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Takoyaki Recipe たこ焼き

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    Takoyaki, or Octopus Balls, are one of Japan’s best-known street food originated in Osaka. Whether you make a traditional style with bits of octopus or other alternatives, these ball-shaped dumplings are fun to make with your friends and family!

    A white plate containing Takoyaki (Octopus Balls) topped with a generous drizzle of takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, aonori, katsuobushi.

    Takoyaki (たこ焼き) is a Japanese snack in the shape of little round balls containing pieces of octopus. Tako-yaki literally translates to “octopus-grilled/fried” and some people may call it “Octopus Balls” or “Octopus Dumplings”.

    What is Takoyaki?

    Here are some facts about takoyaki.

    Takoyaki vendor and Takoyaki on the tray.

    • It originated and became popular in Osaka around 1935 (according to wiki) and then spread to greater south-central Japan and beyond.
    • It’s one of the most popular Japanese street foods along with Okonomiyaki.
    • Takoyaki is usually sold by street vendors, convenience stores, supermarkets, food courts, and of course specialty restaurants. In Osaka, takoyaki stands can be easily found throughout the city.
    • It is usually served with slightly salty takoyaki sauce, which goes well with beer and other alcoholic drinks. Therefore, many Izakaya restaurants serve takoyaki on the menu.

    A white plate containing Takoyaki (Octopus Balls) topped with a generous drizzle of takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, aonori, katsuobushi.

    5 Ingredients for Authentic Takoyaki

    There are so many variations of takoyaki throughout Japan. For example, the original Osaka-style does not include any cabbage, but many regional variations (Kyoto, Kobe, Nagoya, Tokyo areas) do. Even though I lived in the Tokyo area, I actually didn’t know they sometimes contain cabbage till now.

    Here are ingredients for classic takoyaki recipe.

    1. Dashi-flavored batter

    Very simple. It’s a mixture of Japanese stock Dashi, all-purpose flour, baking powder, eggs, salt, and soy sauce. If you don’t want to make the batter from scratch, you can find takoyaki mix in Japanese grocery stores or Amazon.

    2. Octopus

    You can purchase cooked (boiled) octopus (tako in Japanese) in Japanese grocery stores. If you are going to make this snack for a big party, you can purchase a whole cooked octopus at an online sashimi store like Catalina Offshore. When I buy a whole octopus, I use it for different dishes, including sashimi, carpacciooctopus salad (Takosu), and of course, takoyaki.

    3. Beni shoga (pickled red ginger)

    Small bits of beni shoga, or red pickled ginger, give a nice pop on the color of takoyaki and a little spicy, pungent kick to the dish.

    4. Green onion

    The batter is yellow, octopus, and beni shoga are red… and now you need green color to make the dish look more appetizing (and delicious)!

    5. Tenkasu or Agedama (Tempura scraps)

    I often get questions about what Tenkasu does for the dish. We use tempura scraps for hot or cold Tanuki Udon Noodles and Okonomiyaki (even Hiroshima-style). The oil from Tenkasu adds richer and umami flavors, and additional crispness and creaminess inside takoyaki balls.

    Takoyaki Sauce

    Takoyaki Sauce & Garnish

    Takoyaki is served with Worcestershire sauce-like “takoyaki sauce”, followed by some squirt of Japanese mayo. You can:

    Then it’s topped with a sprinkle of few garnishes:

    • Aonori (dried green seaweed)
    • Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)

    A white plate containing Takoyaki (Octopus Balls) topped with a generous drizzle of takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, aonori, katsuobushi.

    3 Tips to Make Perfect Takoyaki

    I received many requests for this recipe from JOC Readers (thank you!). To make the recipe as authentic as possible, I asked my best friend Yukako who lives in Osaka. She makes delicious takoyaki at home and she and her husband shared their own recipe with me and JOC readers. Yay! I adapted the recipe a little bit so that some ingredients will be easier to measure.

    Tip 1: Use LOTS of oil.

    Apply generous oil everywhere (each hole in the takoyaki pan and surrounding flat area). How generous? You should see 1/4 inch (5 mm) oil in each hole. The oil helps takoyaki to have crispy skin and it’ll be easier for you to flip without the batter being stuck.

    Tip 2: Generously pour the batter.

    When you see smoke coming out of the grill/plate, fill the hole with the batter. If it overflows, that’s okay. Because the entire grill top should be covered with the batter after adding octopus and other ingredients in the hole. If you use a bigger chunk of octopus pieces, you might want to pour just enough to the top of the holes. As soon as the octopus goes in, it overflows naturally.

    Tip 3: Flip 90 degrees and stuff in the extra batter.

    Break the extra batter around the hole with skewers. Once the bottom of takoyaki balls are crispy, rotate 90 degrees to let the uncooked batter pour out into the hole. Stuff and push in the extra surrounding dough inside the balls. This will help make a perfectly round shape.

    For a home takoyaki grill, each hole doesn’t provide the same amount of heat. Therefore, it’s important to switch around the balls once they are in a ball shape so they’re browned evenly.

    A white plate containing Takoyaki (Octopus Balls) topped with a generous drizzle of takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, aonori, katsuobushi.

