January 6, 2016


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I've always wanted to make these Japanese street food I keep reading about - takoyaki - crispy fried octopus balls. When I saw a used cast iron takoyaki pan on eBay for a fraction of the cost to buy a Japanese-made one (no made in China for me...EVER!), I just had to buy it. It arrived rusted and dirty but without any scratches or cracks. It only took 3 seasonings (oiling and baking) for the pan to look brand new again. I tested the batter before proceeding with the recipe and it didn't stick at all. I love my new takoyaki pan!

I usually get baby octopus because the more mature ones are way too big. The babies also take a shorter time to boil until fork tender, about 30 minutes.


1½ cups water
4-inch piece kombu (dried seaweed)
1 tablespoon shaved dried bonito
2 teaspoons bonito soup powder 
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 eggs
1 tablespoon Kikkoman soy sauce

sliced or cubed boiled octopus
sliced scallions
pickled ginger
rice crispies

light olive oil
bamboo skewers

sauce and toppings
store-bought takoyaki sauce or mayonnaise
finely chopped scallions
shaved dried bonito
  • Prepare the batter: Place water and seaweed in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat. Remove seaweed as soon as the water boils; discard seaweed. Add shaved bonito and simmer for 2 minutes. Strain broth and discard bonito; stir in bonito powder. Set aside to cool. Whisk together the flours in a bowl. Add eggs and ¾ cup broth; whisk until smooth. Add soy sauce and the rest of the broth gradually while whisking. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
  • Cook the takoyaki: Heat a cast iron takoyaki pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour oil into the wells and brush the surface of the pan with oil. Ladle batter into each well half-full. Add some octopus, scallions, ginger, and rice crispies. Ladle batter up to the surface of the pan. Fry for a minute. Using 2 skewers, turn the balls to cook the tops. Add more oil to the wells after half a minute. Turn several more times for even browning and to make them crispy on the outside. Serve with sauce and toppings.

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