Thursday, June 12, 2014

Curry Beef Rice Korokke... Deep-Fried Japanese Croquettes

So satisfying, with a pleasing crunchy crust and a delicious rich filling.

The Japanese version of korokke or croquette is chopped-up meat, vegetables or seafood, formed into a patty or log, coated in airy panko crumbs and deep-fried until golden brown. There are lots of varieties- ham, shrimp, pumpkin, but the classic trios remain as potato, curry rice and kani cream korokke (succulent crab in bechamel cream sauce). The one that caught my eyes and taste buds is curry rice with beef using the staple rice to bind the ingredients instead of Western-style potato or cream. Flavoured with ever-popular curry, it adds a fragrant and extraordinary bang to the rice filling. You have to, have to give this a try! There are a few steps to making these but I promise it'll be all worth it at the end!

Curry Beef Rice Korokke
Makes 4 servings

2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
3 Tbsp. curry powder, divided
1/2 cup cooking wine or sake
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. mirin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cups cooked short-grain rice
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups panko
canola oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup tonkatsu sauce (similar to a thick version of Worcestershire sauce)

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes until onions turn translucent. Add and break up the beef and cook constantly for about two minutes until the beef is cooked; add 2 Tbsp. curry powder and cook until well combined. 

Scrape the bottom of skillet when stirring to prevent curry from burning. 

Add sake, soy sauce, mirin and salt. When the mixture comes to a boil, simmer for about two minutes, stirring frequently. Add the water, bring to a boil then simmer for two minutes more. Add the rice, remaining 1 Tbsp. curry powder, black pepper and cook, stirring constantly for about three minutes, until excess liquid has been absorbed, and rice is thickened. 

Transfer the curry mixture onto a baking tray and spread it to make a flat disk about 1/2-inch thick. Refrigerate to cool and firm for about one hour. Meanwhile, prepare four shallow bowls: flour in the first, beaten egg in the second, panko crumbs in the third and an empty plate to hold the breaded korokke.

Fill a sauce pot with at least one-inch of oil. I like to use a small to medium-size pot and cook in several batches to reduce the amount of oil used. Set up a paper towel-lined plate to drain the cooked korokke.

Remove the curry mixture and cut into 16 even pieces. Form 16 korokke logs, one at a time. Pick up each piece and form into 2-inch logs. Shape quickly, as excessive handling can cause them to get soft and break during frying.

Use disposable gloves to be mess-free!

Handle logs gently. Use one hand for the dry breading and the other to dip in egg so that your hands don't get caked. Right hand to bread with flour- shake off excess, left hand to dip and roll in egg, and right hand again to pile on the panko, press and roll. Place breaded korokke on empty plate.

Heat the oil to medium-high. The oil is ready when a wooden stick inserted in the centre emits shooting tiny bubbles on its side. Carefully slide the korokke into the sauce pot. Deep-fry in batches. Drain the korokke on the paper-lined plate.

If the oil is too hot, the korokke will burn; if too low, they will be soggy and greasy.

Cook the korokke for about three minutes until they are golden brown.

Serve immediately with tonkatsu sauce on the side.

Absolutely aromatic and delicious with hearty curry beef flavour! Nom Nom!

If you love curry, you may also like: Japanese Curry in a Hurry and Curry Beef Palmiers.

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