Oh man, I like takoyaki and have talked about it a few times before already.
First, I tried it because I just had to know what the octopus balls would taste like, and since they have grown on me.
But are they healthy? Let’s find out.
A few years ago Takoyaki spread across the Kanto region in Japan and it began being sold in little convenience stores and restaurants.
It has since hit the shores of the US and it’s now spreading like wildfire in the states.
Takoyaki or “octopus balls”, are not an especially healthy snack compared to other snacks of the region. They are generally high in carbs and deep-fried, causing a dual dietary dilemma to healthy eaters everywhere. Once they have been fried they are then covered in a sauce that combines high-calorie mayonnaise topped with okonomiyaki sauce.
So let’s take a closer look at this delicious street food.
I hope you have the time to check out my video where I talk about the information in this post, I’ve had fun making it and there are a few surprises in there as well :)
Of course, you can read on or skip to any part of the article using the navigation.
In this post we'll cover:
Okonomiyaki or takoyaki sauce
Okonomiyaki sauce is a mixture of oyster sauce, ketchup, sugar (or honey), and Worcestershire sauce.
The sauce is a blend of salty and sweet and when mixed with the fresh oceanic taste of the golden crunchy orbs of the Takoyaki, an explosion of flavor will delight your taste buds.
But with all the sugar, batter, and deep-frying, it’s just not all that healthy.
How many calories are in takoyaki?
Just one Takoyaki ball with sauce has about 80 calories, consisting of 4.2 grams of carbs, 2.4 grams of protein, and 5.8 grams of fats. If you buy takoyaki to go in a container or order at a restaurant, you usually get 6 in a serving so that amounts to 480 calories.
Can you make takoyaki healthier?
So, how do you get your takoyaki without suffering a carb overload? Simple, you just take away the wheat flour.
Reducing carbs in takoyaki
Did you know that replacing only the regular flour with coconut flour will turn a carb crazy recipe into a plethora of healthy goodness?
Keto-friendly and low-carb recipes for Takoyaki are comparable to the traditional Japanese recipes and you don’t have to give away a lot of taste points to make them a healthier option.
These bags from Anthony’s are among the most popular wheat flour substitutes:
Air Fryer vs Pan Fried
While pan-frying in oil or deep frying in your fry daddy, may taste deliciously decadent, the trade-off could yield disastrous health consequences. Allow the sauce to add moisture, not the oil.
Frying Takoyaki in the air fryer will still give you the crispy crunch that you desire and at the same time, it will give your cholesterol numbers a break.
It does get a bit messy, but think of how much more energy you will have because you chose the healthier option and aren’t feeling that greasy grumpiness that comes after you eat fried foods.
Can you do without the takoyaki sauce?
The sauce, though sweet, gathers its flavor from the honey and the oyster sauce. As sugar goes, these are some of the healthier options so you don’t really need to alter the sauce recipe, except to not use white sugar.
Using a low fat, vegan (like this Yuzu vegan kewpie) or fat-free mayonnaise will ensure that you are able to slather your Takoyaki in the delicious sauce and mayo guilt-free.
Can you do without the octopus meat?
The octopus meat is the healthiest part of the dish. Takoyaki can be made with other types of meat or even no meat if you’re not a fan of octopus or are not a meat-eater.
Anything from the traditional meats of the area such as shrimp, fish, and octopus, to less traditional more Americanized meats like pork, beef, and chicken, can be used for the dish.
There are even recipes out there for vegan Takoyaki using Tofu in place of the meat.
So if you think you would not enjoy the octopus or it is unavailable in your area, try substituting your favorite meat or vegetables even.
As with any new fad, takoyaki is under a microscope and people all across the web are busy “fixing” the recipes and testing out new cooking methods to suit their wants and needs.
And you can make it a bit healthier with the right ingredients and mindset.
A quick online search brought up over a thousand different recipes for Takoyaki. I am sure there is a recipe waiting just for you and it is just a click away.
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