For the Mix
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 Onion, medium size, finely chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Green Chili, finely chopped
- 2 Red Chillies, finely chopped, 1 deseeded
- 3 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Chicken Stock/Water/Milk
- 2 (500 grams) Chicken Breasts, boiled and shredded
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper
- ⅛ tsp Nutmeg, freshly grated
- 400 grams Potatoes, boiled
- 2 Eggs, large (separate the egg yolks from the whites)
- 2 tbsp Butter, unsalted, room temperature
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2 tbsp Fresh Coriander/Cilantro, finely chopped
- ½ cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- ½ cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Egg Whites
- 1 cup Bread Crumbs
- Oil, for deep frying
- To a heated deep pan, add the oil and toss in the finely chopped onions. Saute till the onions turn translucent.
- Now add the chopped garlic and continue sauteing for a little bit before adding the finely chopped green and red chilies.
- Add the all-purpose flour and chicken stock, and stir the roux quickly to make it smooth.
- Add the shredded chicken and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Saute for a minute or two till all the ingredients are well mixed together. Take it off the heat and allow it to cool.
- In a big bowl mash the boiled potatoes.
- Crack the eggs and separate the egg yolks from the whites. Add the egg yolks to the bowl with the potatoes and keep the egg whites aside for later.
- Toss in the butter and add the lemon juice.
- Now grate the mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese and add them to the bowl.
- Add the finely chopped cilantro as well.
- Give all the ingredients in the bowl a mix so that they get well combined.
- Now add the cooled shredded chicken mix in two batches to the bowl, mixing well between each addition.
- Brush some oil on a baking dish and keep it ready to place the formed croquettes.
- To get equal size croquettes, use a trigger-release ice cream scoop to portion out the mix. Rub a little oil on the palms of your hands as the mix has a tendency to stick. Now roll the mix between your palms and shape the croquettes. You can shape them into any shape you like, I have gone in for the round shape.
- Place the formed croquettes in the greased baking dish. Continue forming all the croquettes till you have finished the mix.
- Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for an hour for the croquettes to firm up. (if you want to make them ahead of time, this is the best place to stop).
- After an hour, take the croquettes out of the freezer and put a pot filled halfway with vegetable oil on the stove on medium heat.
- Create a workstation. Keep the firmed-up croquettes to one side. In a bowl, beat up the egg whites we had placed aside earlier. In another bowl, add the all-purpose flour and in the last bowl add the breadcrumbs.
- Now you are going to take the firmed-up croquette and roll it in the all-purpose flour, shape it round once again, then dip it in the egg white and now toss it into the breadcrumbs and roll them in the breadcrumbs till they get well coated on all sides.
- Keep the coated chicken croquettes in a baking dish and continue coating the croquettes till you have finished all.
- Check if the oil has heated by inserting a bamboo skewer into it and if bubbles come rushing to the surface of the oil, you know it is ready.
- Gently place 2-3 croquettes at a time in a spider skimmer and lower them into the hot oil. Depending on the size of the pot, you can fry 5-6 croquettes at a time.
- Occasionally, turn the croquettes around in the pot for even frying. Fry till the croquettes have got a golden colour.
- Once fried, remove them from the hot oil and place them in a colander to cool.
- Continue the process till you have finished frying all the croquettes.
- To plate the croquettes, place them in a serving tray and top them with a dollop of tomato ketchup and a blistered cherry tomato. Insert a bamboo cocktail skewer to keep it all in place and finish it off with a little cilantro.
How the croqueta was born
A favorite amongst Cubans, you’d think croquetas were invented in some abuelita’s kitchen in Havana. But lore has it the croqueta originated in France, where it’s called a croquette. The croquette came onto the food scene in the 19th century as a tasty way of recycling leftover meat and scraps during lean times, though it’s unclear who should really get the credit for the recipe.
Some have suggested it was legendary French chef Antonin Carême, who served potato croquettes at an extravagant royal banquet in 1817 featuring a menu of 120 dishes. Others have credited Monsieur Escoffier, considered by some the founder of French classical cuisine, for writing down the recipe and training chefs who introduced them to different parts of the world.
What makes ‘em so good?
The ingredients are actually pretty simple: butter, flour, milk, whatever meat or vegetable you are using in the stuffing, salt, eggs, and breadcrumbs. But the secret to the gooey texture is mixing some of the ingredients into a bechamel sauce. Once the mixture has set, you make them into rolls, fry them up and pop an endless amount into your mouth.
If you'd like to learn how to make a traditional Cuban ham croquetas you can watch this classic how-to video from Nydia’s Miami Kitchen.