A regional delicacy of Kansai in Japan, these battered octopus balls are available from sidewalk vendors in Osaka (and other cities in Kansai I'm told). I understand that takoyaki are considered to be a "festival" food.

MMMMMM.... octopus balls!

Takoyaki isn't a festival food: it's to Osaka what thirty-inch pizzas are to New York City, the sort of food that's so good you can't find it anywhere else on the planet. The best way to eat takoyaki is to fly to Osaka, hang out in Umeda or Namba after dark, and scout out a vendor's cart with the magical hiragana たこやき written on its paper lantern.

Takoyaki is hard for me to adequately describe, so I'll let a Japanese website describe it for me (insert one big, loud "sic" here):

shape and size is like a golf ball.
bake "kizi" which is made from ingredient mixed flour, egg and water.
It contains "gu" which is boiled octopus ,"negi", "beni shoga", "konnyaku" and "tenkas".
need to bake "Takoyaki" special iron pan ,
because of baking like ball.
In other words, it's a little ball-shaped hunk of batter that melts in your mouth, leaving a big chunk of mollusk in the middle. The "baking like ball" is what makes takoyaki unique to Osaka. You need a muffin pan-shaped griddle to cook it, and these are generally not available outside the oh-so-Kinki region of Japan. But if you happen to have the grill at home, here is how you, too, can have takoyaki:


1 c (200 ml) wheat flour
4 c (800 ml) water
4 eggs
Several tentacles of octopus, boiled
To taste:
green onions
soy sauce
tempura crumbs
red ginger

Warm and oil the griddle. Cut the octopus into chunks the size of dice, cut the konyaku into similarly-sized squares, and chop up the onions and ginger into fine pieces. Mix the flour, water, and eggs together in a separate bowl to form the batter.

Fill each hole in the griddle halfway with the batter. Add a chunk of octopus, seaweed, and a sprinkling of the other ingredients to each ball, and then cover with more batter until the holes are about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the shoyu on top.

Once the lower surfaces solidify, flip the budding balls with a pick. Do this several times so that they cook into pretty spheres. Keep them on the griddle until they're nice and brown all over, and then serve. Makes 15: serves three schoolchildren, or half a sekicho.

If you have no clue where to buy a takoyaki pan, http://village.infoweb.ne.jp/~fwbc7245/esale.htm will sell one to you. They were also the source of the recipe and Engrish above.

liveforever informed me that if you live in Really Northern Europe, you can use an æbleskiver pan to make takoyaki, since the two dishes are about the same size and shape.

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