Tako = Octopus and Ebi = Shrimp. Yaki means fried. It’s a simple, but addicting street/festival food from Japan. They say that Takoyaki was adapted in Osaka, Japan, from a dish called Choboyaki. They both have similar ingredients, but Chobyaki is flat and rectangular.
Takoyaki can be found all over Japan, sold from stalls, in restaurants, and now made at home. Cameron doesn’t like octopus (or so he thinks), so I make his with shrimp and mine with octopus. Sometimes, if I’m feeling nefarious, I add both and only tell him it’s shrimp. He loves them just the same.
I did lots of research into making the Takoyaki from scratch. I also found a handy mix where you only have to add water and eggs. I included the brand in the picture. We tested it, and it worked quite well. I tried a lot of recipes, made a few adjustments here and there, and settled on this final one.
The recipe calls for tenkasu (tempura batter bits). You can normally find it in stores, but the last few weeks I’ve not been able to find any. I ended up having to make tempura batter and fried it in a shallow pan to make the bits. If you can’t find it - don’t worry. It’s not a deal-breaker. However, it does another element of texture into your Takoyaki.
Buy your octopus from your local Asian market, they will normally have it already cooked. My store had baby octopus on sale, so I bought that, and it was yummy. You will also need a Takoyaki pan. You can find them on Amazon. There are literally dozens you can choose from.
To turn my takoyaki, I use two wooden skewers form my takoyaki. It’s best to use something that won’t scratch the pan. You can use chopsticks as well.
Note: Apologies for the picture quality. I use natural lighting to take my pictures and we had a big wind and rain storm that day, and there was very little light.
Takoyaki flour mix or 300 grams of all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
¼ teaspoon of acceptable sea salt
4 1/4 cups of Dashi or stock of your choice
½ cup of finely sliced spring onions
3/4 cup of tenkasu (tempura batter bits)
400 grams of cooked octopus
400 grams of cooked shrimp
Otafuku (Okonomiyaki) sauce
Aonori, or crushed Nori
Vegetable Oil to grease your pan
If you’re using a mix, please follow the instructions on the back of the package. If you’re making the batter, combine your flour, salt, beaten eggs, and stock. The batter should be watery and thinner than pancake batter.
Gather all your fillings on a plate beside your cooking area; heat your pan, and using a pastry brush and your oil, grease your pan. Ladle a scoop of batter into your pan, until all the holes are field and surrounded by the filling. Add your octopus/shirmp into the centre of each hole, add the tenkasu, and green onions.
As the batter begins to get firm, use your skewers to draw a line between each hole, breaking and gathering the batter as you do so. Use the skewer to turn the takoyaki; tucking the extra batter and filling into the half-formed ball. Continue to cook the takoyaki, turning the ball every 2-3 minutes until crispy.
Watch this video Here to help watch how street vendors turn and make their takoyaki.
When the takoyaki is cooked, arrange the balls onto a plate, drizzle with Japanese mayo, Otafuku sauce, your nori and the bonito flakes. Serve and enjoy!