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Posted on Jun 27, 2007 in Dumplings or Buns, Equipment, Fish or Seafood, Lactose Free, Recipe, Tutorial or How-to | 77 comments

Tutorial: Making takoyaki

Tutorial: Making takoyaki

Takoyaki

Having lived in Osaka for years, I miss classic Kansai street food like takoyaki (octopus balls), but buying them frozen in a bag just isn’t the same. So last year I bit the bullet and bought a takoyaki griddle so I can have the real thing at home in San Francisco. Making takoyaki at home is something of a recent trend in Japan, and the last time I was there I saw gas and electric tabletop takoyaki griddles, instant mix for the batter, and the Japanese friend I stayed with made us all takoyaki for dinner one night. Her tips on technique (and notes from Japanese cookbook “Okonomiyaki Takoyaki Monjayaki“) gave me the courage to try it myself; I hope you’ll be similarly encouraged by this tutorial if you’ve got access to the ingredients. Thanks, Saito-san! (You can freeze these and pull them out one at a time to pack in a lunch like this.)

Takoyaki tutorial
Full takoyaki tutorial follows…

Making Takoyaki (Octopus Balls)

(for 3 small servings or 1.5 regular servings)

For a technique demonstration, check out the takoyaki-making videos at www.takoyaki.org and YouTube. Takoyaki.org also has a forum with all kinds of discussions about takoyaki and a takoyaki sauce recipe (all takoyaki, all the time!). Electric tabletop pans are available at a premium on eBay (watch the voltage!), but the cast-iron pans that work well on gas burners are more widely available. In the San Francisco area, I’ve seen them at Daiso and Kamei (see my local shopping guide), and of course you can get them through Amazon as well.

Batter:

  • 4/5 cup (100g) prepackaged takoyaki mix. If unavailable, substitute a scant 4/5 cup (90g) flour, 1 tsp (5g) instant hondashi granules (bonito stock), 3/4 tsp (3g) grated “nagaimo” mountain yam (optional, but fabulous for tender texture), and 1/4 tsp (1g) baking powder
  • 340cc cold water (a scant 1 & 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large egg

For the filling:

  • 1/4 lb (120g) cooked octopus (Japanese prefer the tentacles), cut into 1/2″ or bite-sized dice (NOTE: If you like, you can substitute other things for the octopus such as cheese, chicken, pork, squid, anko — bean paste, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup (18g) tenkasu (crunchy fried tempura batter bits — if unavailable, use Rice Krispies)
  • 1 Tb (6g) beni shoga (red pickled ginger), chopped
  • one half green onion, chopped (a.k.a. scallion, spring onion)

For the topping:

  • takoyaki sauce (or substitute okonomiyaki sauce, yakisoba sauce, or even tonkatsu sauce)
  • aonori (seaweed flakes)
  • katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
  • mayonnaise (Optional: I like Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise, but any standard mayo in a squeeze bottle will work.)
  1. Make the batter by whisking together the mix and water well, then beating in the egg. (If not using a mix, grate the nagaimo on the finest holes of a box grater, combine with the water, flour, hondashi and baking powder.) Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the tenkasu, benishoga and green onion. Keep octopus at hand.
  3. If using a nonstick takoyaki pan, heat the pan first, then oil the surface with cooking oil spray, an oil brush or a folded paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. (If using cast iron, oil the pan first, then heat over medium heat.) Follow the steps in the tutorial below to cook. These can be flash-frozen on a metal pan in the freezer, then transferred to a plastic freezer bag for longer-term storage.
Electric takoyaki pan An electric tabletop takoyaki griddle with nonstick coating. You can also make these with a cast iron takoyaki pan pan on your gas stove (over medium heat). Cast iron pans are often sold with little brushes for oiling the little cups, but a cooking oil spray like Pam works well too. I’m hoping that this pan will also work for Thai kanom krok or Danish aebelskiver pancakes.
Takoyaki sauce and mix Takoyaki sauce (Hiroshima’s Otafuku brand shown) and takoyaki mix (Nissn brand, note the drawing of Osaka’s famous Tsutenkaku tower on the package — near my old neighborhood of Shitennoji!) — just add water and egg. If you can’t find takoyaki sauce, you can also use okonomiyaki sauce, yakisoba sauce, or even tonkatsu sauce .
Takoyaki batter on griddle First, pour the prepared batter to fill the griddle halfway up. Add a cube of octopus to each little cup, then sprinkle the mixture of tenkasu, ginger and green onions liberally over the top. Pour more batter over the griddle until it lightly floods the remaining surface.
Takoyaki rolling on electric pan Let the takoyaki cook for a few minutes until the bottom has started to harden. Trying to turn them when the bottoms are still soft will damage the appearance and texture of the takoyaki! Before turning, drag a wooden or bamboo skewer (or metal skewer if using a cast iron pan) between the little molds in a grid pattern to cut/separate the batter on the surface of the pan. Pierce the bottom-front of the takoyaki (the 4 o’clock position) with the skewer and use a circular scooping motion to roughly flip the half-ball over, so that the uncooked batter flows out into the mold to form a ball. Tuck remaining batter bits into the ball with the skewer.
Takoyaki on electric griddle When you first turn them, they won’t be perfectly round. Don’t worry, just continue to flip them around in the little cups with a skewer as they cook and they’ll take shape. You can see that the first ones I turned on the left are rounder and browner as I flip them. I like to let them crisp up before taking them out to eat.
Sauced takoyaki When they’re done, they should be a little crispy on the outside and have a hollow sound when tapped. Put some on your plate and top with takoyaki sauce, katsuobushi (bonito flakes ) and aonori (seaweed flakes). I like them Osaka-style with a little Kewpie mayonnaise as well, but that’s personal preference. Watch out! They’ll be hot!



