Japan has various local dishes in 47 prefectures. The diversity in food culture is one of the features of Japan. Among these foods, takoyaki is a popular food originated in Kansai centering Osaka.
Now, everywhere in Japan, takoyaki is fully accepted. The special stores are clustered in big supermarkets, department stores and shopping malls, but also takoyaki is a must-have speciality for festivals and other events.
The Japanese love takoyaki, and it has more fans all over the world. So, you can often see the unique recipes as well as the classical recipes.
The food was born in Kansai culture centered in Osaka. Kansai has many takoyaki stalls, where it takes root in their life as they own one takoyaki pan per family.
Takoyaki is a ball-shaped baked snack including diced octopus, which is made from wheat flour melted in broth. In general, the toppings include takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes and green laver, but each family or store uses their own recipe for the dough and toppings.
Although some recipes use eggs in addition to flour and broth, people in Osaka, the home of Takoyaki, tend to use flour and broth only. They believe, "The taste is better to melt flour with more broth". But the higher rate of broth it has, the more difficult you form the shape and the higher skill you need.
To roundly form the dough, we use the Takoyaki Pan, a special cookware. This tool has several hemisphere molds, in which we pour the dough to form a round shape using a takoyaki pick.
At home, the most popular type is a takoyaki pan making 16 balls at a time as it is easy to use or store and affordable. Different makers offer a variety of materials like Teflon and iron. A Teflon pan is easy to cook with non-stick coating, while an iron pan makes takoyaki more delicious, however, you need to learn how to cook well and prepare for that.
Both materials have merits and demerits. If you want to taste authentic takoyaki at home, we recommend an iron pan with just a little extra effort.
To enjoy a takoyaki party (tako-pa) at home, you need to prepare some tools and ingredients. We will explain a recipe later. Here, this blog will introduce the tools needed for tako-pa.
A basting mop oil dispenser is essential with a takoyaki pan. This is a tool to put oil onto the pan. The handle has a built-in spring so that the oil can put well into the mold (a hollow part or hole). Other than the takoyaki pan, you can use the dispenser for various purposes like putting oil on a frying pan, an iron plate and others.
A takoyaki pick is also called an eyeleteer. This is a tool to make holes. Using the pick, you can roll cooked dough in the mold to form the shape while cooking. This can be replaced by a bamboo skewer, but the skewers can be broken or burned easily. The metal picks allow cooking takoyaki more efficiently.
Besides, if you have a gas stove (ex. a portable stove) as a heat source, you can enjoy tako-pa right now.
Mix flour with broth well to avoid being lumpy.
After heating a takoyaki pan enough and putting oil in the pan, pour dough. Once you pour around half amount of dough, add octopus, cabbage, red pickled ginger and tempura bits. Then, pour the dough over it. Regarding the amount of ingredients, use one or two pieces of octopus per hole and spread other ingredient over the whole area as you like. You can pour the dough until it overflows from the mold as the picture shows.
After the surface is cooked, keep rolling the dough with the takoyaki pick till it's fully cooked. If you can see some soft spots, switch the hole to cook as needed to adjust the cooking degree. Brown entirely and it's done.
Put the cooked takoyaki onto a plate and top takoyaki with sauce, mayonnaise, green laver and bonito flakes. Finally, it's time to enjoy while it's hot . You can also personalize it with your favorite toppings like red pickled ginger, grated radish, ponzu sauce, chopped onion or aurora sauce mixed with mayonnaise and ketchup in the same amount.
Sure, anyone can enjoy tako-pa with your family and friends. It's also a great idea to have cooking competition with your child. Hope you enjoy Japanese daily food, takoyaki, at home!