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Japanese korokke are the basis for these cheesy squash fritters, which can be made with freshly steamed kabocha squash or canned pumpkin puree. A drier squash, kabocha has a sweet flavor and cooks down into a custardy texture that's still dry enough to fry into these crispy two-bite appetizers. Serve them with a shortcut dipping sauce, a blend of fresh garlic, bright yuzu juice, and silky Kewpie mayo.


Credit: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Recipe Summary

1 hr 15 mins
30 mins
16 fritters


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place a steamer basket inside a large saucepan; add water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Add squash to basket; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Steam until squash is fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Remove squash from steamer, and transfer to a plate. Let cool about 10 minutes. Remove skin, and discard. Place squash flesh in a medium bowl, and mash using a fork.

  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cooked onion, cheese, salt, and pepper to mashed squash in bowl; stir to combine. Using a 1 1/2-tablespoon scoop, scoop squash mixture into about 16 balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  • Place flour, beaten egg, and panko in 3 separate shallow bowls. Roll each squash ball in flour, and roll into a slightly flattened oval shape. Working with 1 at a time, dip each oval in egg, letting excess drip off. Dredge in panko, pressing to adhere. Return coated oval to prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate 20 minutes. 

  • Meanwhile, pour canola oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in a large saucepan. Heat over medium-high until a thermometer registers 350°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels, and place a wire rack on top.

  • Working in batches, fry 3 to 4 fritters per batch in hot canola oil until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack, and let drain.

  • Stir together mayonnaise, yuzu juice, and garlic in a small bowl until combined. Sprinkle warm fritters with flaky sea salt; serve with mayonnaise mixture. 

Make Ahead

Mashed steamed kabocha can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator overnight.


To use canned pumpkin puree: In step 2, add 1 (15-ounces) can pumpkin puree to sautéed onions in skillet. Cook over medium-low, stirring often, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool in skillet 10 minutes. Proceed with recipe.