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  1. Oh brings back osaka for sure :). My friends used to take me to this place – a restaurant in the mall under Osaka station but I could never break free from the memory of those suction cups.
    A takoyaki-pan, however, is great for making meatballs in ;).

    • Natsukashii, huh? I’ll have to try the meatball trick!

  2. Wow! This is totally similar to the the danish Aebleskiver pan… They make great pancakey type things – http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Aebleskiver/Detail.aspx although we use blueberries and raspberries in our house… I am so excited to be able to use the pan for something else! Thank you for an always wonderful blog!!!!

    • I was trying to remember the name of those Danish things — thanks!!! I’m thinking I can also use the pan for kanom krok — excellent Thai street food of little coconut custard half-moons with green onions or other things in them. I haven’t had those in years, but I did pick up a mix for them in an Asian market — but never did anything with it because NO PAN! Description of kanom krok is here at my favorite Thai cookbook author’s website: http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/features/vendkk.html

  3. I’ve never had these before, but they sound so good. How hard to you think it would be to make these gluten-free? What is the correct texture?

    • Callista, the two things you’d have to alter would be the mix for the batter and the takoyaki sauce. Hondashi, katsuobushi, basic aonori and Kewpie mayo are already gluten-free (I checked when we were eating GF, and posted an update on the Delphi Forums board), so no worries there. I’d try substituting Bette Hagman’s Featherlight Flour Mix for the wheat flour, and making your own GF takoyaki sauce based on the recipe at takoyaki.org. I think the texture should turn out fine — the recipe for kanom krok (Thai coconut pancakes) calls for rice flour, and they’re not all that dissimilar in texture.

  4. Biggie, zettai ni :).
    (my Japanese being awfully rusty).

  5. this is going to sound so weird, but do you think the crunchy bits you can get at long john silver’s would work instead of the rice krispies?

  6. I think that’d be perfect — it’s essentially tenkasu (the leftover crunchy bits from tempura). Its function is to lighten up the balls, keep them from being too dense, and provide a little texture. The crunchy bits from Long John Silvers would do the same thing.

  7. oo thanks for this tutorial!! i’ll have to try that once i move out and can get my own stuff!

  8. Yum! I had these at a flea market in Kyoto and they were delish! I once owned an electric donut holes maker, and i think they would be good in making takoyaki. But too bad i already gave it away to someone…if i had known it earlier that it’s not only for donuts!

  9. @11 from Tala:
    Good luck to you in your big move!

  10. @12 from Jenny:
    Ooh, an electric donut hole maker is intriguing for takoyaki!!! I’ll have to do a Google search on it — could be a great Maguyver equipment solution!

  11. You know I was sitting here watching TV and they had an quick infomercial about a pancake pan that looked the same and it instantly reminded me of Takoyaki! so I started shopping around and found the pans on amazon and placed my order!! I hope to be snacking on them soon!

  12. @15 from Darkbluexplorer:
    Ooh! I’d be really interested in hearing how that works for you! Any further info you can give us about the pan would be really helpful. Looking forward to your experiments!!

  13. Hi, love your blog. What is the texture of takoyaki supposed to be like? It is a dry dough-like ball or is it supposed to be chewy, sticky, soft? I made some and thought they were too dry (I’ve never had them before so don’t know what the texture is supposed to be). Also, I have a recipe for Kanom Krok posted here: http://www.recipezaar.com/239291.

