Set up the steamer (I use this steamer basket inside the dutch oven here). Steam kabocha for 20 minutes or until tender (enough that you can mash with fork) but don’t overcook.
While steaming the kabocha, mince the onion. Slice parallel to the grain, slice against the grain (pic 1), cut into cubes (pic 2), and chop into even smaller pieces (pic 3).
Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, and add the bacon. Cook until the onion is translucent, tender, and nicely brown. Set aside until the kabocha is done with steaming.
Add the onion and bacon mixture to the mashed kabocha. Try to avoid adding excess oil, which could make the mixture too wet. Season with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt.
Combine well together. Using a cookie scoop, make it into ball shape. I can usually make 15-18 balls with ½ kabocha (1.5 lbs with seeds).
Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. During this time, flour absorbs moisture. As a result, it’ll be less splatter in oil and the batter becomes sticker and won’t come off while deep frying.
When it’s almost 30 minutes, start heating up the oil to 340 ºF (170 ºC). Insert the long chopsticks and when you see small bubbles appear around them, it’s ready to deep fry the croquette. Inside croquette is cooked already, so all you need is to fry until golden brown.
Transfer golden kabocha croquette to a wire rack or a plate lined with paper towel. Sprinkle some salt such as sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. Once it’s cooled completely, you can put in an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to a month.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.