How To Make Takoyaki With Fish: a delicious Cod Ball Recipe

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  November 4, 2020

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Takoyaki is a Japanese street food dish that originates in Osaka. It is traditionally made with octopus, however, it can be made with a range of alternatives. These round dumplings are sure to delight your guests.

A Japanese street snack, Takoyaki are round dumplings filled with pieces of octopus. The word “Tako-yaki” translates to grilled or fried octopus but they are also known as octopus balls or octopus dumplings.

Takoyaki is often served with a salty sauce and it is paired well with beer.

Fish takoyaki without octopus but with cod

What is the best fish to use for takoyaki?

Normally you would use octopus but I’m guessing you don’t like octopus if you’re looking for a substitute, or 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 fishes include coley, pollock, haddock, hake, halibut, and mahi-mahi.

Best white fish to use for takoyaki

There are many variations on traditional takoyaki depending on the region, however, for a delicious takoyaki with fish you will need:

Takoyaki cod ball recipe with white fish

There are many variations on traditional takoyaki depending on the region, however, for a traditional takoyaki with fish you will need:
Course Snack
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword cod, Fish, Takoyaki, white fish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Joost Nusselder
Cost $4

Ingredients

  • 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 
  • cup Tenkasu (tempura)

Batter

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • cups dashi (Japanese stock)

Toppings

  • ½ cup Takoyaki sauce
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
  • Aonori (dried seaweed)

Instructions

  • Place 1/4 cup of katsuobushi into a bowl and grind it into a fine powder. 
  • Thinly slice the spring onions and mince 1 tbsp of pickled ginger. 
  • Cut the cod into small pieces. If cooked properly, it will fall apart in nice flakes.

Dashi Batter

  • (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 teaspoons 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. 

Takoyaki

  • Heat a takoyaki pan over a 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 three 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 four 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 this more traditional takoyaki recipe 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 are greasing the pan by placing at least 5mm of oil in every hole. This will ensure the takoyaki does not stick to the pan, make it easier to flip over, and give them a lovely crispy texture.

Pour batter generously

When the pan starts to smoke it is 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, and try to just cover the holes as it will 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 a perfect shape.

It is important to continue to rotate the balls as they are 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.

Fish takoyaki with cod

Alternatives

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 pan

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.