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corokke


torakris
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As I posted in the potato pancake thread, I made some really strange korokke tonight. I used leftover mashed potatoes (these had butter and milk in them) and stuffing from my Thanksgiving dinner earlier this week. I ate them with cranberry sauce instead of any other kind of sauce. They tasted good but were SO heavy.

I posted a photo of them in the takikomi-gohan thread and the potato pancake thread in the Cooking forum.

Jennie

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Jeniac, in my experience, the usual cause of heavy korokke has been adding too much other stuff to the potato - especially stuff like butter or cream, heavy in oils/fats. That's right, I came up with the "not more than half the weight of potatoes in other ingredients" rule by producing a few heavy (or even worse, disintegrating) korokke along the way.

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I love corokke. I used have them in lunch sets at a japanese restaurant in Thailand. I think it was the crab version. I've always been a bit scared to do them at home since it requires deep frying. I guess if you just make a huge batch for the week it wouldn't be so bad. Do they keep well then?

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  • 3 weeks later...

These croquettes brings memories of the little Brazilian morsels called bolinhos de bacalhau or cod fish and potatoes deep fried balls a classic in this cuisine.

Since there is a huge Japanese settlement in Brazil and many gaijin residents in Japan makes me wonder if these did not come from Brazil anyway

as an example check this out http://www.maria-brazil.org/bolinhos_de_bacalhau.htm

and images here http://images.google.com.au/images?q=bolin...ial&sa=N&tab=wi

Edited by piazzola (log)
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This was basically potatoes and kabocha, with some salt, but I used a tiny bit of half-and-half to smooth them out a bit. (I would use a bit of cream normally, but alas, I had only half-and-half).

I love the idea of a chutney with these corokke!

I wish I could get a good chutney...

What is in the corokke? just potatoes and kabocha?

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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These croquettes brings memories of the little Brazilian morsels called bolinhos de bacalhau or cod fish and potatoes deep fried balls a classic in this cuisine.

Since there is a huge Japanese settlement in Brazil and many gaijin residents in Japan makes me wonder if these did not come from Brazil anyway

as an example check this out http://www.maria-brazil.org/bolinhos_de_bacalhau.htm

and images here http://images.google.com.au/images?q=bolin...ial&sa=N&tab=wi

There is definitely a similarity. I've also had the Bolinhos with catupiry cheese/shredded chicken inside as well.

Brazil's third (or fourth, depending on if you meter it by imports or exports) largest trading partner, by the way, is Japan. Brazilians of Japanese descent also makes up one of the largest resident ethnic minority groups in Brazil. In addition Brazil also has the distinction of being the country with the largest amount of foreign Japanese nationals living there. The US I beleive is second.

http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/respub/v8n2/ellis.html

http://www.ucsc.edu/currents/01-02/03-04/reading.html

http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/latin/brazil/

Here are some photos of Bolinho (sometimes called Pasteles) I've eaten in the last year.

gallery_2_0_21063.jpg

These I had at a local Brazilian food fair in Newark, NJ.

gallery_2_1139_16162.jpg

These are from CiA Do Sanduiche, a Brazilian hamburger/croquette shop in Cliffside Park, NJ. These are Beef and Catupiry Cheese and Ham and Cheese.

Coincidentally, I've seen quite a few Japanese people at this restaurant. Cliffside Park has a sizeable Brazilian population, and its right next door to Fort Lee, which also has a sizeable Japanese population. Mitsuwa Marketplace, which is probably the largest Japanese grocery store in the entire area, is only like 5 minutes away.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Korokke were introduced into Japan in the early 1900s or possibly slightly earlier, and not from Brazil but from Europe. There is a Wikipedia entry on korokke here which references a 1917 Japanese hit song called "The korokke song".

The Japanese name itself gives a clue to their origin: it is taken from the French word croquette. Of present-day food in Europe, though, I think the Dutch kroket is most similar in taste and texture to the Japanese korokke.

Piazzola, do you know more about the origin of Bolinhos? I.e. I've read that they have Portuguese origins but it was in Brazil that they took off in a big way. Were the Portuguese bolinhos perhaps influenced by the French croquettes (or the other way around)? It is surely not unlikely that both Brazilian and Japanese bolinhos/croquettes/korokke have common origins...

