Not only are croquettes a simple meal that kids love, they're a culinary delicacy adored worldwide, with each country offering a slightly different take on this crispy finger food. We've explored a few different global variations of the croquette in an attempt to find which country makes the best!
You might think of croquettes as a hearty item on your school dinner plate, or as the comforting McCain oven baked version, but the croquette has a number of other guises from around the world.
The word croquette comes from the French "croquer" - to crunch - so we might assume they have origins in France, but lots of countries have since earned the right to call them their own. Here's our global tour of the croquette world!
The Dutch are particularly well known for their kroketje. Their traditional version is a meat ragout (either beef or veal), coated with breadcrumbs and then deep fried to perfection. Nowadays they're a fast food favourite and a staple of the Dutch diet that comes in all varietes. The broodje kroket - served in a bun with heaps of mustard - is a lunchtime favourite.
The coxinha is Brazil's take on this crunchy street snack. The chicken coxinha is spiced with garlic and lime, and comes in the shape of a drumstick. They're a meal in their own right too, with a crunchy layer of potatoes and breadcrumbs on the outside. The snack originally contained a whole chicken leg, hence the shape, but modern versions contain shredded meat instead. Cheese or maize varieties are also popular.
Thailand brings a tasty twist to the table. A remnant of Dutch colonial rule, the Thai kroket adds eastern spice to a western recipe, in a similar way to banh mi (a spicy, filled French baguette). They come filled with crab, rice, chicken or fish, and are spiced with chilli, lemon grass, garlic and lime, amongst other tasty varieties.
The Indian croquettes or cutlets, as they're often called, are an individual variety. They come in balls, small or large, or patty shaped and are spiced with all the usual suspects: cumin, coriander and turmeric, in numerous concoctions. Some of the best ones have the simplest combinations of flavours, like fresh fish with chilli. They're breaded, deep fried, and served with chilli sauce and a cooling raita.
In Spain, croquetas are a traditional tapas dish. The classic Spanish croquette is filled with savoury Spanish ham and a thick béchamel sauce instead of potatoes. They must be eaten almost straight from the fryer or they lose their oozing goodness. They're sometimes flavoured with a robust cheese like Manchego and are perfect comfort food.
So it seems everyone has their own favourite way to cover something in breadcrumbs and deep fry it! From Turkish borek to KoreanGoroke, there's a croquette for every palate. But my favourite has to be plain old potato croquettes served with a big dollop of tomato ketchup.
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