How to make takoyaki with fish: A delicious cod ball recipe
Takoyaki is a Japanese street food dish that originated in Osaka.
This Japanese street snack consists of round dumplings filled with pieces of octopus. However, they can be made with a range of alternatives. So these round dumplings are sure to delight your guests!
The word “tako-yaki” translates to “grilled or fried octopus”, but they’re also known as octopus balls or octopus dumplings.
Takoyaki is often served with a salty sauce and pairs well with beer!
In this post we'll cover:
What is the best fish to use for takoyaki?
Normally, you’d use octopus. But I’m guessing you don’t like octopus if you’re looking for a substitute. O maybe you just want to try something new!
The best fish to use for takoyaki is a firm white fish, like cod. Cod is perfect for takoyaki since it becomes flaky and firm when cooked and will keep its consistency within the takoyaki ball so you can easily take a bite.
Other fish to consider include coley, pollock, haddock, hake, halibut, and mahi-mahi.
Takoyaki cod ball recipe with white fish
- ¼ cup katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
- 2 spring onions
- 1 tbsp beni shoga or kizami beni shoga (pickled ginger)
- 4 oz cooked cod
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup tenkasu (tempura)
- 1 cup plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1½ cups dashi (Japanese stock)
- ½ cup takoyaki sauce
- Japanese mayonnaise
- katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
- aonori (dried seaweed)
- Place 1/4 cup of katsuobushi into a bowl and grind it into a fine powder.
- Thinly slice the spring onions and chop up 1 tbsp of pickled ginger.
- Cut the cod into small pieces. If cooked properly, they'll fall apart into nice flakes.
- (If you do not wish to make your dashi batter from scratch, you can find takoyaki mix in most Japanese grocery shops and online)
- Add 1 cup plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt into a mixing bowl and whisk until combined.
- Add 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 1/2 cups dashi, and 2 large eggs to the dry mixture.
- Whisk until combined and transfer into a jug with a handle and easy-pour spout.
- Heat a takoyaki pan over medium heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a brush to generously coat the pan with oil, making sure to oil the holes and flat areas.
- When the pan starts to smoke, pour the batter into the holes. Don't worry if it slightly overflows.
- Add a few fish pieces to each hole and sprinkle the ground powder katsuobushi on top.
- Sprinkle with tenkasu, pickled ginger, and green onion.
- After 3 minutes, the bottom of the dumplings will slightly harden. Break the batter between each ball with a skewer, then turn each by 90 degrees and push in the edges as you turn it. The batter will flow out from the inside and create the other side of the ball.
- Set a timer for 4 minutes and keep turning constantly.
- Put the takoyaki balls onto a platter and serve with takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise. Sprinkle with katsuobushi and dried seaweed.
- Serve immediately.
Also check out these more traditional takoyaki recipes with octopus
Tips for the best takoyaki
If you want to ensure your takoyaki are the best, follow these tips when cooking.
Use enough oil
When cooking your takoyaki, make sure to use enough oil. Be generous with the oil when you’re greasing the pan by placing at least 5mm of oil in every hole. This will ensure the takoyaki does not stick to the pan. It’ll also make it easier to flip them over and give them a lovely crispy texture.
Pour batter generously
When the pan starts to smoke, it’s time to fill the pan with batter. If it begins to overflow, don’t worry. Make sure to add enough batter so that when you add the ingredients, the whole pan is covered with batter.
If you decide to use bigger pieces of fish, less batter is necessary. Try to just cover the holes, as they’ll naturally overflow when the pieces are added.
Take care to rotate the balls
One of the most important steps in the process is breaking the batter around each ball and rotating each ball by 90 degrees. Allow the uncooked batter to flow out of the hole and then push the extra back inside the balls to create the perfect shape.
It’s important to continue rotating the balls as they’re cooking to give an even brown color. In some pans, it may even be necessary to move the balls into different holes so that each one gets an even brown color.
Takoyaki can be made with a range of fish options, including canned tuna, mentaiko takoyaki (spicy cod or pollock roe), shrimp, squid, or chikuwa (crab sticks).
Takoyaki pans come in a range of options and are available on many cooking websites. Choose a cast-iron takoyaki pan or an electric takoyaki pan for the best results.
Check out our article here on the best takoyaki pans you can use
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.