Incidentally, although a few were present, there were not many Portuguese among the foreign residents in Japan in the early 1900s, the largest number of foreign residents at that time were Chinese (over half of all foreign residents), followed by the English. If I remember correctly, the third largest group was French although the total number of French residents was still quite small (though I could easily be remembering it wrongly that the French were the third-largest group, it's been a while since I read this stuff). Anyway, the likelihood is high that croquettes were either introduced directly by the French, or indirectly via the English.

If interested in Japanese emigration to and from Brazil: the 1917 reference to korokke predates large scale Japanese emigration to Brazil - that occurred on its largest scale in the late 1920s and the 1930s (article here if you are interested). Brazilian-Japanese return emigration to Japan began around the 1980s. At that point korokke had long been established in Japan.

In fact, I am not aware of any Brazilian or Brazilian-Japanese influence on mainstream Japanese food. If anyone is aware of such a thing, I would of course be happy to learn of it.

Edited to add even more boring scholarly details.

Edited by anzu (log)
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Well I did not pretend to make a profound study of the corokke or bolinhos but definely look very similar indeed that is what caught my attention and the fact that there are a lot of Japanese-Brazilians highten the fact that corokke may have come from Brazil.

On the other hand potato is a South American plant and bolinhos are indeed originally Portuguese.

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Tempura is considered to have Portuguese origins in Japan, though the Portuguese equivalent is much heavier in my limited experience (namely, at Portuguese restaurants in Germany, not necessarily a reliable reference point).

But the Portuguese influence was far earlier.

It's probably pretty challenging to pinpoint the introduction of the potato into Japanese food, though the sweet potato has a long enough history that Japanese tend to think it's a native plant.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Early Portuguese influences on Japanese food, yes. Tempura in particular. But Portuguese influence in the form of korokke/bolinhos or something similar influencing Japanese food at that early stage, very very unlikely.

Japanese national seclusion policies were enforced between 1635 - 1639. After that date, the Dutch were allowed for trading purposes to remain on Deshima (island) in Nagasaki, and the Chinese were allowed to remain in a special compound (the Tojin yashiki) within Nagasaki. Organized contact did nonetheless take place between the Japanese and both groups. Prostitution, which was strictly controlled, remained one route by which new foods and preparation techniques reached the wider Japanese population - chanpon in Nagasaki was one such dish. Prostitutes sometimes spent several days or weeks at a time within the foreign compounds, and allegedly learnt to cook foreign dishes as a way of passing time, then brought these back out into the wider population.

After 1639, other foreigners were not allowed in Japan, so both the English and Portuguese who had been present up till then were forced to leave.

Moving on to fried potato balls: it was apparently only at the end of the 1600s that potatoes began to gain any kind of acceptance in Portugal and its colonies. They were first used as animal feed and fed to slaves, and it was not until the end of the 1700s that potatoes began to be widely used in Portuguese cooking.

Given that these dates about the acceptance of the potato into Portuguese cuisine post-date the Portuguese presence in Japan, I don't see how there could be any earlier direct Portuguese influence with this particular food.

By the way, I just looked up 'jagaimo' (potato) and 'satsumaimo' (sweet potato) in Kojien (for those without Japanese background, this is a Japanese encylopedia). Then supplemented this with a little more research again.

I found the information in the encylopedia entries to be somewhat different from what I had expected:

Potatoes (jagaimo): introduced into Japan during the Keicho reign (1596-1611) from Jakarta. The Japanese name 'jaga' is a contraction of Jakarta plus the word for potatoes (and similar tubers).

Sweet potatoes (satsumaimo): introduced into Japan in the first half of the 1600s. They had been grown in Southern China (Fujian province) where they had been brought by traders and/or pirates. From there, they were introduced to the Ryukyu Islands (i.e. Okinawa) and from there to Kyushu.

Incidentally, a few years back I read quite a lot of books on daily life in pre-Meiji Japan for my reasearch. I don't remember which books exactly contained the food references, but in the Tokugawa era sweet potatoes were indeed widely eaten in rural areas.

The vast majority of the population was extremely poor, and the most common method of food preparation among the largest segment of Japan's population was to put everything that could be eaten into one pot and boil it together. This included sweet potatoes. I don't recall potatoes being mentioned.

Things which are considered 'typically Japanese' today such as rice (farmers grew rice, but had to give up the rice crop to feudal lords, and themselves ate millet, barley, and other 'lesser' grains), pickles, fish, etc. were impossible dreams for all but the most privileged. Frying food in oil was an unobtainable luxury for almost all. Therefore I'm not sure who was actually making tempura throughout the Tokugawa era, or how wide-spread it actually was...

