Osaka’s famous takoyaki. Part 2 : At home (tutorial)

Let’s make the takoyaki presented in previous post.
(click here)

That’s a street-stall food, but some people have lots of fun making takoyaki parties at home, especially with the kids. If you can find the “iron plate”, try it.

Raw octopus.
Tako =octopus. It’s a compulsory ingredient. If you skip it, you don’t get takoyaki. Find another name…

I’m giving you the classic recipe. Feel free to substitute any ingredient you want. We’ve seen everything in those parties…

The tako has to be beaten and boiled. You can buy it boiled. You don’t need much. 1 to 3 bits per ball.

I bought these. The tenkasu (tempura crumbs) are easy to make if you fry tempura. You pour the leftover of batter in drops in the oil at the end, and you get tenkasu. We can get them in all supermarkets, very cheap, it’s convenient. You could replace with some crumbed shrimp flavored chips. Beni-shoga is vinegar pickled ginger.

Batter recipe :
For 18 big takoyaki

1 egg (M size)
70 g cake flour
1 teaspoon soy sauce
300 ml dashi stock*
1/2 tsp sugar + 1/4 spoon salt (you can skip both)

*you can make dashi (recipe here), use instant, or mix powder dry fish to water (that’s what I do).
Combine everything, beat well, let 2 our 3 hours. If you want to use it without waiting, mix in a blender. That should be like crepe batter.

The piano… The pros have “takoyaki stoves” powered by gas under cast-iron plates. At home, you can use electric specific machines in teflon. Or put a cast-iron plate on any stove. I have a mini 6-hole, on my induction stove.

This mold is not exclusive to Japan. It’s used in different Asian countries. And also in Denmark to make ebelskiver pancakes. So European and American readers have high chances to find it on line or in local Chinatowns.

The picks are an essential tool. It’d better if they are longer (I have some, but they don’t look good).

My DIY oil brush. The pro use cotton thread oils. But they are tricky to clean.
If you have a modern electric non-stick takoyaki machine, it’s easy, just heat it and pass a little oil.
If you have old style, to avoid sticking prepare it this way :
1. Oil the whole plate holes and around. Heat it maximum, till it smokes. Cut. Re-oil.
2. Put again on low heat, pass oil and start…

1. fill the holes with batter,
2. add in the other ingredients. Don’t worry with a little overflow.

Then you need to train.
3. After 1 minute or more, start “cleaning” with the pick by pushing the over-flow into the holes.
4. When, you become able to move the half-balls, turn them vertically.
5. Add a little batter.
6.Then clean and turn again… They start very irregular but as you turn you can get perfect balls.

Courage ! 5 yr old Japanese kids can do it, if that can humiliat… I mean cheer you up. I’m joking, as I said before :

That’s insanely fun to roll them with your pick ! Make a bucket of batter, and you’ll find you can’t stop rolling some… and you’ll continue when even your dog will no longer eat some more.

For serving, sauces and toppings, see here (click).

Osaka’s famous takoyaki. Part 1 : eating…


That’s crazy I could run a blog called “gourmande in Osaka” during so long without mentioning them. And not get arrested…
So, yes, this is the specialty of this huge city of foodies. Ugly small balls.

Try them 3 times. The first, that’s weird, too unexpected. The second, taste is still uneasy. Third time, you’re getting addicted…

We don’t eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only for other meals. Like… when you walk in the street. It’s the biggest sign of vulgarity and dirty manners to eat in the street in Japan. Except for takoyaki you get from yatai street stands. They are also proposed at all the festivals in Japan, yearlong, but particularly in Summer.

They are invariably containing bits of tako (octopus), hence the name. The ginger and negi leek are classic too. The bits are small, not overwhelming. Don’t let that deter you. So if you roughly like seafood, you’ll like them.

They are cooked in those iron plates with half-sphere holes. See the recipe soon here (from tomorrow).

You buy them by 6, 10, 12… depending on the shop. They put them in a box and make them totally un-dietetic at your taste.

1-they paint them with shoyu (thickened soy sauce) or soosu (thickened Worcester sauce).
2-they add aonori seaweed, katsuobushi fish flakes.
3-then mayonnaise

You can skip all these… if you are able to explain that in Japanese or in sign language. Not too hard.
In Summer, they also propose ponzu sauce (soy sauce with citrus flavor). Some shops have many variations.

These on the photo are mines, the shoyu is not thickened (same for the taste, but you can’t see it), I used thicker fish flakes I had at home. And I replaced the mayo by home-made white salad sauce (soy milk + mustard), you hardly see it.

A toothpick to eat them hot, standing in the street. You can’t go far. They are not good cooled down, not good re-heated.

This one is how I like it. Most Japanese would find it overcooked. That’s how I like them. I always go to buy those that been cooking for a while on the stand and when they propose to make fresh ones, I refuse.

Not a cheese, bien fait

A great tartine ! Is it cheese ? No, no. I have never found the cheese made in Japan great, it’s abominable, bad, neutral like a block of plastic, not too bad, but they don’t have the talent. This is something else :

misozuke tofu (tofu marinated in miso).

And this one is GREAT !!!!!

I didn’t make it. It’s a present, from the North of Japan.
The package indicates the tofu was marinated 6 months in miso. If you don’t know miso read this.

I want to make mine… but 6 months !!!

It’s wrapped in a paper-cloth, that was a *cheese* cloth traditionally.

This is a photo of fresh tofu. So you can appreciate the change of texture :

That’s how it became, really cream, melty. Unlike Chinese stinky tofu, it doesn’t stink, the smell is very light.
How to describe the taste ? It’s salty. It’s strong. It’s complex. It’s deep. It’s de-li-cious !

French style, with bread and red wine :

Petit yaki-niku, many veggies

Yaki-niku, grilled meat. And a few veggies.
Yaki-niku is another specialty of Osaka. That’s the encounter of superb quality meat and Korean tradition. There are many “Koreans” in the city, not North, not South, they came way before, 100 years ago. The Tsuruhashi town, in the heart of Osaka is Korean town. There, you can find dozens of yaki-niku restaurants, in each street, one per building. In the rest of the city, there are less, maybe 2 or 3 per street.
The meat is expensive… in average. That depends on cuts. Everything is used, so you can lower the average. Or take small amounts of the 1st rate. And lesser quality can be arranged by preparation. I prefer eating less and less often, than going down in quality.

Korean Gourmande (photo compilation of my Korean posts)

Wagyu, Japanese beef. This one is not from Kobe (well, there is no beef produced in that city, I can tell you, farms are hours away).

As you can see, there all those small lines of white. It’s said the meat is persillée (parsleyed, like a leaf of parsley) in French, no idea in other languages. I like the parsley image.

These cuts were sold to be eaten raw, but… I prefer cutting my raw meat. I cooked it today.
I let it marinate it one hour, after rubbing it in a mix of sake, soy sauce, chili flakes and very little cooking oil.

Sides are ready ? Kimchi, brown rice, shishito green peppers…

…salad spinach, sesame seeds, mushrooms.

A small cauliflower. I cut and pre-roasted it 15 minutes in the oven-toaster.

Everything is grilled on cast-iron plancha. That’s more convenient than an open-fire brasero. No smoke (you see vapor), and I can use it on the induction cooker.

The sides are less hot. It’s easy to cook exactly how you like it. Eat at once… don’t let it cool the time to take photos.

No salt or whatever is need. Items cook together. Kimchi is salty. I only poured a few drops of fragrant sesame oil in the plate.
Delicious.