6 Delicious Takoyaki Recipes | What it is? Diced Tempura Octopus

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  May 30, 2020

Takoyaki is a Japanese snack made famous for its octopus filling, it’s a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special molded pan.

This Japanese snack is a ball of mixed ingredients that includes the “tako” (octopus, usually diced but could be minced), “tenkasu” (which are scraps of tempura) and you often add some green onions and also pickled ginger to the filling to spice up the flavor.

6 delicious takoyaki recipes

Takoyaki is usually glazed with Worcestershire-like sauce which is just plainly called takoyaki sauce.

It is also brushed with mayonnaise, then it’s sprinkled with something called “aonori” (a type of edible seaweed) as well as shavings of dried bonito.

Known variations of takoyaki include:

But you can get creative and come up with your own version of a takoyaki recipe.

Most Japanese words are a combination of two distinct words fused into one to describe someone or something, in this case, takoyaki.

Takoyaki-is-diced-tempura-octopus

Best Takoyaki Recipes

Since we already know what tako means, let’s look at the word “yaki;” it is derived from the word “yaku” which means to fry or to grill.

Takoyaki is often referred to as “konamono”, which literally just means “flour things”. It falls into the same konamono category as Okonomiyaki and Ikayaki as they are all prepared with a flour batter (called “Kona” in Japanese).

Simple Takoyaki (octopus balls) recipe

Note: You can also buy a prepackaged takoyaki flour at any Asian supermarket in case you’re feeling a bit lazy to cook it the traditional way. All that’s needed to cook is just the eggs and water.
Course Snack
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword Takoyaki
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Joost Nusselder
Cost $10

Equipment

  • Takoyaki pan or maker

Ingredients

Takoyaki batter

  • 10 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 1/4 cups water (1 liter)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp kombu dashi stock you can use granules
  • 1/2 tsp katsuobushi dashi stock you can use granules
  • 2 tsp soy sauce

Filling

  • 15 ounces boiled octopus in cubes or you can use any other type of protein as a filling, although it wouldn't really be takoyaki
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 2 tbsp tempura bits or rice krispies
  • 3 ounces shredded cheese

Toppings

  • 1 bottle Japanese mayonaise add to taste
  • 1 bottle Takoyaki sauce (you can buy it bottled at a lot of the Asian groceries, you can't miss it with the picture of takoyaki on the front)
  • 1 tbsp bonito flakes
  • 1 tbsp Aonori or seaweed strips (Aonori is a type of powdered seaweed)

Instructions

  • Crack the eggs in a small mixing bowl and add the water as well as the stock granules, then beat the mix manually or with an egg beater. Pour the egg-water-stock granules mixture into the flour, then add salt and mix well (with an egg beater or manually) until you’ve successfully created the batter. Turn on the stove and place the takoyaki pan on top of it. Brush the individual half-sphere compartments with oil.
  • Two minutes into heating, pour the takoyaki batter into the concave semi-spherical molds. It’s okay if you accidentally make the batter in the molds spill over the brim as you can just gather them later when you’ll flip the batter over for the other side to be cooked. While you’re cooking the takoyaki in the takoyaki pan add the green onions in each ball, add your protein (your choice of meat), the shredded cheese, and the tempura bits, or use rice Krispies.
  • Two to 3 minutes into cooking the takoyaki, you may now flip it over in order for the other side to cook. Use a bamboo or metal skewer when flipping the ball over in order to not ruin its spherical shape. If you can’t turn the takoyaki easily, it probably needs to cook for a bit longer. Let it sit in the pan for another 60 seconds before flipping it over. The takoyaki balls should be easier to turn over once they’ve cooked through because the batter will no longer stick to the pan.
  • You will know when the takoyaki is done because it will have a light brown crispy texture on the outside and you can flip them easily in their holes as they no longer stick to the pan. The overall cook time is estimated to be 10 minutes per batch from the time you’ve placed them on the stove to the time you’ll take them out.
  • Place the hot takoyaki on a clean plate, then drizzle them with Japanese mayonnaise and takoyaki sauce. Sprinkle them with aonori and bonito flakes as well. Then serve them to your guests.

Chances are, you don’t have all of these ingredients, but I’ve listed them here so you can easily buy them online if you’re missing a couple of them:

Check out all of the authentic ingredients I use in all of my dishes here in my Japanese ingredients list.

And you can, of course, check out my full post on these different takoyaki makers and machines that’ll help you make the balls.

