If you’re at all interested in Japanese cuisine, you’ve most probably heard or even tried "takoyaki" (octopus ball). This famous Japanese snack which originated in Osaka has become the nation’s favorite street food with restaurants in every city and every major station offering it.
This doughy delicacy is so popular that there are electronic takoyaki makers designed for people to enjoy in their houses. With this invention, people started holding home parties called “takoyaki parties” where they’d gather and make not just takoyaki, but rearrange it in their own innovative ways to enjoy it. These could range from simple substituting with some other ingredients, to the less obvious Mediterranean style dishes perfect for an enjoyable home party.
Road to Takoyaki Master
If you are given the opportunity to make your own takoyaki, you’d immediately realize how complex this simple ball of dough can be.
It all starts from the preparation of the dough. Many “amateurs” would buy a takoyaki flour and simply add eggs and some water to it, which is completely fine considering that they are only going to enjoy it themselves with a couple of friends.
However, many of those who own a takoyaki maker would experiment with it to obtain the perfect dough. Some would put finely grated yams into the mixture to get a fluffier and creamier texture, while others add more soup stock to get a richer flavor. Some people who are more contemporary may choose to use clam soup instead of the standard bonito soup stock to discover new tastes to this traditional snack.
The frying process is another huge issue. It solely depends on the final texture they’re aiming for. If they are going for a crispy finish, they’d fry it in plenty of oil. On the other hand, if they are trying to enjoy the creamy texture inside, they’d spend less oil and more time baking the ball.
There’s also quite a debate about the sauce to put on the takoyaki. The standard sauce that most takoyaki restaurants use is the Japanese Worcestershire sauce, however, major takoyaki joints have started to use other sauces such as soy sauce, ponzu sauce, mayo with cod roe, or keep it simple with just a pinch of salt and some condiments. Some take a step further to dip it in plain soup stock, a similar cuisine to the "Akashi-yaki".
Various Uses of Takoyaki Makers
Now here comes the fun part; Although the takoyaki maker is designed to make takoyaki, its unique shape inspired many people to find a different use for this table cooking tool. Probably the easiest and the most enjoyable one is the ajijo, where you pour plenty of olive oil in each hole and put sliced garlic along with your favorite ingredient to make a Mediterranean appetizer. Some of the most popular ingredients include octopus, petite tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, and shrimp. You could also put some anchovies into the mixture to add some kick to the flavor.
You could also pour pancake dough to make a small ball of sweet doughnut-like snacks. In this case, we recommend you use butter instead of oil so that you can get a richer flavor. After the doughnut ball is done, you could apply various sauces like syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar, and pretty much anything else that goes well with a doughnut! If you want to make it really Japanese, you could put sweet bean pastes (anko) into the doughnut to make it taste like a dorayaki.
If you get the chance to purchase your own takoyaki maker, go on and host your own takoyaki party!