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Kabocha Croquettes

The other night I picked up one of my favorite vegan Japanese cookbooks, Kansha, and created the Crispy and Creamy Kabocha Croquettes. It’s a very easy and delicious recipe perfect for using fall’s squash bounty. Here’s how it went:

Kabocha

I started of course with the main ingredient, kabocha. What is kabocha you ask? It’s a Japanese pumpkin, almost identical to buttercup squash here in the states. Its skin is dark green and hard, yet edible; while the inside is orange-yellow with seeds and guts like a pumpkin.

Kabocha, or Japanese buttercup squash

I didn’t need to use up the whole squash for this recipe, so I simply took a sharp knife and cut it in half, then in half again. I used around 10 oz for this recipe, which is a bit less than about one of the quarters.
The peel and seeds were saved to make into snacks later.

Beans

The other key ingredient from the recipe is adzuki beans. Unfortunately I didn’t have any on hand, so I used canned red kidney beans as a substitution. I will be sure to make this recipe again with the proper ingredients soon!

red kidney beans I used instead of adzuki beans

I have a small deep fat fryer and I got that heated up while the kabocha was cooking on the stove. Once done cooking, I mashed the kabocha and beans together with a little bit of potato and salt to form the croquette base. I then rolled the mixture into small nuggets and coated them in cornstarch.

the kabocha nuggets rolled and dusted with cornstarch

At this stage, I dipped the croquettes into a bit of soy milk and then rolled them into a plate of panko (Japanese style breadcrumbs) to get the crispy outer coating. The cookbook dictated repeating this step again with each nugget to double dip them.

After they were all double dipped and ready to go, I placed two croquettes into the fryer at a time. I kept them in there for about 2 minutes, occasionally lifting them out to check their color. Some people like them just lightly golden, while others like them a bit more browned. Once done, I lifted them out and placed them on a wire rack to drain the excess oil.

And that’s it! This recipe was easy, and very delicious. I’ll definitely be making this again soon.
I served these kabocha croquettes with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and yuzu juice. Another good dipping sauce could be sriracha mayo.

plated kabocha croquettes

Have you ever tried kabocha before? Let me know how you’ve cooked it in the comment section below.

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