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Takoyaki sauce: what is it & how do you use it?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 3, 2022

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Eating takoyaki won’t be complete without its topping sauce!

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

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

Takoyaki sauce

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Make your own takoyaki sauce

To make basic Takoyaki sauce, mix Worcestershire sauce (usutah so-su), mentsuyu (noodle soup base), ketchup, and sugar. The sauce gives off a sweet fruity flavor to the bite, although it’s not as strong as the okonomiyaki sauce.

It is also brushed with Japanese mayonnaise, then it’s sprinkled with something called “aonori” (a type of edible seaweed). Traditional recipes also include bonito flakes.

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

So, all you need to make this recipe is 5 ingredients.

  1. Worcestershire sauce
  2. Mentsuyu (Japanese soup base)
  3. Ketchup
  4. Sugar
  5. Oyster Sauce

Add a few teaspoons of each and only a little bit of sugar.  In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients and stir them until the sauce blends well. 

Other takoyaki sauce variations

Other known variations of takoyaki include:

  • the Goma-dare, which is a sesame and vinegar-based sauce
  • the ponzu version, which is soy sauce with some extra dashi and added citrus

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

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

What is Takoyaki sauce?

Takoyaki sauce is a type of Japanese sauce that is often used as a condiment or dipping sauce for Takoyaki, a popular Japanese dish made of grilled balls of dough filled with octopus.

The sauce is also commonly used on other dishes such as yakisoba and okonomiyaki, although that is a slight sauce variation.

What’s the origin of Takoyaki sauce?

The origins of Takoyaki sauce are unclear, but it is thought to have originated in Osaka, Japan. The sauce is said to have been created in the 1930s by a man named Tomekichi Endo, who owned a small restaurant in Osaka.

It is said that he created the sauce as well, maybe many years later.

How is Takoyaki sauce made?

Takoyaki sauce is made with a variety of ingredients, including soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, sugar, and chili pepper.

The exact recipe varies depending on the brand or manufacturer, but the general ingredients are typically the same.

What does Takoyaki sauce taste like?

Takoyaki sauce has a sweet and savory flavor with a slightly tangy taste. The sauce is also slightly thick in consistency.

What’s the difference between Takoyaki sauce and Worcestershire sauce?

Worcestershire sauce is one of the main ingredients in Takoyaki sauce, so the two sauces share a similar flavor profile.

However, Worcestershire sauce is also made with vinegar, anchovies, and other spices, which gives it a more complex flavor than Takoyaki sauce.

How much Takoyaki sauce do you use?

The amount of Takoyaki sauce you use will depend on your personal preference. If you are using the sauce as a condiment, you may want to start with a small amount and add more to taste.

I personally am not a HUGE sauce fan so the takoyaki for me is usually to saucy. The Japanese love to pour a lot on there though so if you want the authentic flavor, be sure to try it with lots of sauce, and then add some more :)

Remember that there also needs to be a little room for the Japanese mayo.

Conclusion

Try takoyaki sauce and you won’t be disappointed. The only drawback is, you can only used it for takoyaki so it might sit in the cupboard for a while before your next use.

Also read: these are the best takoyaki recipe ideas to make

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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.