As you may know, Japan loves to adapt ‘Western’ food to its own taste. The substitution of spaghetti to make ‘karubonāra udon’ is one inevitable result of this. I admit, I shunned such dishes for a while, having internalised a certain Italian orthodoxy about noodle-sauce combinations. Now I heartily renounce that position. Try my udon alla carbonara recipe and see what you think!
The humble potato croquette is a fine thing. For me, the kind found in Spain (filled with cheese and ham or shredded chicken and béchamel) is hard to beat, but Japan too is home to many croquette variations. There, the fried treat is normally served with lashings of ‘tonkatsu sauce’ (a thicker, sweeter Worcestershire) – the perfect foil to its relatively plain potato-and-meat interior.
Unfortunately, I lack the equipment and inclination to make deep fried foods at home. When I feel that spare spuds are due a crispy, golden fate, I chop them small and roast them in the oven with garlic, oil, salt and herbs. But sometimes, what I really want is a croquette. My oven-cooked version is inevitably heavier than the Japanese kind, with a thinner, less crackly crust – but I’ve cranked up the flavour to compensate.