takoyaki [たこ焼き]

By September 07, 2014

If you have ever been to Asia or a Japanese eatery, you'll probably have come across these morsels of batter, tempura bits, and octopus, smothered in a delightful blend of Japanese condiments. 

One of my best memories of Hong Kong was picking up a dozen of these from a small street shop tucked behind a mall. As the rain poured down, my friend and I took our dinner to an empty parking lot, rested it on the ledge and sank our teeth into them, making a mess of ourselves and place we were sitting in. Chatting away, him and I rapidly devoured every last bite, moping up the sauce along with it. As thelondoner would describe it; a simple and deliciously filthy meal. 

Sometimes, the best meals don't come with fancy white cloths and silver tableware. 

 To re-create that wonderful meal, I cheated a bit. Twice actually.

I'm a bit of a snooze when it comes to baking and cooking sometimes. I have a (really) soft spot for pre-mixed ingredients. Takoyaki mix happens to be one of them. Unfortunately, I had ran out earlier this month and only had okonomiyaki mix on hand, practically the same and good enough for me.

The instructions told me to add 100g of flour mix with 120cc water and 1 large egg. I don't have a kitchen scale, so I eyed the ingredients.

You want to make sure the batter has a runny consistency so that it can properly fill the pan.

The type of water you use probably won't make that much of a difference. I prefer using carbonated water when I'm baking just because the carbon dioxide gives my baked goods a fluffier texture.

When the batter is beginning to come together, I start heating up my takoyaki pan. You can get a similar one here.

Make sure your pan is well oiled so that the takoyaki balls don't stick to it.

Fill the holes halfway before dropping in your ingredients. I did my own version of takoyaki and stuffed the middle with minced garlic, minced shrimp, octopus, panko bread crumbs, and benishoga (pickled red ginger). The more filling the better.

Once your ingredients have been evenly distributed, top the pan off with the remainder of the batter.

Using two skewers or metal forks, turn the takoyaki so that they cook evenly on all sides.

Assembling all my condiments, I grabbed kewpie mayo, okonomi sauce (cheating again), sesame seeds and aonori.

I let the takoyaki balls cook for 3 more minutes on low heat before plating them and smothering them with my sauces. Topped off with bonito flakes for that smoky flavor and because it's rather amusing to watch them move around.

I passed this plate around and they disappeared so quickly that I barely finished my first one before they were all gone. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, little japan mama  has a wonderful recipe for these from scratch.

Light pillows of warmth on those chilly rainy days to share with a friend or devour all by yourself.


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