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OK, so strictly speaking I can't call this recipe kabocha korroke as I didn't actually have any of those beautiful deep green Kabocha squashes (or Japanese pumpkins) on hand. Instead, I massacred poor Count Pumpkula instead- our Halloween pumpkin vampire which no longer had a purpose in life beyond October 31st.
The late Count Pumpkula, serving us well in life and in death. Or is that undeath?
The Kabocha squash you're meant to be using for this recipe
Kabocha squashes have an exceptional intense sweetness like a cross between sweet potato and butternut squash, so a few adjustments were necessary to get the far more watery, inferiorly flavoured regular pumpkin to taste the same. If you have a proper Kabocha on hand, the sieving step won't be necessary as it won't be that wet, and you can omit the sugar and flour in the mash.
Kabocha Korroke (Japanese Pumpkin Croquettes)
Makes about 10 small pieces
Cut half a small Kabocha pumpkin into small chunks- leave the skin on so you get pretty green bits in your croquettes. Boil for about 20 mins in salted water (or some people use chicken broth) until tender and cooked. Drain thoroughly, then mash and set aside to cool.
once mashed by pressing through a fine sieve.
Finely chop half a small onion and fry for a few minutes in a bit of oil or butter over medium heat until translucent. Stir it into the mashed pumpkin along with:
2 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp salt
A generous dash of white pepper
1 tbsp flour (if using normal pumpkin)
1 tbsp sugar (if using normal pumpkin)
Place 1 cup flour, 1 extra large whisked egg and 1 ½ cups panko
(Japanese breadcrumbs) in 3 separate bowls.
Panko- lighter, flakier and crisper than normal breadcrumbs,
commonly found in Asian shops
Shape the pumpkin mash into croquette patties with two large spoons.
Dip each pattie in flour...
...then in egg...
...then in panko breadcrumbs.
Deep fry a few croquettes at a time until brown and crisp, turning several times with a pair of long wooden chopsticks. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Let cool for a few minutes so you don't burn your tongue. Drizzle with a bit of fruity tonkatsu sauce if desired, then crunch away!