Takoyaki is a very casual fast food in Japan. It might not be easily found at Japanese restaurants in the US or other parts of world even though it is a very popular dish. Takoyaki tastes a little bit like round shaped Okonomiyaki, but it has a much different flavor from the Tako (octopus) cooked inside them. In most parts of Japan, people don’t treat Takoyaki as a meal. Many people typically think of Takoyaki as something you get from street vendors at festivals and events.
In western Japan, in the Kansai area where we are from on the other hand, Takoyaki is very popular not only as a snack but also as a meal. Many households in Kansai have Takoyaki pans at home so they can cook for dinner. Takoyaki is actually very filling since flour is used as a main ingredient just like pancakes and bread. With savory Takoyaki Sauce , similar to Okonomiyaki sauce (or even Tonkatsu sauce), it can be a very good main dish for dinner.
It is very easy to make Takoyaki batter, and it’s even simple to cook, however, you must have a Takoyaki pan. If you don’t have it, it’s not possible to make Takoyaki. Luckily, today we can easily buy Takoyaki Pan online. Some Takoyaki pans are cast iron pans to use on a stove top. These work best on a gas stove. We tested on a flat electric stove, and it worked beautifully too, even though it took a little longer to heat up the pan and cook. They also sell Electric Takoyaki Pan that are portable and great for Takoyaki parties to cook right at the dinner table. If you decide to buy a Takoyaki pan, don’t forget to get a Takoyaki Pick (turner). It often looks like a small ice pick, though some are flat on the end as well. If you don’t have one, you can use something pointy, or skinny and thinner towards the end like a skewer. (A fork does not work well.)
Takoyaki is literally baked or fried octopus, so if you don’t use octopus, is it not really Takoyaki anymore? ….that’s not true! Put whatever you want inside Takoyaki. We use cheese or sausage for kids, shrimp pieces when octopus is not available, vegetables like chopped cabbage, anything you want, really. They are best eaten hot right out of a pan, so get a Takoyaki pan and enjoy fresh home made Takoyaki!
- 2 cups (480ml) Dashi
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2-3 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp Benishoga (pickled red ginger), chopped
- 5-6 oz octopus, cut into 1/2" cubes
- Takoyaki sauce or Okonomiyaki sauce
- Aonori (green dried seaweed)
- Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
- In a large bowl, mix well Dashi, eggs, soy sauce, salt, and flour with a whisk.
- Heat a Takoyaki pan with oil to very hot, just until the oil begins to smoke. Use enough oil to coat the pan using a paper towel so that the batter won't stick. Then pour batter to fill the holes of the pan.
- Drop octopus pieces in the batter in each hole, and sprinkle chopped green onions and ginger all over the pan.
- Cook at medium heat for 1-2 minutes and turn over using a Takoyaki turner (you can use a chopstick too). It can be a little tricky at first, so watch the video to see the technique. Cook another 3-4 minutes, turning constantly.
- Place the cooked Takoyaki on a plate and pour Takoyaki sauce and mayo over them (to taste). Finish the dish by sprinkling the Takoyaki with Aonori (green dried seaweed) and Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes).