My husband loves Takoyaki Octopus Balls. We first had it 7 years ago in a Japanese Restaurant somewhere in Dominion Road, Auckland. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but I’m pretty sure I archived the photo from my Instagram. Now, my eldest loves it too. Like Father like Daughter, I guess.
Anyway, this has been sitting in my head for quite some time. Why? You may ask. It’s because I was looking for bonito flakes for weeks and I have no luck.
What is Bonito Flakes?
According to Wikipedia:
Katsuobushi (Japanese: 鰹節) is dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). It is also known as bonito flakes when young bonito is used as a cheaper substitute for skipjack tuna. Katsuobushi or similarly prepared fish is also known as okaka (おかか).INGREDIENTS:
I could have just made the Takoyaki Octopus Balls by itself, but the experience wouldn’t be the same. It has to be as authentic as it should be. I found the ingredients I need in Tai Ping (Asian Store) in a Japanese/Korean Isle. I felt I won the lottery when my husband saw the bonito flakes in the very bottom of that isle. Then I grabbed the Japanese Mayo (I din’t get the Kewpie though), I went for the cheaper version and went straight home to make this for dinner.
To make Takoyaki Octopus Balls, you need the Takoyaki plate and some good skills in flipping those yummy balls until it is cooked all throughout. I promise you, you’ll get better as you go and the next thing you know, you’re a pro.
Takoyaki Sauce is not on my list so instead I made my own teriyaki sauce. I hope you can give it a go too. You’ll never want to buy teriyaki sauce from the store again if you know how to make it yourself. It’s plain and simple. Add all the following ingredients together ,1/2 cup soy sauce, 6 tablespoons mirin, 5 tablespoons water, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 teaspoons minced ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (diluted with 1 tablespoon water). Bring to boil in a medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Mix until it has thickened and reached the consistency you want. Bring to room temperature before using.
Now, let’s make the Takoyaki Octopus Balls.
FOR THE BATTER:
pinch of dashi stock
FOR THE FILLINGS:
100g fresh boiled octopus, chopped
1 bunch spring onion, chopped
red pickled ginger
aosa powdered seaweed (or aonori)
katsuobushi bonito flakes
1. Let’s start by making the batter. In a large bowl, mix together 2 eggs, 200g of flour, 450ml of water and a little dashi stock. Set aside. You can also use the ready-made okonomiyaki flour. All you need to follow the instructions for making the batter.
2. Heat up your takoyaki plate on the gas stove on medium. If the takoyaki plate is hot, make sure to add small amount of oil in each hole and heat.
3. Now let’s deal with the octopus. Cut up the octopus into small pieces (good enough to fit in the takoyaki sized balls).
4. Fill up half of each holes with the batter. Place one small piece of octopus in each of the semi-circular holes, and then fill up each hole to the top with the batter mix.
5. At this stage, you can add the chopped spring onions, red pickled ginger and tempura flakes to each holes. A small amount of each will give enough flavour but it will depend on your preference. It’s okay to overflow the batter out of the holes. It will be easier to flip the takoyaki octopus balls later.
6. Once the takoyaki are about half cooked, approximately 1-2 minutes, flip them over by using a wooden skewer. Poke around the side of each holes and flip them over into the hole. Take note that you can only flip each balls about three quarters around. It is better to do it this way to allow all the sides to cook evenly.
7. After a minute or two, rotate the balls in the holes again. Allow 3-4 minutes for the balls to cook or until golden brown and crispy on the outside. I know it’s not easy and it takes a bit of practice but you’ll get it done smoothly later on.
8. Lastly, place takoyaki octopus balls on a plate, pour takoyaki or teriyaki sauce and drizzle with Japanese mayonnaise. Don’t forget to sprinkle a bit of aosa powdered seaweed, spring onions and some bonito flakes on top.
9. Share Takoyaki Octopus Balls and enjoy with family and friends!
Inspired by: Japan Centre