Here are a few more recipe variations for you:

Benishoga Takoyaki with Takoyaki Sauce

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Get a large mixing bowl and whisk flour, eggs, dashi stock, soy sauce, and salt together until it becomes vacuous.
  2. Place the takoyaki pan on the stove and brush it with light oil only in the holes, then heat it up until the oil starts smoking. Spread the oil using a brush thoroughly to coat the holes of the pan. This way, you’ll keep the batter from sticking to the pan. After that, you may now pour the batter into the holes.
  3. While the batter is being cooked, drop the diced octopus meat in each hole, and then drizzle it with the chopped onions as well as the minced ginger throughout the takoyaki pan.
  4. Cook the takoyaki balls for about 1-2 minutes at medium heat and then flip it over using a bamboo or metal skewers (you can also use chopsticks to do this). You may need to watch this YouTube video to learn how to flip the takoyaki properly. Cook the other half of the batter for another 3-4 minutes before transferring them to a clean plate and let cool.
  5. Once cooked, put them on a clean plate and pour the takoyaki sauce over them thoroughly, then add Japanese mayo to taste. To complete the dish and make them ready for serving, sprinkle it with green dried seaweed called “aonori” and dried bonito flakes called “katsuobushi.”

Read more: If you like Japanese food you’ll love these dishes

Tenkasu Takoyaki

someone is making takoyaki with takoyaki pan

 

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Combine water, egg and dashi stock together in a bowl and mix well until frothy.
  2. Get a strainer and sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then pour 1/2 of the water mixture into it.
  3. Whisk the dry flour and water mix thoroughly until they become viscous.
  4. Pour the other half of the water mixture into the mixing bowl with the flour and water mix and blend well.
  5. Use a kitchen brush and brush the takoyaki pan with cooking oil and then start heating it in the stove.
  6. Pour the batter into each hole on the pan and make sure that you fill them halfway to the top and add the pickled ginger, tempura crisps, green onion, and diced octopus into the batter, then add more batter to seal it inside.
  7. Allow the batter to cook for 2-3 minutes before flipping it over and let the other side cook too. Do remember to trim off the excess batter that overflowed when you poured them earlier. You can remix these batter into the next batch of takoyaki when you’ll pour them into the pan holes.
  8. Do not stop flipping the takoyaki every minute or so until they become golden brown in color. The color change will indicate whether or not it is cooked.
  9. When they’re ready, transfer them into a clean plate and coat them with the takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise, then drizzle them with bonito and aonori flakes before serving them to your guests.

Mentaiko Takoyaki

Ingredients

Cooking Directions

  1. Add the takoyaki batter mix, water and egg into a small mixing bowl, then whisk them until they become frothy.
  2. Pre-heat the takoyaki pan and brush them with vegetable oil. Once the pan reaches the right temperature, then pour the batter into the pan holes to cook.
  3. Add the mentaiko and cheese, then pour more batter until it slightly overflows the brim of the pan holes.
  4. Once bottoms have dried, flip each takoyaki over and cook until they are done (they should have a golden-brown color when they cook).
  5. Transfer to serving plates, pour the takoyaki sauce over them and then serve.

Mini Omurice

Ingredients

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine the water, ketchup, milk, and eggs in a small mixing bowl and mix them thoroughly.
  2. Once you’ve made the batter mix, then pour it into the takoyaki molds and start cooking them.
  3. After 2 minutes add the mini sausages, cooked rice, salt, and pepper to the batter in the takoyaki pan.
  4. Pour more batter to cover the added ingredients until it reaches the brim of the pan holes and overflows a bit.
  5. Flip the takoyaki once the bottoms have dried until they get that golden-brownish color (this means they are ready to be eaten).
  6. Once cooked, place the takoyaki balls in a clean dry serving plate, pour the takoyaki sauce and then serve.

Chocolate Banana Castella

Ingredients

Cooking Directions

  1. In order to make this version of takoyaki, combine wet ingredients together and pour them into takoyaki molds.
  2. Cook the takoyaki balls in the takoyaki pan and add in the solid ingredients (i.e. chocolate and dried raspberry flakes).
  3. Flip the takoyaki balls over once the bottom half is cooked and dried to allow for the other half to cook also.
  4. Transfer to serving plates and serve with sauce.

Matcha Adzuki Cake

Ingredients

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine water, pancake mix, milk, egg, and matcha powder and mix them thoroughly.
  2. Heat up the takoyaki pan and brush the holes with oil, then pour the batter mix and allow takoyaki to cook.
  3. Add the shiratama, Anko and white chocolate, then pour some more batter up to the brim of the pan holes.
  4. Don’t forget to flip each takoyaki ball, because you have to ensure that all of its sides are properly cooked with a crispy golden-brown texture.
  5. Once they’re cooked, then put them in a clean serving plate, pour the takoyaki sauce and then serve.

History of Takoyaki

What is takoyaki

A man by the name of Tomekichi Endo invented the takoyaki and popularized it in Osaka in 1935. He is a street vendor but was quite the smart cook for his time.

The takoyaki konamono derived from akashiyaki, which is a small spherical dumpling (made of an egg-rich batter and octopus) that originated from Akashi City in Hyōgo Prefecture.

With a new taste hitting the streets of Akashi City, so too its popularity started spreading across various regions which included Kansai, Kanto as well as the rest of the country as time went on.

It is believed that the first takoyaki snacks were introduced among the yatai street food stalls, which later evolved into takoyaki specialty restaurants, which are widespread across the Kansai region.

