How to Make Takoyaki + 10 Delicious Filling Alternatives

How to Make Takoyaki + 10 Delicious Filling Alternatives

by Tanja Warwick

Customizable Kid Friendly Party Food Small Bite

Takoyaki is a popular and delicious Japanese street-food that originated in the Osaka region. It’s essentially a ball-shaped dumpling filled with small pieces of tender octopus, topped with a Worcestershire-style sauce, Japanese mayo, and dried bonito flakes. These days, takoyaki can be found almost anywhere in Japan, but of course the most comforting and customizable takoyaki is prepared at home. When you make takoyaki at home, you can control what fillings you are using, so that everyone can enjoy their favorite version of this classic Japanese street-food. We have another post all about takoyaki’s history, where you can eat it in Japan, and other details, so please check that out here

Traditional takoyaki contains octopus, and while there are many different types of octopus sold in Japanese supermarkets, the octopus best suited for takoyaki is the "madako (真だこ)," which has a tighter body and a firmer texture. A good octopus is pink in color and has suckers of uniform size.

If you don’t want to use octopus in your takoyaki, here are some alternative filling ideas you could try:

  1. Cheese
  2. Konjac
  3. Sausage
  4. Ham
  5. Cabbage
  6. Kimchi
  7. Chikuwa (Fish cake)
  8. Shrimp
  9. Tofu
  10. Mushrooms

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a simple takoyaki recipe that can easily be enjoyed at home. Feel free to use the fillings we’ve suggested, or use your own preferred ingredients. Stay tuned to learn how to make this delicious treat and enjoy it in the comfort of your own home! 

*Note: You will need special tools to make Takoyaki. We explain more about the tools and ingredients used for Takoyaki in our blog post here

Overview

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 10 mins

Total time: 25 mins

Total servings: 30

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients
  • 125 g Takoyaki Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 450cc of Water
  • Cooking oil (an appropriate amount)
  • ~50g of octopus or your desired filling
  • Green onions
  • Benishoga (Red Pickled Ginger)
  • Tenkasu (Japanese Tempura Flakes)
  • Takoyaki Sauce
  • Japanese Mayonnaise
  • Katsuobushi (Dried Bonito Shavings)
  • Aonori (Dried Green Seaweed)

Expert's Tip

This special flour mix is available at any Japanese supermarket. It is ideal for making delicious takoyaki because it includes the flour and necessary seasonings such as soup stock and salt, and emulsifiers to make the baked product crispy on the outside and thick on the inside. Various manufacturers offer these mixes, but approximately one bag of 500g will make 100 takoyaki dumplings. If you don’t live near a Japanese supermarket, then you can also order the flour mix online via the Japanese Taste store. Nisshin Takoyaki flour mix contains powdered dashi (bonito and konbu seaweed extract) and pickled ginger to give the takoyaki an extra umami kick.

Instructions

1) Preparing the Takoyaki Filling

Cut and prepare your main fillings. Chop the green onions and red pickled ginger into fine pieces. If using octopus each piece should be about 1/4 the size (diameter) of the hole.

Making the Takoyaki Batter
2) Making the Takoyaki Batter

Mix the water and egg thoroughly, then gradually add in 150g of the takoyaki flour. This will result in a very fine batter, and the takoyaki will be very delicious. Pro Tip: Do not mix the flour first!

Cooking the Takoyaki
3) Cooking the Takoyaki

Heat up the takoyaki electric grill or pan and evenly spread a generous amount of oil around so that you can see it pooling at the bottom of the round holes. When you hear the oil begin to sizzle, pour a generous amount of the dough mix over the entire surface of the grill pan, so that it protrudes from each hole. Don’t worry, all the dough will later be placed in the hole. Add your fillings to the pan: octopus or alternative filling, tenkasu, green onion, and red ginger, in that order.

Flipping the Takoyaki
4) Flipping the Takoyaki

When the edges of the dough are firm, use a pick to section the dough along the holes. The overhanging dough is gathered and pushed into the hole. Don't hesitate to push and push! Peel off the dough by running the pick along the side of the hole and turn the takoyaki 90 degrees first. This will allow the soft dough inside to flow out and create perfect round takoyaki dumplings. Pro Tip: Do not rush this step! Rotate just 90 degrees first, and slowly cook all round.

Checking for Doneness
5) Checking for Doneness

When the dough that has flowed into the pan has hardened, turn the dough 90 degrees again and continue baking. After that, the dough should be turned around and around to form a beautiful sphere.

Adding Toppings
6) Adding Toppings

When all the pieces are browned and slightly charred, put them on a plate and add toppings such as sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes and aonori (and more green onions if you like!). Voila! You've got yourself a tasty takoyaki dish but be careful as it will be very hot!

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