While we cannot claim that the croquette hails from our ‘truly’ South African heritage, nothing says South African food quite like taking a recipe and “South Africanising” it! The delicious croquette originates from France, and it’s thought to have been a way of up-cycling meat and scraps when food was scarce in the 19th century. However, many cultures have adapted the croquette, making it quite challenging to decide who authentically “owns” the tasty snack.
Who could blame us South Africans for taking the simple croquette and adapting it to fit in with our vibrant and colourful lifestyle? When tracking back through history, French food was the ‘in thing’ in the Netherlands during the 18th century, and it’s thought that this is how croquettes came to be a part of South African cuisine. The Dutch love their croquettes so much that McDonald’s created a burger called the McKroket, which has a kroket-patty! Now that’s some serious dedication to traditional food.
Origins aside, socialising with friends in the hot sun calls for wholesome, tasty South African snacks everywhere in the world – enter the spotlight: the South Africanised croquette!
What is a croquette?
First things first, what is a croquette? It’s pronounced ‘Kro-Ket.’ The French tend to roll the ‘R’ and make it sound much dreamier than we ever could. That said, no matter how you pronounce it, it’s sure to be a favourite at any mealtime. Now that you know how to say it let’s move onto what it is.
By definition, it’s a small cake or round ball of potato, fish, or meat, which is coated in egg and breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Who could say ‘no’ to that? The beauty of the croquette means it can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, just like a favourite pair of jeans. It is served as a side dish with boerewors straight from the braai or as an elegant snack at your next party with a spicy dip. By playing around with the ingredients, you can incorporate this treat into your menu to complement almost any South African food. The croquette is, without doubt, one of the most popular South African snacks.
The ultimate SA croquette recipe
Below we share our favourite variation of the croquette recipe with you. This recipe captures the very essence of being a South African!
How to make caramelised onion and boerewors croquettes
What you need:
- 6 large potatoes (peeled and cubed)
- 150g boerewors (cooked and cut into small bite-size chunks)
- 2 large onions (peeled and sliced)
- 2 large eggs (beaten until frothy)
- 250g flour
- 250g breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper to season
- 1 can of Coke a Cola
What to do:
- Place the potatoes in a microwave dish with a bit of water covering the bottom of the container. Microwave the potatoes on full power for twenty-five minutes, stirring halfway.
- Once the potatoes are soft, add two tablespoons of butter, a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir through. Mash the potatoes; the mixture should be stiff so you can shape it into balls. Place the mixture in the fridge to cool.
- Heat a little oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and saute the sliced onions until soft and brown.
- Add a good splash of Coke to the onions, stirring continuously to prevent the onions from sticking to the pan. Remember to keep the onions on low heat; you don’t want burnt onions! The Coke is a nifty way of caramelising the onions. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the chilled potato mash from the fridge, and using a large spoon, place a dollop of potato into your cupped hand. Mould the potato into the rounded shape you need. Press the spoon into the centre of your hand, making a deep indent to fill with ingredients.
- Place a spoonful of onions into the indent, followed by a piece of boerewors. With both hands, now shape the potato into a round ball. Add a little more potato to cover the opening of the ball. Once nicely rounded, place onto a flat tray or board. Repeat the process until you have used all the potato and boerewors.
- Coat each potato ball with a generous dusting of flour.
- Gently roll each potato ball in the egg mixture; it’s best to do this one ball at a time as it will make them extremely sticky.
- Take the egg-coated potato ball and dip it into the bread crumb, ensure the entire ball is coated with crumbs. Place each crumbed ball onto a flat tray and chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
- For this next step, you can use a deep fat fryer or a deep frying pan. Use enough oil to cover the potato balls. Heat the oil on a low heat until hot. Chefs tip: place a wooden spoon into the oil; when bubbles appear around the spoon, the oil is hot enough (you’re welcome).
- Add the potato balls to the oil, frying two to three at a time depending on the size of the frying pan. Fry until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove the crispy croquettes from the oil and place them on a paper towel to cool.
- Serve with any flavoured dip of your choice. You could use a barbeque or a sweet chili sauce. Perhaps go simple with an all-time South African favourite, All Gold tomato sauce.
All that’s needed is to invite friends and family for a lekker get-together and some delicious South African snacks in the sun. Using the last of the Coke, pour yourself a well-deserved klippies and cola, sit back and relax and enjoy those crispy, crunchy croquettes. And remember, there are so many different variations to choose from; why not try a chakalaka and mince croquette next time or add some chili for a cheeky ‘bite in the croquette’ – find out which variation is your favourite! Enjoy!
Chat with FinGlobal about your tax & financial emigration needs
In order to enjoy your favourite South African snacks in a foreign country, you have to get there first! That’s where we come in! At FinGlobal, we specialise in providing SA expats with tax and financial emigration and advice and guidance. You undoubtedly want your emigration to run smoothly, and with our help, that’s to be expected. Want to chat more about your upcoming emigration and financial obligations? Chat with us at FinGlobal! You can contact us on +27 028 312 2764 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.