|Place of origin||Japan|
|Region or state||Osaka|
|Main ingredients||Batter, octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, green onion, takoyaki sauce (with mayonnaise), green laver (aonori)|
Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼) is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special molded pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger (beni shoga), and green onion (negi). The balls are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi).
Yaki comes from yaku (焼く), which is one of the cooking methods in Japanese cuisine, meaning 'to grill', and can be found in the names of other dishes in Japanese cuisine such as okonomiyaki and ikayaki (other famous Osakan dishes). Basically, it is eaten as a snack or between meals, but in some areas it is served as a side dish with rice.
Takoyaki was first popularized in Osaka, where a street vendor named Tomekichi Endo is credited with its invention in 1935. Takoyaki was inspired by akashiyaki, a small round dumpling from the city of Akashi in Hyōgo Prefecture made of an egg-rich batter and octopus. Takoyaki was initially popular in the Kansai region, and later spread to the Kantō region and other areas of Japan. Takoyaki is associated with yatai street food stalls, and there are many well-established takoyaki specialty restaurants, particularly in the Kansai region. Takoyaki is now sold at commercial outlets, such as supermarkets and 24-hour convenience stores.
The oldest known takoyaki store is Aizuya in Osaka. Founded by Tomakichi Endo, it has been open since the 1930s. The first takoyaki included beef and konjac, but later Endo switched to using the now traditional octopus and added flavor to the batter. The takoyaki are then eaten with brown sauce, similar to Worcestershire sauce. In recent years, takoyaki can be eaten with various toppings and fillings (such as cheese or bacon) as its cultural span has evolved in western parts of the world. The food, known as "octopus balls", quickly became popular throughout Japan.
A takoyaki pan (たこ焼き器, takoyaki-ki) or—much more rarely—takoyaki-nabe (たこ焼き鍋) is typically a griddle made of cast iron with hemispherical molds. The heavy iron evenly heats the takoyaki, which are turned with a pick during the heating process to pull the uncooked batter to the base of the rounded cavity. Commercial gas-fueled takoyaki cookers are used at Japanese festivals or by street vendors. For home use, electric versions resemble a hotplate; stovetop versions are also available, and many incorporate a non-stick coating to facilitate turning.
In popular culture
A children's book named Takoyaki Mantoman published in the 1990s and later adapted into an anime television series produced by Studio Pierrot that aired from April 1998 to September 1999. In the Animal Crossing series of video games, there is a villager that comes up in multiple versions of the game. This villager is named Zucker and is based off of takoyaki. Takoyaki was featured on the Netflix Television series, Street Food, in the Osaka, Japan episode.
- Similar global dishes
- Æbleskiver in Denmark
- Cekodok in Malaysia
- Poffertjes in Netherlands
- Kue cucur in Indonesia
- Kuzhi paniyaram (plain or spicy but vegan), unniyappam and neyyappam (both sweet dishes) in India
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- Making Classic Takoyaki at Home A DIY Takoyaki recipe.