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Takoyaki (octopus balls) are usually served at street stands. To make at home, it will help if you have a takoyaki grill, or a similar device with 2-inch-diameter cups (try mini-muffin tins, but this is a tough recipe, better to find a stand).


Recipe 1

This recipe yields 50 to 60 pieces for 4 to 5 servings.

1/2 lb chopped boiled octopus
Cooking oil
Pickled ginger (benishoga) to taste
Chopped negi (or scallions) to taste
Tenkasu (or rice crispies) to taste

2 cups water
1 piece kelp (konbu), 4" square (try nori, roasted seaweed)
1/2 oz powdered katsuo-bushi (shaved dried bonito)
5/8 cup flour
2 eggs

commercial takoyaki sauce or Worcestershire sauce (not as good)

Batter: Clean the konbu by wiping it lightly with a cloth. Cut the konbu into 3/4- to 7/8-inch-wide partial strips against the grain, but don't cut all the way to the edge.
Add the water and konbu to a pot, and cook uncovered over a slow fire. Just before the water starts to boil, remove the konbu from the pot. The liquid should be a light yellowish or greenish color.
Add shaved katsuobushi to the water as it starts to boil. After the liquid has been boiling a minute or two, turn off the heat. Quickly remove the shaved katsuobushi from the liquid with a filter or strainer or cloth. Try to remove the katsuobushi while its still floating on the surface, before it has a chance to sink. Allow the liquid to cool, then add the liquid, flour and eggs to a bowl and mix.

Takoyaki: Make a small test batch of 4 or 5 takoyaki at first, to check the consistency of the batter. Add more flour or water as needed. Oil the takoyaki pan. Add pieces of chopped octopus to each cup. Pour in the batter. Add benishoga, negi and tenkasu to taste. Cook the takoyaki pieces until they achieve the desired degree of firmness, turning them over frequently. Remove from the pan and serve with sauce and/or mayonnaise.

Adapted from Octopus_Balls


Recipe 2

1 cup flour
2 1/2 cup dashi soup
2 eggs
1/2 lb. boiled octopus chunks
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup dried sakura ebi (red shrimp)
1/4 cup chopped pickled red ginger
*For topping: bonito flakes, aonori (green dried seaweed), worcestershire sauce or takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise

Mix flour, dashi soup, and eggs in a bowl to make batter. Thickness of the batter should be like potato soup. Put oil inside cups of a takoyaki grill pan. Pour batter in the cups to the full.
Add chopped octopus, red ginger, and green onion in each hole. Grill takoyaki balls, turning with a pick. When takoyaki become rounds and brown, remove them from the pan and place in a plate. Put sauce and mayonnaise on takoyaki and sprinkle bonito flakes and aonori on the top.

Our simple version:
Mix 1 cup of flour, 2 cups of dashi soup (made from instant) and 2 eggs. Adjust thickness with more dashi soup. Should be like very thick pancake batter. Mix boiled and chopped octopus pieces with scallions and boiled and chopped dried shrimp pieces. If you don't have a special grill, just make them like pancakes. Heat a pan with oil, add the batter, then the octopus mix, or just mix everything together and pour. Cook a minute or two on one side at medium heat then flip to the other.

We saw this being made at a little hole in the wall Japanese take out place in New York City. We have never seen this on a menu in a Japanese restaurant. The grill is like rows of hemispheres and shake every so often to rotate the balls while cooking. They balls are also loosened by hand and rotated. They taste like something between pancakes and creampuffs. They're good as is without the sauces.