February 3, 2014
Like the names of many Japanese dishes, takoyaki
(たこ焼き) is easy to dissect. Tako
(たこ) is the term for octopus and yaki
(焼き) means grilled. Takoyaki
is a street food made from minced octopus scraps, pickled ginger, minced green onions, and a variety of other items depending on the cook. The solids are mixed with a batter and cooked in a special griddle so the final shape is that of a sphere. Although it originated in the mid‑1930s as and continues to be a street food
can also be made at home
The special grill with the hemispherical cavities has been an obstacle to my preparing takoyaki
. The standard size is too big to use as an amuse‑bouche.
I’ve been fruitlessly looking for a couple of years for a miniature version. Then I found a takoyaki
‑inspired tempura recipe
that solved my problem.
I tried using the batter from the recipe mixed with minced octopus pieces and fashioned into balls for deep frying, but the results were too chewy by the time the batter was cooked all the way through. So my final version is very close to the one presented by Francis in the video.
I substituted kazami shoga instead of beni shoga because I had it on hand. Both are pickled ginger, but the one I used had more red food coloring in it.
12 bite‑size pieces
boiled octopus, each heavily and closely scored
takoyaki or okonomiyaki sauce
vegetable oil for deep frying
30 ml (2 T)
1. Whisk the first three batter ingredients together until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
2. Heat the oil for deep frying to about 230 °C (445 °F). Prepare a plate lined with absorbent paper.
3. Add the octopus pieces to batter and mix well.
4. Working in small batches, depending on the surface area of your oil, quickly fry the battered‑octopus pieces until they start to brown. Remove from the oil, and drain the octopus pieces on the absorbent paper.
5. Serve the fried octopus with a few drops of takoyaki or okonomiyaki sauce.
Yield: 12 servings.