Cooking with Luna: Takoyaki

Cooking with Luna: Takoyaki

Jun 13, 2019 Tags 

Takoyaki (たこやき), 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?

If you can't enjoy the real deal, then we've got the next best thing! Takoyaki-tei are the original takoyaki snack since 1981 and are loved by children and adults alike. Try it for yourself in July's Friday Vibes Sweets Pack.


Takoyaki Snack in July's ZenPop Sweets PackTakoyaki corn puffs included in July's Friday Vibes Sweets Pack

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!

  1. Hanadako, Umeda
  2. Aizuya, Namba - featured in the Michelin Guide!
  3. Juhachiban, Dōtonbori - order through a vending machine!
  4. Make your own takoyaki at Takonotetsu in Umeda


Eating takoyaki in Dotombori in OsakaPhoto: Bite My Bun

Cooking with Luna: Takoyaki

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

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

If you don't have a takoyaki-ki then a Poffertjes pan is a great alternative. We've also heard of home cooks using a cake pop maker, waffle maker or even ice cube trays (and a very different method!) Get creative with whatever you have at home.


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

Takoyaki: The Main Ingredients

You should be able to find the main ingredients of takoyaki in your local Asian supermarket, but if not, try our suggested substitutes.

  • diced octopus Substitute: shrimp, squid, chicken, sausage or shredded cheese
  • tenkasu (tempura crumbs or scraps) Substitute: panko breakcrumbs or rice crispies cereal
  • beni shōga (is a type of tsukemono or Japanese pickle) Substitute: Sushi ginger
  • negi (green onion)

Discover more interesting flavor combinations for your takoyaki!

How to Cook Takoyaki at Home

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

The trickiest 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!


Cooking With Luna: Takoyaki



  • 300g all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 liter of cold water
  • ⅔ tsp salt
  • 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)
  • 100g of boiled octopus cut into ½” cubes
  • 30g tenkasu
  • 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)

*If you don't have these ingredients, don't worry! It will taste great with or without them.


  1. Whisk the eggs, then mix in the cold 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.


Cooking with Luna: TakoyakiOur finished product! Oishiidesune!



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