Cooking with Luna: Takoyaki

Cooking with Luna: Takoyaki

Jun 13, 2019 Tags 

Takoyaki, or octopus balls, is one of Japan’s most popular street foods and one of Osaka’s soul foods.

A tako is an octopus and yaki is derived from yaku, which means ‘to fry or grill’.

Even outside of Japan, there are many restaurants serving takoyaki. Have you ever tried it?

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Cooking with Luna: Takoyaki

This month we’re cooking takoyaki in the ZenPop kitchen with Luna, just like how the native Osakans do!

Takoyaki is cooked in a molded heavy frying pan, called a takoyaki-ki, which you can find through ZenMarket.

Cooking takoyaki at home with a special frying pan
Photo: Story of a Kitchen

Takoyaki-ki shape looks very similar to Danish Æbleskiver (or pancake balls) and paddu, a common South Indian breakfast dish. So, if you have one of these pans, they will work too!

The main ingredients:

  • diced octopus
  • tenkasu (tempura crumbs or scraps)
  • beni shōga (is a type of tsukemono or Japanese pickle)
  • negi (green onion)

You should be able to find each of these ingredients in your local Asian supermarket.

Discover more interesting flavor combinations for your takoyaki!

The History of Takoyaki

Takoyaki was introduced to Osaka in 1935, by Mr. Endo, a street vendor. He was inspired by Akashiyaki, a type of egg-rich and octopus dumpling, from Akashi in Hyogo Prefecture.

Takoyaki became very popular in the Kansai and its popularity quickly spread throughout Japan.

Today, it’s enjoyed as a snack from street food stalls, as well as from restaurants that specialize in the dish. You can also buy frozen takoyaki from the konbini (convenience store) or supermarket.

Where to Eat the Best Takoyaki in Osaka

There are hundreds of takoyaki stands in Osaka, but here are some of our favorites!

Eating takoyaki in Dotombori in Osaka
Photo: Bite My Bun

How to Cook Takoyaki at Home

If you’re a native Kansai person, you probably grew up cooking takoyaki at home!

The only tricky part to cooking takoyaki is learning to turn them quickly so they form a ball. Like everything, practice makes perfect, so get into the kitchen and use it as an excuse to eat more takoyaki!

We recommend watching some takoyaki sensei on YouTube first!

Ingredients:

  • 300g all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 liter (4 ¼ cups) of ice water, with the cubes strained out before adding to the mix
  • 3g salt (⅔ tsp)
  • ½ tsp kombu dashi stock powder
  • ½ tsp katsuo dashi stock
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 ~ 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp beni shoga (pickled red ginger), chopped
  • 100g of boiled octopus cut into ½” cubes (it doesn’t have to be octopus if you don’t like it, you could use shrimp, squid, chicken, sausage or shredded cheese instead)
  • 30g tenkasu (tempura crumbs or scraps)
  • aonori (a type of edible green seaweed)
  • bonito flakes or katsuobushi (dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna)
  • takoyaki or okonomiyaki sauce
  • Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie Mayo)

Method

  1. Whisk the eggs, then mix in the ice water with salt, dashi stock powders, and soy sauce well
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and then add to the wet ingredients and continue stirring lightly. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out, since it’s best not to overmix the batter. Cover with plastic wrap then let it set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Chop the boiled octopus (or whatever you wish!) into bite-size pieces.
  4. Heat the pan on a medium flame and lightly oil the pan.
  5. Drop a piece of octopus into each mold, pour in the batter and sprinkle with the tenkasu, beni shōga and green onions.
  6. When the batter outside of the molds starts to cook, start to separate the batter using a takoyaki turner (or you can use a bamboo skewer).
  7. Using your bamboo skewer, carefully flip each ball over.
  8. Continue cooking and turning the balls, until they are golden-brown color all over
  9. Place the cooked takoyaki on a plate and cover with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise. Sprinkle with aonori and bonito flakes, as desired.
  10. Itadakimasu!

Now you know how to cook takoyaki at home, invite your friends over for a takopa (takoyaki party) just like we do here in Japan.

Taste some of Japan's other famous city snacks with our July Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack.