Sweet potato croquettes (Satsuma-imo korokke)

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Japan: The Vegetarian Cookbook written by Nancy Singleton Hachisu.

‘The unusual additional ingredients in these croquettes make them extra special and extra tasty. Substitute the eggs with finely grated mountain yam, for a vegan version.’

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
1 small ear corn
½ tbsp unroasted sesame oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
4 tbsp coarsely chopped cooked edamame or green peas
2 tbsp plain flour
2 eggs, at room temperature
60g organic panko
Neutral oil, such as rapeseed, for deep-frying
1 lemon, cut into small wedge

Method:

  1. Place the peeled sweet potatoes in a bamboo or metal steamer and cook over a pot of rapidly boiling water until completely soft in the centre, about 25 minutes. Mash while hot.
  2. Fill a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and dunk in the corn for 30 seconds. Allow the corn to cool to room temperature before cutting the kernels off the cob with a razor-sharp knife. In a large frying pan, warm the sesame oil over a medium heat. Add the diced onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until softened but not coloured, 3-5 minutes. Scrape the sauteed onion and carrot into the bowl with the mashed sweet potato and fold in the corn kernels, edamame, 1 tsp flaky sea salt, and ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Form eight small but fat rounded cylinders and roll them in the flour, making sure that all surfaces have been dusted. Shake off excess.
  3. In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs until homogenous. Make a mound of panko on one side of a clean baking sheet. Working one by one, dip each croquette into the egg, allowing excess to drip off, and roll in the panko to coat evenly. Line up on the opposite side of the baking sheet from the panko side. Add panko as needed.
  4. In a large high-sided saute pan, heat 3cm oil over medium heat until about 170oC. To check the oil temperature, sprinkle a few pinches of panko into the oil. The panko should sink to the bottom of the pan, then immediately float back to the surface, and there will be a few medium-sized bubbles.
  5. Slip the croquettes into the oil, taking care it does not overflow, and fry until golden on all sides, 3-5 minutes. Drain briefly on a rack set over a pan to catch the drips. Serve hot with a lemon wedge.