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Dear anzu :biggrin:

Potatoes and sweet potatoes come from one are and one area only South America more specifically Alto Peru or the ancient Inca empire where from they have spread over the world. The Spanish may have given few to the Portuguese because they are neigbours and languages are similar this may have happened well before the pact of Tordesillas were the Portuguese and later Brazilian empire pushed westwards towards Andean Peru.

And this is well documented in every history book about South American history and cultivation. Check out your sources anzu.Ppotatoes come from South America and nowhere else in the world were found prior to the Inca empire. http://www.npcspud.com/

some info in ingirisu for ya

Edited by piazzola (log)
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piazzola,

the question I'm addressing is not "where do potatoes and sweet potatoes originate" but "when and via what people and what places did they arrive in Japan". As you can see from my post above, foods which were spread by the Spanish did not necessarily arrive in Japan via direct import from Europeans, some of them became widespread in cultivation through South-east Asia, and arrived in Japan by those means.

Looking at the history of cultivation of South American plants in Europe is not always relevant to the history of those plants in Asia and Southeast Asia.

Various foods were spread in sometimes quite unexpected ways from South America - and not always via Europeans. One uncle of mine was a professor of Pacific studies (I believe he is now retired) and was doing fascinating research on the way in which South American poultry were introduced throughout the Pacific region in pre-Columbian times. I don't remember the details, but he found foods and foodstuffs were following paths which are often not recognized in the more mainstream history books (which can tend to ignore non-European influences).

Similarly, Polynesians were apparently cultivating sweet potatoes and making long ocean journeys in pre-Columbian times. Given this knowledge, and knowing that the effects of Polynesian migration were extremely far-reaching (the genetic material of Taiwanese aboriginals shows a relationship with Polynesia, for example, and some words of Japanese have clear Polynesian origins), I had actually expected sweet potatoes to have reached Japan far earlier than they did.

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I understand anzu but such teories are a bit far fetched even though I am supporter of Thor Hayerdall theories I know that even in Middle Siberia you would find today tribal peoples who look like and dance to drums and play music just like North American indians but there is no proof that such connections existed prior to Europeans moving to and from The Americas except for some Eskimos that have common ancestry and parentage at both sides of The Barhring Straits. The Spanish sialed to Ambon and Phillipines. We all know by a fact that most spices and other plants like potatoes have sailed with either the Portuguese or Spanish round The Cape and up to India and Indonesia where they have established the Spice trade routes parallel to the old Silk Road travelling from China through the steppes of Siberia and Ukraine to Western Europe.

Edited by piazzola (log)
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Dear piazzola,

These theories are not based on mere observations about apparent modern-day similarities, nor on Thor Heyerdal's theories.

The theories about the pre-Colombian movement of peoples and foodstufs are based on linguistic analysis of shared vocabulary, by mitochondrial (DNA) testing showing common genetic heritage, and by carbon dating analysis of food and animal remains (egg shells are one example. Poultry originating from Peru or Chili - I forget which - laid eggs which were distinctly different from other poultry, and the shells from these poultry were discovered to be present through the Pacific BEFORE the Columbian era). To me, and to most historians, this would indicate the transport of South American foodstuffs before Spaniards and Portuguese arrived, and is not far-fetched at all.

Expanding on what I said earlier, many conventional (Western/European) histories have tended to approach their subject from a bias in which all trade, all progress, all introduction of ideas or products or foods, etc. are treated solely from the European perspective. Non-Europeans have been historically presented as 'not really doing anything' but instead just sitting around in unchanging societies until the advent of the Europeans. This concept is very far from the truth. Delving into the actual history of things such as trade is far more complex than this (and much more exciting and fun as well).

So it is not surprising that you might feel that the Spaniards played a key role in introducing certain foods, because that is the way a lot of history is presented. Of course, the Spaniards DID play a key role in this area, but there were many many other things happening as well that did not involve Europeans. These still tend to be less well documented.

As far as the dating of the introduction of sweet potatoes and potatoes into China and Japan is concerned: this is not *that* long ago. The English, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese all kept detailed records at that time. A large number of those records still exist either in the originals or in re-prints. I personally have read re-prints of accounts from those times written by all those mentioned except by the Spanish.

