This recipe for little octopus-filled balls hails from Osaka, but these are a crowd favourite all over Japan. While commonly spotted as a street food eaten on the run, many Japanese families make takoyaki at home; varying the fillings and toppings can be great fun for the whole family.
- 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 500 ml (2 cups) ichiban dashi, or water mixed with dashi powder, or liquid dashi concentrate
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 180 g boiled octopus, cut into 2 cm cubes
- 2 tbsp finely chopped red pickled ginger (benishouga) (see note)
- ½ cup tempura batter bits (tenkasu) (see note)
- ¼ cup finely sliced spring onion (scallion)
- Otafuku sauce (see note)
- Japanese mayonnaise (see note)
- dried green nori seaweed flakes (aonori)
- dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) (see note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the takoyaki batter, combine all the ingredients to make a thin, watery batter. If the batter is too thick, add a little more water.
Heat and lightly grease the hotplate of a takoyaki maker (see note). Pour over the batter to fill all the holes and their surrounds, and drop a piece of octopus into each hole. Scatter over the ginger, tenkasu and spring onion. With a skewer, gather the excess batter into each hole and, when possible, start to flip each ball repeatedly, and cook for 10 minutes or until it forms a crisp outside but is still soft in the centre.
Remove the takoyaki from the hotplate and top with Otafuku sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, aonori and katsuobushi.
• These ingredients can be purchased at Japanese grocers.
• Electric takoyaki machines are sometimes sold in Australia as Dutch pancake makers.