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Moto's Kitchen: Recipe 20 - Takoyaki

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Moto's Kitchen: Recipe 20 - Takoyaki
Today in Moto's Kitchen we're making takoyaki! While the prospect of eating "octopus balls" may not sound so appetizing, this popular street food is actually quite delicious and addictive! With a crispy outside, cake-like texture and warm, gooey center, it's sure to be a hit! Feel free to experiment with other fillings outside of the traditional octopus (tako). Some suggestions are shrimp, cheese, ham and chicken. Enjoy!
Takoyaki batter (enough for around 40 takoyaki):
140 grams cake flour
2 Tbsp dried milk
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp soy sauce
2 1/2 cups dashi (see episode 6 for how to make dashi)
2 eggs
Takoyaki filling:
Octopus (diced)
Red (pickled) ginger (finely chopped)
Tenkasu (see previous episode for more information on tenkasu)
Takoyaki sauce (or tonkatsu sauce)
Mayonnaise (Japanese "kewpie" recommended)
Aonori ("blue seaweed")
Bonito flakes
Bamboo skewer
* Takoyaki pan is a pan specifically designed for making takoyaki. This might be hard to come by and slightly expensive, so search online for options or visit a local Japanese/Asian food store for ideas. Gas is preferred, but most varieties will be electric and run around $50-150. If you can't find a takoyaki pan, there are some versions of pancake pans that have a "ball" type well for pouring batter into that can also work.
Start by making the batter with the ingredients listed. The batter will have a very liquidy consistency. Be sure to remix the batter before pouring into the takoyaki pan as it tends to separate easily.
Heat up your takoyaki pan, high heat is preferred. Once this has been achieved, add a sufficient amount of oil to each sphere to prevent sticking. Remix the batter and pour into each mold. Don't worry about overflow! This is going to happen and will be part of the steps to form the sphere shape. Add one piece of your filling (octopus in this case) to each sphere. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients evenly over the top, adjusting the amount for your personal taste.
Allow the batter and ingredients to cook. Wait until you begin to smell the mixture baking. Using your bamboo skewer, begin to loosen the mixture from its individual sphere and try turning it about 90 degrees so it's standing on its side. Don't worry too much about speed, they shouldn't burn that quickly. Once you've finished turning all the takoyaki over and allowed them to cook for a little longer, take your skewer and complete the turning over process. This takes some skill and patience. Try to tuck in the excess ingredients around the edges to begin forming the ball shape. Take your time as you do this for each takoyaki. By now they should be appearing more like the familiar ball shape. The last step is to continue to flip and rotate the takoyaki as you try to achieve the desired shape. They won't all be perfect, so focus on tucking in all the ingredients and having a uniform look. Let cook until the outside becomes crispy, the inside will remain soft and slightly gooey.
Remove from the pan and plate. Add your desired toppings to the takoyaki. Use caution, they will be very hot, especially the inside, so let them cool before eating! Enjoy!
Be generous when drizzling oil into the takoyaki pan. Otherwise ingredients will stick to the pan and become quite impossible for you to flip later.
Although octopus is in the name of takoyaki, it doesn't necessarily have to be in the filling. If you prefer, replace octopus with chicken, ham, shrimp or even cheese.
Freshly made takoyaki can be deviously hot because it is crispy outside but gooey inside. So try not to rush. Be careful when eating and handling!
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