So if a Japanese encyclopedia is telling me that potatoes and sweet potatoes came to Japan by particular routes which did not involve the direct involvement of Spaniards or Portuguese at the Japanese and Chinese ends, I would tend to believe that they would be writing this based on plenty of documentary evidence.

And to return to the original point, there is no evidence that I have yet come across to suggest that the introduction of korokke to Japan has a Brazilian connection or even a Portuguese connection of any type whatsoever. By contrast, a look at the history of potato cultivation in Europe, and a look at the points where and when croquettes became popular (a look at a Wikipedia entry on croquettes here) instead prompts a series of new questions, such as: when did the Portuguese bolinho become popular? Were they perhaps French influenced? If they were as recent as the early 20th century, it was definitely an era in which new foods, trends, music, fashion etc., were being spread extremely rapidly from one country to another. Were perhaps both Portuguese and Japanese bolinhos/korokke French influenced?

At the moment, the only reference materials I have concern Japan, so I can't answer those questions. The answers, however, would be interesting to learn.

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I love the idea of a chutney with these corokke!

I wish I could get a good chutney...

Here's a link to a tomato chutney recipe by Madhur Jaffrey that is easy to make, keeps for months, tastes good, and has ingredients easily available in Japan. :smile:

I've made this one often, and would heartily recommend it.

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Yup, Anzu's right - I'm interested in Polynesian history too, and the more modern research that I've read (not that I can quote since I wasn't anticipating a need for it on eGullet!) supports the fact that sweet potatoes came to Japan via the Pacific...doesn't mean that they followed an east-to-west route though, since the Polynesian settlement of the Pacific was done in a very planned manner, it seems.

There is a NZ guy working at the Museum of Ethnology in Osaka (at the old Expo site) who has studied this area, but he's just one of many. Patrick Kirch's "The Wet and the Dry" is a book I'd love to read about Polynesian agriculture, though it's 10 years old now.

There's a nice overview of the issues here: The Mystery of the Sweet Potato

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  • 1 month later...

Chicken Cream Corokke (made about 2 dozen, at least of those that stayed around long enough to count).

FB asked about the long-cooked method, so here it is. Nothing spectacular actually.

First, the bechamel - you can make this somewhat thinner, if you are prepared to take great care chilling and coating the croquettes, and frying them. I made a thick bechamel because I thought this would be the easiest for anybody trying it out (and for me, of course). This is not the recipe to cut your corokke-making teeth on, though!

Cook 500g-600g of skin-on chicken breasts gently in 600ml milk, with ½ onion, 3 cloves, 2 bayleaves, 8 peppercorns. I used the "okayu" (congee setting on my ricecooker, feel free to use other methods. When cooked:

Reserve chicken fat and milk (strained) adding milk to make up about 800ml.

Allow chicken to cool, skin and discard skin, chop chicken coarsely.

Bechamel:

75g butter (Use up to 100g if not using the chicken fat, maybe 5og if subbing cream for about 1/3 of the milk) melted, and 100g flour stirred in over gentle heat, allow to bubble, add the hot reserved milk and chicken fat gradually, stirring in. Bring all to a simmer, and simmer for around 45 minutes (total cooking time nearly 1 hour). By this time, the sauce should make an even, opaque film, and the bechamel trickled off a spoon should sit in cords on top of the sauce (this flour ratio will make a sauce too thick to form ribbons when completed). A spoon pulled through the bechamel will leave a distinct track closing immediately. Season fairly punchily - I used at least 1/2 tsp of salt, but then I also used salted butter and I think cooking the chicken in milk means you need less salt at the end. Beware of black pepper, nutmeg etc, as the coroqque should be creamy in color as well as texture.

gallery_7941_2285_3480.jpg

Stir cooked chicken into bechamel. As you see I started with roughly equal weights of liquid and raw chicken, which also makes the corokke easier to handle, but you could use half this amount of chicken. No need to stick to chicken, either...

gallery_7941_2285_7080.jpg

Cool the chicken sauce mixture THOROUGHLY - overnight is best. In warm weather, CHILL, and work with the mixture as chilled as possible...but this type of cream and chicken would not keep well in warm weather anyway.

Set up your coating line: Plain or AP flour, then (for the entire batch) 2 eggs beaten with around 50ml milk, dried breadcrumbs. No mystery about Japanese panko, they're just dried, either in a good breeze or in a low oven. I like the fine ones, crush the larger type if you like.

