My family and I love EATING. My dad usually says, “Tipirin niyo na ang lahat, ‘wag lang ang pagkain.” We love to explore different kinds of food, as long as they’re edible. We enjoy the pleasure of trying different cuisines such as Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian, Lebanese, Iranian, Italian, and more. But to tell you the truth, my personal favorite would be JAPANESE. Since I was a young little eater, I’ve always loved Japanese sushis, sashimis, rolls, tea and etc. And now that I’m working and earning, I got the opportunity to explore more about what they can offer. There was not a month this year that we didn’t dine in any Japanese resto. We jump to one cafeteria, bistro or fine-dining resto to another but the Japanese ones wouldn’t be chopped off the list.
So one day when we were at Yo! Sushi, we ordered this alluringly promoted dish called Takoyaki.
[image source: sakura-hostel.co.jp]
Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼, literally fried or grilled octopus) is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce, a sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise. The takoyaki is then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi). [definition source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takoyaki]
We loved it at once and decided to make it at home…
So before anything else, we bought and prepared the things we need such as this Takoyaki pan:
and the rest of the ingredients such as:
- Benni Shoga (Red Ginger)
- Ebi (Dried Shrimp)
- Green Onion
- Tenkasu (Tempura Flakes OR Rice Bubbles smashed up)
- Tako (Octopus, chopped into bite-sized pieces)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 ½ cups of Flour
- 2 ½ cups of Dashi or Stock
But instead of using octopus, we used squid rings. I know, it’s not Takoyaki without the tako but we couldn’t find octopus even in the wet markets around our area here in Dubai, so we had to improvise.
So the first step we took was oil our takoyaki pan. Then we poured the takoyaki batter in each pit of the pan. The batter is a mixture of water, flour, egg and powdered ebi. As soon as we did this and fill the hole, we put the takos (octopus) or in our case, the cut squid rings, to each pit subsequently. We, then, added some benishoga (pickled ginger), negi (green onions), and ebi (dried shrimp) to each of the takoyaki well. After which, we added another layer of takoyaki batter to make sure it’s enough to make a ball. We did a bit of takoyaki surgery, shaped the takoyaki into their characteristic spherical shape and kept turning the takoyaki until the balls are golden brown like this:
While my brother and sister were doing that, I started preparing the Takoyaki sauce which is only a mixture of ketchup, worchershire sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar, sake and mirin but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to add sake and mirin because they were unavailable at the time. I heated and mixed them all in a pan and viola! You can now put them on the Takoyakis. We added mayonnaise and tenkasu as toppings too.
This was the first batch and first try ever. It didn’t look as enticing as the ones at the Japanese bistros but they sure tasted better. After 3 more tries, I could say that we have already perfected making it, home-made style. Horaaay!