Korokke can be found in street stalls, handed to you in a paper wrapper, crisp and piping hot. It’s a treat in the cold weather, when customers huddle on the footpath outside the stall while they savour their creamy (or carb-y) warmth.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 95 g (3¼ oz) unsalted butter
  • 245 g (8¾ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 300 ml (10¼ fl oz) milk, plus 1 tbsp
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 50 ml (1¾ fl oz) white wine or sake
  • 100 g (3½ oz) cooked crabmeat
  • 40 ml (1¼ fl oz) thin (pouring) cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra to serve
  • 60 g (2 oz/1 cup) panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • neutral oil for deep-frying

Tomato sauce

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) white wine or sake
  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) chicken stock or water
  • salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time: 1 hour

  1. First, make the tomato sauce. Using a sharp knife, score a cross in the base of the tomato and remove the core. Fill a large bowl with iced water. Blanch the tomato in boiling water for 10 seconds, then transfer to the iced water using a slotted spoon. Peel the tomato by pulling the skin away from the cross. Chop the remaining flesh.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry the carrot, onion, celery and garlic until soft. Add the tomato paste and fry until the paste darkens and caramelises. Pour in the wine and reduce the liquid by half, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Finally, add the chopped tomato and the chicken stock.
  3. Allow the sauce to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool slightly before blending until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste.
  4. To make the korokke, melt the butter in a saucepan over low–medium heat. Add 95 g (3¼ oz) flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, until the colour just begins to change.
  5. Add the milk in four batches, stirring to incorporate well after each addition. Season with salt, transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
  6. In a separate saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion until soft. Add the wine and cook until the mixture is reduced to a syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  7. When cool, add the wine reduction, crabmeat, cream, 1 egg and the chopped parsley to the flour mixture and stir to combine well. Line a baking tray with baking paper and shape the mixture into 20 ovals, placing each one on the prepared tray. Cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate to set the shape, about 1 hour.
  8. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk the remaining eggs together until homogenous. Spread the remaining flour onto a large plate and the panko onto a separate plate. Take one oval and dredge it in the flour. Brush off any excess and dip the oval in the beaten egg, followed by the panko, making sure the oval is well coated in breadcrumbs. Return to the baking tray and repeat with the remaining ovals.
  9. Fill a large, heavy-based saucepan one-third of the way with oil. Heat over medium heat to 180°C (350°F) – a pinch of flour dropped into the oil should sizzle on contact – and deep-fry the korokke for 3–5 minutes, until golden. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with the tomato sauce.


Recipe from Tokyo Local by Caryn Liew and Brendan Liew, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99