  14. I’ve always wanted to make this but I cannot find it in Honolulu. I want to use the electric pan that will work in the US/ Tell me a website where I can buy ine. Please help. I am dying to try the recipes!!! Aloha from hawaii!

  15. @19 from Armando Hawaii:
    I’m sorry I can’t be more help to you Armando, but I just got mine on eBay from Japan last year and paid for the international shipping (ugh). If you find a good source for the electric griddles, be sure to let us know! In the meantime, the regular pans work very well with gas stoves or one of those tabletop gas burners (like we use for hotpot)…

  16. i ordered online too from ebay.

    i highly recommend this vendor if you can’t find it in your area. however the shipping is $$$ cuz its stright from the japan. shipping was fast. i got it w/in 14 days! im now enjoying homemade takoyaki!!

  17. Oooh. This is the best recipie I’ve found so far … do you ahve a version of this page that I can print out for the kitchen (laptop and kitchen do not mix. Ask me how I know this …)

  18. @23 from Lady Sephiroth:
    I just added a Print icon at the end of all posts that’ll generate a printer-friendly version, and cleaned up the code on this tutorial a little. Thanks for being patient with me! (Let me know if this doesn’t work for you and I’ll look into it.)

  19. Spiffy! It worked! Thank you!

  20. Has anyone tried using aebleskiver pan to make takoyaki? I’m thinking of getting one to make takoyaki because it’s cheaper to get aebleskiver pan here.

  21. Hi! Love your blog! It has gotten me excited about bringing lunch to work again.

    There is a pan like this on the Williams-Sonoma website. Also on the website there are recipes for “Stuffed Pancakes”. (Cherry, chocolate, or spiced apple filling.) The recipes are free. Perhaps a new use for your takoyaki pan? http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/recipedetail.cfm?objectid=29247BE8%2D7EEC%2D41FA%2D90DB4E95107BA0FF

    Also, at Bed, Bath, and Beyond they carry a Cuisinart egg cooker. I love it! (Thought you might be interested since you make a lot of hard boiled eggs.) http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=13166064

    I am not meaning to advertise for WS, BBB, or Cuisinart, but I do like my cooking gadgets.

    I also can not thank you enough for introducing me to Ichiban Kan. I’ve been to the El Cerrito one now twice and love it! The first time I went my boyfriend was even interested enough to pick out and buy bear and cat jello molds!

    Cheers!

  22. I don’t cook much, but I love reading this site. Was watching foodnetwork and saw a commercial for what looks like an ebelskiver pan: pancakepuffs.com
    The price is great, but you can only make seven at a time.

  23. @30 from Jen: I’ve seen those Pancake Puff pan advertisements as well — they certainly look like they’d get the job done. Seven is a little small, though, as you say. Thank you for the kind words!

  24. I bought the pan from WS for brunch party. The pancakes look like they are going to be big, maybe slightly smaller than a tennis ball. I would imagine that most people will only eat two.

  25. @32 from Emily: Hmm, good to know. I think takoyaki the size of a small tennis ball would be unbalanced with too much batter — yuck. Any feedback from people who’ve used it for takoyaki is welcome, though…

  26. Hi Biggie, the electric takoyaki pan(red color) that you’re using above…is it a non-stick pan? I found one selling at ebay and was wondering how good is this pan.

  27. @34 from Che-Cheh: Yes, the electric takoyaki pan is nonstick. I’ve had no problems with it, but you need to wash it carefully by hand as it can’t be immersed in water.

  28. @36 from H: Have you tried the Pancake Puff pans yourself with takoyaki? I think some of us are concerned about the size of the “puffs” this pan makes — way larger than the bite-sized takoyaki. I’m curious to hear if anyone’s tried it out. Thanks for the link, though!

  29. Hi Biggie,

    I tried making takoyaki using my Danish pancake puff cast iron pan but the yude tako dried up and got really chewy. What kind of tako to you buy and from where? I’m also in the Bay Area…

    Thanks!

  30. Hi Everyone,

    Sorry to post twice like this but I didn’t read carefully until now.

    I actually have the exact pan that H mentioned and it works great for making ball-shaped taiyaki (which they sell in Taiwan and Hong Hong). The takoyaki is slightly bigger than bite-size but can be eaten in one bite except that when it’s hot, you have to be careful not to burn yourself…Hope this helps!