Now, take a heaped spoonful and form into shapes. I usually make them into batons, and experiments show me that no shape is particularly more prone to cracking or weeping when fried, with the exception that a relatively thin book or coin shape is the very easiest to fry.

Flour fairly heavily, dip into the egg (if it "rolls off" then maybe beat a tad more milk into the egg) and into the breadcrumbs. If you feel paranoid about the corokke splitting when fried, repeat the flour and egg steps. Roll in the crumbs, then gently press a handful round the croquette so they are well covered. I think they fry better if they sit for about 5 minutes before going into the oil, so you could even put them back in the fridge at this point.

gallery_7941_2285_6400.jpg

I don't think cream corokke should be fried at a really high temperature - not more than 180. They will quickly turn a nice gold color, you can assume they will be heated through by then, so take them out with a slotted spoon and drain well (you will dent them or burst them if you use chopsticks, though I do it all the same). The scattered breadcrumbs should be skimmed out of the oil with a fine metal sieve-ladle very frequently, as this type of corokke is all about appearance. This is a sadly blurred picture sorry, and you can see that there are specks of stuff which I didn't skim out of the oil, as I was anxious to get the first batch on my sons' plates before they had to go out. These also contain a little sweetcorn.

gallery_7941_2285_2493.jpg

Advantages to the long cooking? The bechamel develops a beautiful, beautiful texture - velvety instead of gluey, and the flavor is rich and fragrant - normally corokke are not too appetizing cold, but these disappeared way too fast.

Edited by helenjp (log)
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  • 8 months later...

I've been coerced into hosting a korokke & dorayaki party by a bunch of Japanese girls at my university. I know, that's a weird combo but one person demanded korokke and the other demanded dorayaki.

I've made korokke about 5 or 6 times before. They always turn out pretty good, but I think it's more luck than skill, I'm still in the learning stages of cooking.

Does anyone have any tips?

What are some good ways to make them lighter? I guess less filling than potato like helenjp mentioned. Any other hints? I like them dark brown and crunchy. Should I just try to cook for a shorter time at a higher temperature so they don't absorb too much oil?

I usually end up with a lot of burnt panko in my pan because I don't have the right tools/ can't be bothered/ don't know a good technique to get all of that stuff out before I start the next batch. I'm doing these in a frying pan and flipping once.... so I guess people using a deep fryer wouldn't encounter this problem. Is it really important to get rid of the scum? It never really bothered me much having some with burnt pieces, but I'd prefer not to serve them to other people.

I think I'm just going to do:

Potato, beef, onion & carrot.

Kabocha (using helenjp's method of baking the pumpkin before mashing)

Curry

.... and whatever else gets demanded on the day

any other recommendations?

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I've only had the plain ones I make myself--mainly because my late grandmother used to live in her incredibly squalid corokke factory in Mie-ken. She was so religious that she could care less about trivial secular things like hygiene, plus she grew up with maids and never learned to clean up after herself. She started the factory and a chicken farm to feed the family after my grandfather lost everything, including the use of his left side, in WWII. It was amazingly dirty, and I always wondered how it could be permitted by the authorities to sell to the public.

Scary thing is, it still does--several hundred boxes a day.

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burnt panko in my pan

Google wire mesh skimmer - a fine mesh one is perfect for keeping oil clean as you fry.

Yes, high heat + short time - the ingredients are cooked, so all you need to do is to fry the coating.

Drained tuna + potato (with scallions, parsley, or whatever takes your fancy) is good.

I quite like chopped hard-boiled egg corokke, but it's been too long since I made them to recall the details.

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I'm doing these in a frying pan and flipping once.... so I guess people using a deep fryer wouldn't encounter this problem.

I have a fryer and I put oil so it's about 6 cm (2 inches) deep. I still need to flip, not once but several times.

Recommendations? Why not make some menchi too? And some cream korokke if you have the skills.

Coerced? Really?? :raz:

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I just got a skimmer from a Chinese supermarket. Cheap (which is good for poor students) and worked well. Thanks.

I made cream korokke just once before, but was too lazy this time. We just had kabocha, curry and meat & potato.

I think I'm pretty much over making them now, it's so messy and time consuming. I just need to hurry up and get to Japan so I can buy my korokke like normal people.

Coerced? Really?? tongue.gif

Everytime they see me, those girls ask "When are you making me korokke?" or just "korokke?" I thought it would just be easier to make them so they'd stop asking. :blush:

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