Takoyaki: Fried Japanese Octopus Balls

2015 has turned out to be a very Japan-centric year.  In edition to enrolling in a sushi course (starting next week), we took advantage of a seat sale to visit Tokyo in July.  The quality and variety of food in Tokyo was mind blowing.  One of the dishes that we tried was takoyaki: balls of fried batter, crispy on the outside and gooey in the centre, filled with octopus chunks and other seasonings.

I came across a takoyaki mold on Amazon and couldn’t help myself, I had to order it and take a shot at making them.

The batter recipe was from Japanese Soul Cooking by Tadashi Ono.

The octopus needs to be cooked first.

Octopus Washing

The octopus is washed and prepared.

Octopus Cutting Octopus Beak Octupus Beak Removed

The head, ink sac (in the lower part of the head) and the beak are removed.

Octopus Braising Liquid Octpous Tentacles

The octopus (with or without the head) is then simmered or boiled for 30 – 90 minutes (until tender when poked with the end of a knife).  I made a Japanese inspired poaching liquid with water, sake, mirin, sliced ginger, garlic and onion.  If you dip the legs in first, they will curl up into a nice spiral.  Make sure the octopus is submerged while cooking.

Yamaimo Yamaimo Peeled

Yamaimo Slime Yamaimo Grating

Yamaimo (also known as mountain yam or the rather descriptive slimy potato) is peeled and grated to form a mucilaginous paste.  Flour, dashi, eggs and the grated yamaimo are whisked together to make the batter (not shown).

Takoyaki Add OctopuscTakoyaki Add Scallions

The heated takoyaki mold is wiped with sesame oil and the batter is poured in.  A few pieces of octopus are added to each pod and other flavourings (scallions, picked ginger, etc.) is sprinkled over the top.

Takoyaki Turning 1 Takoyaki Turning 2

The real fun in takoyaki is the cooking.  The balls are formed by pushing the batter that overflows around the edges of the round depressions into the centre as you intermittently rotate the partially cooked dough around.

Takoyaki Finishing 1 Takoyaki Complete

Douse in takoyaki (aka okonomiyaki) sauce, nori powder and enjoy!  The balls were quite good but a little too solid in the centre.  Next time, the balls will be flipped much faster.

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