pulp)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
salt and pepper
1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into 12-14 cubes
1 large egg, whisked
1.5 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon each white and black sesame seeds, ground
1 liter vegetable oil

1. Shave off (in a thin layer) most of the skin of the kabocha. Cut the kabocha into smaller cubes.
2. In a pot, put the kabocha and water to barely cover the kabocha. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer. With the lid on, simmer until kabocha is cooked. Drain.
3. While the kabocha is still very hot, coarsely mash it in a bowl. (For a richer version, you can also add 1-2 tablespoon of butter when mashing the kabocha.) Add the okara, cinnamon powder, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and set aside to cool down.
4. Get the ingredients for the batter ready. Set separate bowls for the flour, egg, and panko. Mix in the ground sesame seeds into the panko.
5. Divide the kabocha mixture into 12-14 parts and shape each into a ball by wrapping a mozzarella cube.
6. Roll the balls in a bowl with the flour one by one. Dust off excess flour.
7. Once all the balls are dusted with the flour, dip each in the egg, then in the panko mixture. Dust off excess panko. Let them rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
8. Deep-fry in the 350 F degrees oil until the color turns to golden (about 4-5 minutes).

Right out of the oil...the cheese is nicely gooey.

I also enjoyed it with Okinawa sauce.