Japanese Octopus Dumplings: Takoyaki

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This particular posting is dedicated to Lou Ginocchio who had the occasion to sample this food served by Japanese residents in Paraguay!

Please note that this is a very basic recipe. Especially concerning the sauce, there are so many ways to prepare it that it becomes very well-guarded professional secrets in Japan!
As for the contents, octopus is always there, but as for other additions, it varies from region to region, and from home to home!
Its existence dates back to the 1930’s and it is most popular in Osaka City presently, although many people aver that it originated from the Toyo area.
There is a similarly named dish called ikayaki but it is a broiled whole squid and bears no resemblance

INGREDIENTS: for 35~40 dumplings
-Boiled Octopus: 1 tentacle
-Flour: 1 cup/200 ml=110g
-Baking powder: 1 quarter of a teaspoon
-Salt: 1 pinch
-Egg: 1
-Dashi Stock (seaweed or fish): 300 cc
-Dry seaweed powder, green laver (“aonon”) (to taste)
-Katsuo Bushi/Dry bonito shavings (to taste)
-Worcester sauce (to taste)
-Ketchup (to taste)
(or okonomiyaki sauce instead of two above)
-Tempura scraps (“tenkasu”) : 1 handful
-Red pickled ginger (“beni shoga”): (to taste)
-Chopped thin leeks (to taste)
-Mayonnaise (to taste)

UTENSILS:
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Takoyaki Hot Plate (1 or up to 4)

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Pick to turn (flip) takoyaki around. If unavailable, use a long toothpick.

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Sauce Brush

RECIPE:

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Cut boiled octopus into 5~7 mm cubes/bits. If you prefer to have only one bigger bit in the middle of the dumplings, cut accordingly.

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In a bowl break the egg, add dashi, chopped pickled red ginger (Omit if you serve to children), and salt. Mix well.

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Add flour and baking powder. Mix wel a if to attain a pancake batter.

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Heat the takoyaki hot plate and oil well.
Pour in takoyaki batter inside holes from center to outring (important).
Do not worry about spilling batter between holes as it will be folded inside the holes later!
Put octopus bits (2~3 small bits or 1 large bits) in the middle of each hole.

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With the pick drag excess batter over each hole and flip every bowl around inside its hole.

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Keep flipping dumplings over until they attain a beautiful uniform light brown colour.

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Transfer to serving plate and brush an equal amount of Worcester sauce and ketchup (you may mix both beforehand or use an okonomiyaki sauce) over each dumpling.
Do not be afraid to brush plenty of it!

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Sprinkle plenty of dry seaweed and dry bonito shavings all over them.

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For a final touch (and if you like it so!), add chopped thin leeks, tempura scraps and mayonnaise!

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10 thoughts on “Japanese Octopus Dumplings: Takoyaki”

  1. Robert,

    I am very grateful! I can’t believe how quickly you were able to respond to my request.

    My wife is going to flip when she finds me in the kitchen flippin’ the takoyaki balls. Of course it will be a somewhat bittersweet moment because it will remind her of all the good friends we left behind in Paraguay.

    Does anyone here know how long I should boil the octopus? I always struggle with it and squid. I either under cook it and it ends up too tough or I overcook it and it ends up too tough. I have had so much difficulty finding the sweet spot – that fleeting moment when octopus turns tender(ish).

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  2. Dear Robert,

    What a wonderful surprise for me and my Piggies! They love this takoyaki. Darn expensive. RM4 for 3 balls from the supermart. Now the problem is where to get a takoyaki hot plate… :( Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will have to find an alternative way to make this if I can’t get the real takoyaki hot plate. Any idea ? :P

    Cheers,
    Elin

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    1. Dear Elin!
      Greetings!
      RM4 would be about 110 yen. Usually we pay about 430 yen for 10 in Japan on the Internet which represents the median price. Let’s say it would be a ratio of about 4 to 3 higher in Japan. But when you consider the average eranings in Malaysia and Japan, that is expensive indeed!
      Why don’t you try and buy the takoyaki hot plate on the internet?

      http://esearch.rakuten.co.jp/rms/sd/esearch/vc?sv=2&f=O&g=301452&v=2&e=0&p=0&s=28&oid=000&k=0&sf=1&sitem=%A4%BF%A4%B3%BE%C6%A4%AD%B4%EF+%A4%BF%A4%B3%BE%C6%A4%AD%B5%A1&scid=s_kwa&c=1832

      Above link says it costs between 40 and 50 US$ for a family type one. Maybe a bit expensive for Malaysia?
      You’d better ask a friend to buy you one as a gift from Japan!
      Cheers,
      Robert-Gilles

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  3. I’ve always wanted to try these. I remember seeing this on a tv show and I was mezmerized by them. They look really good. I’m saving this for if and when I get a takoyaki plate or a pancake ball griddle.

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