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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

From My Kitchen to Santa Cruz: Takoyaki, a Japanese Snack Food

When R was home for Thanksgiving, he asked if he could take my Æbleskiver pan back to Santa Cruz. He also grabbed the package of frozen baby octopus from the freezer. "I plan to make takoyaki for my housemates," he shared. Of course! I will always happily support culinary adventuring, even if I can't partake.

photo by R


And I love using my Æbleskiver pan so it's not a unitasker. I have used it, as it was intended, for Danish Æbleskiver, but also for Laotian Lao Khao Nom Kok, and Japanese Takoyaki.


photo by R


Takoyaki - literally 'grilled octopus' - is a fried Japanese snack or street food filled with pieces of grilled octopus. Traditional takoyaki are served either on a skewer or piled into a takeaway container, with various toppings and garnishes, including aonori (dried, powdered seaweed), katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), Japanese mayonnaise, and a salty-sweet sauce.



Ingredients

  • ¾ cup flour (I used a mixture of ½ all-purpose flour and ¼ cup rice flour)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 egg

  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce

  • ⅔ cup dashi stock (or you can use ⅔ cup water with a pinch of instant dashi stock powder)

  • ½ cup cooked octopus, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • oil, for greasing pan

  • Also needed: takoyaki or Æbleskiver pan, Japanese mayonnaise, and other garnishes


Procedure

To make the takoyaki batter, combine the flour, rice flour, and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, soy sauce, and dashi. Set aside.


Heat the takoyaki pan over medium-high heat. Dab the wells with oil. When the oil begins to smoke, fill the wells with batter. Top with a piece or two of octopus and a pinch of scallions. Cook until the bottoms of the balls are beginning to crisp.


photo by R

Use chopsticks or skewers, to rotate each takoyaki as they cook to give them a spherical shape. You can add a little bit more batter to complete the ball. Keep cooking and turning for 4 to 5 minutes until the outside is crisped.


To serve, place the takoyaki balls in a bowl with a scoop of rice. Drizzle with Japanese mayonnaise, another other dipping sauces you like, and the toppings of your choice. Serve immediately.


I am thrilled watching my boys blossom into creative, competent cooks. I always wanted them to grow up as intrepid eaters. It's a bonus to see them making their own delicious meals and sharing it with the people with whom they live.

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