  31. @38/39 from JenJapan: I’ve bought boiled octopus tentacles from Nijiya (Japantown) and Sunset Supermarket (on Irving, in the Sunset). The stuff I got from Nijiya was more expensive but a little more tender. Once I chopped it up and cooked it into the takoyaki there wasn’t so much difference. I do wonder if the larger size of the Danish pancake puff pan would mean that you’re cooking the takoyaki a lot longer, leading to the toughness problem. How long does it take you to cook takoyaki in that pan?

  32. Biggie,

    Thanks for answering my questions about places to get yude tako. I think you’re right, we were cooking the takoyaki too long. We made them again today using higher temperature and shorter cooking time and the tako was a lot softer. Also, we increased the amount of add-ins and used less batter so they didn’t need to cook as long.

  33. Yum yum, that looks good. I’m just wondering if a danish pancake hole-y thingie would work making takoyaki for only one/two people…

  34. Hi Biggie! I just purchased the same electric Takoyaki pan on ebay and was wondering if you need to use any sort of voltage converter?

    I know Japan is 100V and US is 120V…

    I’m soooo excited to try this recipe! I’ve been craving Takoyaki since may last visit to Osaka a year ago!

  35. @45 from christine m: I don’t use a step-down converter for my takoyaki pan and it’s fine. If anything, it might run a little hot, which I like for the takoyaki.

  36. @47 from christine m.: Hey christine, those look GREAT! Your photo doesn’t show the half-sphere aspect at all. The big question is how did they taste?

  37. can i use the waffle makers instead of the takoyaki griddle?

  38. @51 from gildz: Hmm, I think a waffle maker could be problematic as you’d end up with something flat. But it would definitely contain the runny batter! If you wind up trying it out I’d love to hear from you with feedback. Good luck!

  39. Hi Biggie!

    Got the technique down after having a takoyaki date with one of my friends and her daughter.

    I definitely wasn’t flipping fast enough during my first attempt, so it was helpful to have another set of hands to help flip/turn.

    We had a lot of fun! Thank you again :D

    http://flickr.com/photos/sweetsn26treats/2537682190/

  40. @53 from christine m.: It is fun to make takoyaki at the table with other people, isn’t it? Very social and amusing to compare everyone’s attempts.

  41. omaido biggie_san… i like takoyaki so much.thx 4 posting the recipe so i can make takoyaki by myself. takoyaki ga suki ya nen! domo arigatou ne~!

  42. Hey biggie!!

    i’ve never had takoyaki but it looks so good that im gonna try.
    Just one question- is it using the dry hondashi? cuz other places i’ve seen use the broth does it make a difference?

  43. @56 from DA: I happened to use the dry hondashi reconstituted with water, but you can use homemade if you like — same difference if you’re just cooking with it.

  44. Hello Biggie! I visit your site often. Thanks for the wonderful bento tips! I make bento for myself and my two brothers who go to work.

    I’d like to ask if it’s possible to use a takoyaki grill on an electric stove? Or will it not heat up right?

    I’m buying a stove top one because it’s cheaper than the electric takoyaki plate.

    Thanks! ^_^

  45. @61 from Kai: The cast-iron takoyaki grills are really meant to be used on a gas grill. I haven’t tried it out on an electric stove, but I’m dubious — I suspect there will be spots that will be too-cool. If you wind up trying it on an electric burner, let me know how it goes! You could also pick up a cheap tabletop gas burner (portable — less than $20) that could do double-duty for hotpot meals or Korean barbecue…

  46. My mother ruined a very expensive Le Cruset enamel Dutch oven by using it on an electric stove.
    The heat is just too uneven.

    A pair of hot spots caused the enamel to craze and then flake out.

    Gas stoves are better for almost any specialty cookware.

    Does anyone know if Ikea has those little abelwhatsits?

  47. Yeah, it takes quite a while to heat up using an electric stove and it’s a bit uneven–although that’s probably because I’m using one with 24 holes. The gas burner is waaaay better and, in hindsight, costs less to use in terms of energy.

    Thanks Biggie!

  48. Takoyaki!!!! I fell in love with these in Osaka. I even bought the plush Takoyaki doll charm to bring back to Atlanta.I saw one of those donut maker ball sets in the local drugstore. You know, I’m really tempted. Thanks for your flickr and blog. Looking at little happy colorful stuff makes me elated…

  49. Oh you mentioned taiyaki!! speaking of taikyaki, do you know where in SF i can buy a fish shaped taiyaki pan/mold?

  50. @66 from Linda: I believe I’ve seen the fish-shaped taiyaki pans at both Kamei (on Clement Street) and Daiso (Daly City, although I could be wrong). Best to call each of them before you get in the car, though!

