Japanese Food: Takoyaki in Ten Easy Steps

By Donnie | Articles

Takoyaki. Simply delicious.

I’m really glad that my students are always so kind. My student, Taeko actually made takoyaki for me! Takoyaki is a Japanese food that I really like eating, but haven’t made on my own. This time, unfortunately, I don’t have all of the minor details of what it takes to make takoyaki (namely the takoyaki batter) but the process makes sense. In essence, if you have takoyaki batter, diced octopus, and a takoyaki-maker, you can cook some rudimentary takoyaki. But it’s always nice to add all of those little, special ingredients that give your takoyaki a bit of flair.

WHAT IS TAKOYAKI EXACTLY?

Takoyaki is a very popular Japanese snack food. To put it simply, takoyaki is a a battered, pan-grilled, octopus dumpling. Takoyaki methods vary from cook to cook, but the fundamental concept remains the same, it’s a dumpling with octopus inside. You can often find food vendors selling takoyaki at just about any food festival (like the Tsukuba Summer Festival) in Japan. Your local, Japanese supermarket should have them, too.

TAKOYAKI INGREDIENTS & SUPPLIES

-Takoyakiki (Takoyaki pan)
-Takoyaki probes
-Takoyaki batter (I didn’t get the exact ingredients from Taeko, but when I do, I’ll be sure to do a post update )
-Tako (Octopus)
-Pickled Ginger (Benishoga)
-Negi (Green Onions)
-Ebi (Dried Shrimp)
-Tenkasu (Tempura Scraps)
-Katsuobushi (Fish Shavings)
-Okonomiyaki Sauce

Takoyaki in Ten Easy Steps

Step 1. Oil your takoyaki pan
Step 2. Add takoyaki batter- Using a ladle, pour takoyaki batter into each of the takoyaki pan wells.
Step 3. Add tako (octopus) to each well.
Step 4. Add benishoga (pickled ginger) to each well.
Step 5. Add negi (green onions) to each well.
Step 6. Add dried shrimp (ebi) to each well.
Step 7. Add tenkasu (tempura scraps) to each takoyaki well.
Step 8. Add another layer of takoyaki batter- You can be generous with the batter this time. Even if the wells overflow with batter, it’s okay.
Step 9. Do a bit of takoyaki surgery- Use the takoyaki probes to “section off” wells, and shape the takoyaki into their characteristic spherical shape.
Step 10. Keep turning the takoyaki until the dumpling is golden brown.

Optional
Add okonomiyaki sauce to really bring out your the takoyaki’s flavor. You can garnish the takoyaki with katsuobushi, fish shavings.

I know eating octopus sounds downright wrong to some people, it did to me before I actually tried it. Octopus sounds more like something you should be brewing and bubbling into a witch’s cauldron instead of stocking in your fridge. However, I do encourage you to give them a try. You might be a takoyaki fan and just don’t know it yet. Takoyaki is a truly tasty Japanese food, and I’m not talking about an acquired taste either, like sock-smellingnatto. You can enjoy them the very first time you eat them.

Donald Ash

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