All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Okara to kinoko-iri kabocha no korokke / pumpkin croquettes with soybean pulp and mushrooms

Savory and sweet pumpkin croquettes. Sauteed enoki and eringi mushrooms are added for a slightly earthy, deep taste and aroma, which nicely disguises the low sodium content of the dish. The deep-fried version with crispy panko bread crumbs is quite satisfying even when eating only one or two pieces. The baked version tastes light and significantly cuts down the amount of oil and calories. The baked version involves a bit of a process to prepare panko, but it can be done ahead of time.

Deep-fried version (1/2 of recipe):
391 calories; 6.5 g protein; 26.4 g fat; 32.9 g carbohydrate;  25.0 g net carbs; 90 mg sodium (with shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 27 mg cholesterol; 7.9 g fiber

Baked version (1/2 of recipe):
202 calories; 6.5 g protein; 6.0 g fat; 32.9 g carbohydrate; 25.0 g net carbs; 90 mg sodium (with shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 27 mg cholesterol; 7.9 g fiber


(Makes 6 medium croquettes)

1/6 medium -1/8 large kabocha pumpkin (243 g in photo)
1/4 small or 1/6 medium onion (48 g in photo)
Small handful (approx. 50 g) enoki mushrooms (46g in photo)
1 medium eringi mushroom (40 g in photo)
40 g okara soybean pulp
1 tsp shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt
Black pepper, to taste (not in photo)
1/2 tsp butter
1/2 tsp olive oil or canola oil

[for deep-fried version]
4-5 tbsp flour
1 egg
7-8 tbsp panko bread crumbs
Oil (for deep-frying; not in photo)

[for baked version; not in photo]
4-5 tbsp flour
1 egg
30 g (approx. 7 tbsp) panko bread crumbs
2 1/2 tsp olive oil or canola oil


Remove root ends of enoki and eringi, and finely chop.
Finely chop onion.


In a frying pan, heat oil and butter, and saute onion on medium low heat until somewhat translucent.

Add enoki and eringi, and continue sauteing.
When mushrooms are cooked, add okara, and continue cooking until moisture (from mushrooms and okara) becomes less apparent.

Add shoyukoji, and mix well. 
Add black pepper, and mix well. 
Okara & mushroom mixture is ready.


In the meantime, skin, seed and slice kabocha into 7-8 mm. microwave for 2 minutes or so until soft. 

Transfer kabocha to a prep bowl, and mush while hot.


Add okara & mushroom mixture, and mix well.

Divide mixture into six, and make 6 balls. 

[Deep-fried version]
Heat oil.


While heating oil, flatten each kabocha mixture ball to oval shape, coat with flour, and dust off any excess.
Dip in egg.
Then coat with panko.
Gently press panko, shaking off any excess.


When oil is ready (fine bubbles vigorously come up from the tips of bamboo chopsticks immersed in oil), gently put in croquettes.

When bottom starts to lightly brown, flip.
When almost ready, raise heat somewhat.
When done, lift each piece, keeping one end immersed to draw back oil into the pot, and then remove from oil completely while gently shaking to get rid of excess.
Transfer to plate lined with paper towels. 


Serve hot.

[Baked version]
(While or before preparing kabocha mixture, prepare panko for baking.)
Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C.


Mix panko and oil very well. 

Bake for 10 minutes or so until golden brown. 
(The color in photo is still a bit too light. It should be slightly darker for better crunch at the end.)

Alternatively, cook the mixture on stove.

When done, cool.

Raise oven temperature to 450 F/230-235 C.


Flatten each kabocha ball into oval shape, and coat with flour, egg and cooked panko & oil mixture.

Bake until crispy, for 30 minutes or so. 


Serve hot.

  • If okara is not available, you can use finely chopped boiled soybeans or garbanzo beans, or you can simply skip it. Any ground meat works fine, too.
  • If only one kind of mushroom is to be used, go with enoki. It has a much deeper note and aroma when cooked. 
  • If shoyukoji is not available, use soy sauce. It would increase the overall sodium figure by around 30-100 mg per serving, depending of type and brand of soy sauce.

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