Today’s recipe is for takoyaki (たこ焼き). It’s a typical dish originally from the Kansai region which is now widely spread all over Japan. It’s usually sold in Yatai (“street food stalls”) and is very common in town festivals (“Matsuri”).
Takoyaki is a ball-shaped food made of a wheat flour batter, which typically filled with octopus (tako), pickled ginger (beni shoga) and green onions.
Let’s begin with the cooking materials. The most important of which is the takoyaki pan (たこ焼き器 takoyakiki). In Japan there are also electric versions to make takoyaki easily at home.
Ingredients for batter:
Dashi stock (Soup stock) – 15ml
Eggs – 1 no:
Soy sauce – 15 ml
Wheat flour – 200g
Water – 600-700 ml
Salt – 1 teaspoon
1. In a bowl, mix dashi stock (soup stock), 1 egg, soy sauce, salt, and flour well. If you cannot find dashi stock you can prepare it with water and dashi powder (following the manufacturer instructions) or you can change the dashi stock only for water.
2. Heat the takoyaki pan with oil, distributing the oil with a paper towel to prevent the batter from sticking. You only need to do it once! And wait till the oil is very hot.
3. Pour the batter in the holes of the pan.
4. Put one octopus piece in the batter in each hole, and sprinkle finely chopped green onions and beni shoga all over the formed balls. Another option is to add green onion and beni shoga directly into the batter in step 1. For western octopus you maybe want to boil it first.
5. Cook at medium heat for 1-2 minutes and turn over each ball using a takoyaki turner (you can use a chopstick too). Cook for another 3-4 minutes, turning the balls constantly.
6. Place the takoyaki balls on a plate and pour takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise over it (to taste). Finish by sprinkling some aonori (seaweed powder) and katsuo bushi (dried bonito flakes).
If you cannot find takoyaki sauce remember that yakisoba sauce, okonomiyaki sauce, takoyaki sauce and tonkatsu sauce all belong to the same family and taste pretty similar. Yakisoba sauce is maybe the easiest one to find, so it can be a good substitute for takoyaki sauce, the most notable difference would be the thickness of the sauce, yakisoba sauce is the thinnest of them all.
And it’s done! For all of those who don’t like octopus you only need to replace it with a filling of your choice, some good ideas are cheese, ham or pieces of sausages!