Today takoyaki has gained so much notoriety that it has become a household name in Japan and is also sold at commercial outlets like 24-hour convenience stores and supermarkets.

The takoyaki dish is also very popular in Taiwan as historically the island nation is a common trading partner of Japan since ancient times and has borrowed some Japanese cuisines and adopted it into their culture such as the takoyaki.

The oldest known takoyaki store is Aizuya in Osaka and was founded by the cuisine’s inventor himself, Tomakichi Endo in the 1930s. The store has remained operational to this day.

Before the takoyaki became famous for its octopus meat as one of its base ingredients, Endo first experimented with beef and konjac and improved the flavorings for the batter too!

Nicknamed as the “octopus balls”, the takoyaki was first known by that name before it was called takoyaki today, and it became widespread across Japan as it was among the favorite in the street food stalls dipped in brown sauce.

Takoyaki-balls-Japanese-streetfood

Takoyaki Pan

You cannot cook takoyaki octopus balls without using a takoyaki specialized pan.

Get your quick start in enjoying Japanese cuisine here with our top recommended tools

The takoyaki pan, or its other nickname – takoyaki-nabe, is a cast iron griddle that’s dotted with indented half-spherical molds. [read my full Takoyaki pan reviews here]

The unique iron griddle heats up the takoyaki evenly until the bottom half-spherical side of it is cooked, then it is turned over using a toothpick or the larger bamboo skewer to let the uncooked batter get cooked in the base of the rounded cavity.

LNG or LPG tanks are used as fuel to cook the takoyaki during open-air Japanese festivals by restaurants, street vendors or individuals.

You can also get smaller electric versions that look a bit like a hotplate to use at home, and you even have some smaller cast iron makers for your stovetop.

Because takoyaki is a fairly easy recipe to cook and is quite the popular street food in Japan, so many households in Japan own a takoyaki pan.

It’s also the reason why the production and sale of this particular kitchen item are common in Japanese stores and supermarkets; however, they may not be as popular outside of Japan.

Online stores like Amazon do sell takoyaki pans, but if Amazon does not deliver to your country, or you can’t find it in your local store, then you can use the Dutch pancake pan as a replacement.

The 2 pans are very similar to each other with the exception that the Dutch pancake pan has shallower rounded concave indentions than the Japanese takoyaki pan, but they do the job nevertheless.

What Else is in Takoyaki Apart from Octopus?

The takoyaki batter is specially made with a mixture that includes flour, egg and dashi stock, which is already delicious in and on itself.

On top of that, it is also mixed with cooked and diced octopus (or other meats and seafood like beef steak, shrimp, salmon, etc. depending on the creativity of the chef he’ll use the type of meat in order to accentuate the takoyaki’s flavor).

Often, some diced scallions or green onions are also added and tenkasu tempura bits and some pickled ginger to add to the flavor.

Okay, at this point you’re probably wondering what a tenkasu is, but you don’t need to Google it as it is simply the crunchy bits of deep-fried batter debris from cooking the tempura.

How amazing is that?! Using remains from another food as a flavoring/topping for a different recipe. You can only find it in Japan!

Adding tenkasu enhances the flavor of the takoyaki as it gives off a piquant flavor or smell.

In order to add more color to the takoyaki red pickled ginger is added, which gives off a refreshing taste each time you bite into the octopus balls.

Other Tools and Skills You Need to Make Takoyaki

In case you haven’t seen how takoyaki is cooked, then you may want to watch this How To Make Takoyaki (Recipe) on YouTube:

 

You don’t necessarily need the skills of a world-class chef to be able to cook the takoyaki; however, certain skill and practice are required.

The one thing that you’ll need to remember when cooking the takoyaki is how to flip the batter correctly.

This is because when it is done in the wrong way, then the batter could get a different shape other than a sphere and you’ll ruin the takoyaki all together.

It’s a tricky business as the batter could split open and the uncooked part of it might end up all over the pan instead of the mold, so must have the finesse of a chef to flip the batter over and perfectly put it where it belongs.

A bamboo or a small metal skewer should do the trick, although you may still have to use your hands to aid in flipping the takoyaki over successfully.

Sauce and Toppings for Takoyaki

Eating takoyaki won’t be complete without its dipping sauce also called takoyaki sauce.

It is similar to the okonomiyaki soy-based sauce that takes the already flavorful takoyaki to new heights.

The sauce is made from Worcestershire sauce (usutah so-su), mentsuyu (noodle soup base), ketchup and sugar mix that gives off a sweet fruity flavor to the bite, although not as strong as the okonomiyaki sauce.

The takoyaki sauce is also dressed with Japanese mayonnaise as well as drizzled with seaweed and bonito flakes.

They are all readily available in Japan and in most Asian or Japanese grocery stores.

Get your quick start in enjoying Japanese cuisine here with our top recommended tools

Takoyaki on its own is already a delicious dish; however, you would not enjoy the best of its taste without the sauce and toppings.

How-to-make-crispy-Takoyaki-tempura

Read more: recipes you can make with different kinds of Japanese noodles

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.