    Don’t Like Octopus? Here Are Substitutions:

    No problem! A lot of Japanese children enjoy different fillings besides pieces of octopus. Here are my suggestions for other fillings.

    • Sausages / Bacon
    • Canned tuna / Mentaiko (Spicy cod/pollock roe)
    • Shrimp / Squid
    • Cheese
    • Mochi (rice cakes)
    • Fish cake (chikuwa/crab sticks)
    • Kimchi
    • Corn
    • Edamame
    • Green peas
    • Avocado

    Various Takoyaki Grills

    1. Zojirushi Gourmet Sizzler Electric Griddle + EA-YBC01 Takoyaki Plate (Optional) ($130 + $60)

    Takoyaki Grill

    This is the takoyaki grill pan that I use. I use this electric griddle for Teppanyaki and Okonomiyaki. I switch the hot plate to the takoyaki plate when I make Takoyaki.

    2. Iwatani Cassette Gas Takoyaki Device ($100)

    Takoyaki Grill

    3. Iwatani Non-Stick Takoyaki Grill for Cassette Butane Stove ($40)

    Takoyaki Grill

    Do you have this Iwatani cassette feu butane stove already? I use this exact model for doing a hot pot at the table and sometimes filming my YouTube videos. If you have one already, then you can purchase this Iwatani accessory. The grill is non-stick and prevents food from sticking on to the pan. 

    4. Yamazen Takoyaki Device ($45)

    Takoyaki Grill 4

    5. Ebelskiver (Danish) Pan ($25)

    Takoyaki Grill

    Many JOC readers told me they successfully made takoyaki with an Ebelskiver (Danish) pan or Appam Maker (Indian) as well.

    Watch How To Make Takoyaki

    Takoyaki, or Octopus Balls, are one of Japan’s best-known street food originated in Osaka. Whether you make a traditional style with bits of octopus or other alternatives, these ball-shaped dumplings are fun to make with your friends and family!

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

    Sign up for the free Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on FacebookPinterestYouTube, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

    4.63 from 53 votes
    Takoyaki - Octopus Balls (たこ焼き)| Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    Takoyaki
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Cook Time
    10 mins
    Total Time
    25 mins
     
    Takoyaki, or Octopus Balls, are one of Japan’s best-known street food originated in Osaka.  Whether you make the traditional style with bits of octopus or other alternatives, these ball-shape dumplings are fun to make with your friends and family!
    Course: Main Course, Snack
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: octopus ball, street food
    Servings: 26 pieces
    Author: Namiko Chen
    Ingredients
    For Cooking Takoyaki
    Takoyaki Batter
    Topping
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.
      takoyaki-new-ingredients
    To Prepare Fillings
    1. Grind ¼ cup (4g) katsuobushi (bonito flakes) into fine powder. Set aside, we'll use this powder when we're cooking Takoyaki.

      takoyaki-new-3
    2. Cut green onions into fine slices and mince 1 Tbsp-* red pickled ginger.

      takoyaki-new-1
    3. Cut octopus into ½ inch (1.5 cm) bite size pieces (cut into smaller pieces for kids so they can chew easily). I use “rangiri” cutting technique.
      takoyaki-new-2
    To Make Takoyaki Batter
    1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup (4.2 oz/120 g) all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, and ½ tsp kosher salt and whisk all together.

      takoyaki-new-4
    2. Add 2 large eggs, 1 tsp soy sauce, and 1 ½ cup (360 ml) dashi.

      takoyaki-new-5
    3. Whisk all together until well-blended and transfer the batter to a 2-cup measuring cup with a handle (or any other pitcher with a spout for easy pouring).
      takoyaki-new-6
    To Cook Takoyaki
    1. Heat the takoyaki pan to 400 ºF (200 ºC) over medium heat. Using a brush, generously oil the takoyaki pan (both the holes and connecting flat areas). When you see smoke coming from the pan, pour the batter to fill the holes. It’s okay for the batter to slightly overflow the holes. Usually as you add ingredients to the batter it will overflow.

      takoyaki-new-7
    2. Add 1-3 octopus pieces in each hole depending on its size and sprinkle katsuobushi powder you ground earlier on top.

      takoyaki-new-8
    3. Then sprinkle tenkasu, green onion, and pickled red ginger.
      takoyaki-new-9
    4. After 3 minutes or so, when the bottom of the balls has hardened slightly, break the connected batter between each ball with skewers. Then turn each piece a 90 degree, stuffing in the edges as you are turning. The batter will flow out from the inside of each takoyaki ball and creates the other side of the takoyaki ball. After you finish flipping, set timer for 4 minutes. Keep turning constantly so each piece will have nice round shape. Home takoyaki grill doesn’t equally distribute heat so it’s good idea to swap takoyaki balls around to get even brown color. Transfer takoyaki balls onto a plate and pour takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise. Finish off with sprinkling katsuobushi and dried green seaweed. Serve immediately (but be careful – inside is VERY hot!).
      takoyaki-new-10
    Recipe Notes

    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.

    Other Japanese Street Foods

    Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on Oct 20, 2013.

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