  51. Thanks for letting me know!! haha I don’t own a car so it’s okay, no gas spent :P

  52. Hi Biggie,

    I saw the same takoyaki pan on ebay and would like to buy but would like some advice on ingredients before buying.
    Both my son and daughter have an egg, wheat and milk allergy. I can replace the wheat with wheat free flour but do you have any advice on what I can use to replace the egg?

  53. Might be a stupid question – but have you ever tried the griddle to make meatballs? I’m still looking for a technique to get round meatballs instead of pancake-shaped ones. If I could combine them with takoyaki, a griddle would be a gread investment :)

  54. @69 from Jo: Golly, Jo, I’m not sure I have good advice for you on what to substitute for egg in takoyaki. How do you usually compensate for the rising in other egg-free cooking?

  55. @70 from Darina: Hmm, I haven’t actually tried using the takoyaki pan to make meatballs. It’s an interesting idea, though! Theoretically I don’t see why it wouldn’t work…

  56. My kids diet are mainly based on rice as we are chinese. I’ve thought about using egg replacer but I think that only works with cakes.

  57. i always wanted to know how to make them! one i ate in a anime convetion and i love it!

  58. Thanks for the recipe and tutorial! I just got the pan, so I can’t wait to make them.

    I tried using nagaimo (in another recipe) the other day. But as soon as I had peeled the skin away, my hands started getting itchy and became red. It seems that I am allergic to nagaimo. Have you heard of anyone else having this reaction? Thanks!

  59. I really miss Japanese foods and you have awesome recipes! Do you know how to make okonomiyaki (I think that’s how it’s spelled in English) at home?

  60. Hi Biggie,

    Can u advise whts the brand of ur electric takoyaki mould? Thks!! Thinking of buying one – so tht i can try out ur awesome takoyaki recipe!! Thks!

  61. I bought all the ingredients and I got the batter mix for the takyoaki. My problem is I cant read the directions on the back of it. I can tell it says 100 grams and thats for the mix and 1 egg but the measurements for the water I dont know how to convert. It says 340 cc, what does that convert into?

  62. I found this site for volume/weight conversions in cooking:

    http://www.lemelange.com/conversion_chart.htm

    It looks like 340 cc is a little less than a cup and a half.

    I ran into a similar problem with Korean powdered pancakes.

    Also, Pyrex measuring cups have both styles of measuring on the side, so if you buy one 2 cup measuring cup, you should be covered.

  63. @Kelly / Linden: Actually, cc of water is equivalent to mL, so if you have a dual-unit measure you could measure directly.

    However, the actual conversion is approximately 1.5 cups, not 0.5 cups. :)

  64. Hi biggie! Thanks for the recipe. My 9 year old daughter loves these balls very much. We are from the Philippines and the store where we buy these balls doesn’t use octopus. They use shredded cabbage but they’re really delicious. Can’t wait to try your recipe. I still have to buy the takoyaki pans and the other ingredients,but I would substitute cabbage for the octopus. Wish me luck.

  65. i was considering making these and putting them in my bento box. would these be good if eaten cold or re-heated?

  66. I recently had some takoyaki at Otafuku (a takoyaki/okonomiyaki/yakisoba joint in NYC) and was really disappointed! I had a bite and I couldn’t stomach another one. The ball was soggy and runny on the inside. I was wondering if you could tell me if that was the right texture because I’d really love to give it another chance! I feel like I’m missing out on something big here!

    Thanks!

  67. Thank you for your wonderful recipe. They came out delicious. I used a pancake puff pan from Target (only $2.48) and it worked out well. I ran out of octopus tentacle and substituted shrimp and it was just as delicious. Thank you again.

  68. Do the takoyaki last or do they have to be eaten right away? Would it be a good idea to make a batch and eat it later?

  69. i want these bad. I found they exist because they were mentioned in some rpg video games I have. but I can get not even half the ingredients

    how was it “invented” the history of this snack/food/meal? like how so many other foods were born. I once made a round fried things with leftover corn and shrimp and threw in some other things.

    one store 25 minutes away has healthy food, and they have the bonito flakes. maybe the broth. otherwise I guess it’s fish and shrimp bullion cubes.

    octopus maybe. like ones in cans are easier to get.

    is there a way to make a Takoyaki inspired FutoMaki? or is that “wrong” or a bad idea?

  70. Hi, I too have recently discovered takoyaki and I am pretty happy with the results. The one thing I have noticed is that once they cool they seem to deflate. Is this normal? I have read that I can freeze them. Can this be done? How do I keep them looking nice and round?
    So many questions…..I know :)

    Lina