March 13, 2013

Home-Made Korokke/自家製コロッケ

My wife made korokke as part of supper last night, as requested by my son.

Photo of leftovers:

The korokke contained some ground pork, which brings me back to the same old question: What is the difference between korokke and menchi? My understanding is that a korokke is mostly mashed potato with some stir-fried onion and contains NO MEAT, while a menchi is mashed potato with some stir-fried onion and contains SOME MEAT. In short, a menchi is a deluxe version of korokke, with the addition of some meat. 50 years ago, when I was a kid, that was true, at least in my area in Tokyo. My wife keeps saying that a menchi is a deep-fried "hamburger patty" (or something similar to it). In present Japan, I think she is right.


Fräulein Trude said...

Croquettes around here are most of the time made of potato mash without meat (but we do know croquettes with different kinds of fillings too). Plain croquettes are sides, same as potatoes, french fries or noodles. I think most of the time people just buy frozen croquettes which can be easily deep-fried or baked in the oven. It is very rare to have some home-made croquettes, but home-made tastes much better. I always thought about making the japanese korokke using ground meat together with mashed potatoes one day - didn't, but should.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: Yes, home-made ones taste much better, and I don't know why. Both my children said they tasted much better than store-bought ones. This is true of tonkatsu, too. My son is no fan to store-bought tonkatsu. (I like store-bought tonkatsu, though.)

I didn't know that croquettes existed in Germany, too!

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki! What I saw as menchi katsu in Tokyo was exactly what your wife says! Pork balls coated in panko and deep-fried. I remember I was very surprised to see the number of kcal under every cooked product in one of the Tokyo department stores (it was Isetan, I think). Menchi katsu was horribly caloric compared to tonkatsu.
Did you know that if I had to choose a Japanese dish I could eat guiltlessly every other day it would probably be either korokke or tonkatsu? (I mean the korokke I make: with ground meat, mushrooms and carrots...). When I prepare korokke I could eat them non-stop... Your korokke look so delicious! I must make them this weekend.
Here Japanese fast-food shops sell korokke, but it's really not good. I was surprised first time I prepared korokke how huge a difference was between home-made (by a European!) and bought.

Sissi said...

Sorry, I have just seen that instead of a coma I have put an exclamation point after your name ;-) Ridiculous. I hope you are not angry.

Adam said...


I used to eat croquettes in Bulgaria (they called them kyufteta), and some were cheese and potato, and others were meatballs. I believe the Japanese korokke is borrowed from the French "croquette," which means something like "little crunchy thing." There are many countries that serve them (see for a list). It seems the only thing they all have in common is that they involve puréed balls of food with a binder (potato, flour, ...), and they are deep fried. So there are no rules :).

I don't know what the word "menchi" comes from.

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: I know all too well from your blog that you love fried foods, and I thought that your "Hiroyuki!" expressed your love for them (laugh).

Adam Helps: Thanks for mentioning the word "kyufteta". I googled it and found some are breaded and deep-fried while others are pan-fried(?). It's really surprising to see that the people around the world love fried foods.

There are no rules, of course, and the thing is that you have fond memories of the foods you had when you were a kid, right? If I were to make menchi, I would make the type I used to have when I was a kid.

As for the word menchi, it come from "minced".

Fräulein Trude said...

Somewhere I read Korokke where introduced by the Portuguese to Japan. Seems to be reasonable. Concerning worldwide croquettes - the netherlands have a(n) (in)famous recipe for croquettes called Bitterballen
stuffed with meat and cream sauce: some kind of gelatinous stiff cream stew breaded and deep-fried. This stew croquette is really different from all the others. But I don't like it at all (laugh).

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: According to Wikipedia, three countries are cited as possible sources: French, the Netherland, and Portugal.

Thanks for the link.
I also watched the YouTube video:
They look delicious!

Fräulein Trude said...

Interesting how much vegetables he put into the broth and how little meat was left. I tasted Bitterballen in Amsterdam twice - we just did not match, although mustard did help a lot (laugh).

Sissi said...

Kiki, I have the bitterballen recipe somewhere I have been meaning to try it... but a friend who used to live in Netherlands told me it's rarely good.
Hiroyuki, I think that all the deep-fried dishes in Japan have European origins, don't they?
Unfortunately, I love all the deep-fried Japanese dishes, as you have guessed :-)

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: I thought the way the man dusts each ball in flour, coats it with beaten egg, and coats it with panko was rather clumsy. Anyway, I guess I should try the Dutch version of fried food some day.

Sissi: Yes, except karaage, which derives from China, I suppose.

The important thing to remember is that in present Japan, tempura is considered washoku, while tonkatsu, menchi, and korokke are considered yoshoku. Karaage can be considered washoku, but it can be considered chuuka (Chinese) as well. Tatsuta age (竜田揚げ), quite similar to karaage, is considered washoku.