Friday 31 March 2017

Street Food | Takoyaki

This isn’t what I’d normally do, but I’ve been living in Taiwan for the last six months and the food has been incredible. So many stores, so much variety at night markets and street vendors. I’ve become accustomed to the smell of sticky tofu (which doesn’t mean I’ve summoned the courage to try it yet!). 

I’d like to talk about takoyaki. Unfortunately, I don’t have the equipment to make them for myself and my Mandarin is poor, so I haven’t been able to ask for a recipe. Besides, I’ve seen the woman just down my road do it and she’s a machine. Years have perfected her art and I would definitely not make any near her standards for some time.

Takoyaki is a Japanese dish. In effect, it’s an octopus ball. A dashi batter is made and poured over a well oiled hot takoyaki pan. After a minute, a piece of octopus is placed into the centre of each ball, followed by leeks or onion. Using two skewers, you break the batter between the holes and fold the half cooked batter over before rotating the balls around the cook the other side. Then, the balls have to be kept rotating until they’re perfectly golden. It’s great to watch - I’d recommend it if you have the chance! Whenever I’ve seen it being made, they’re cooking around forty at a time. It’s incredible. 

Once cooked, it’s time to dress them up. Whenever I’ve had them, they’ve been served in a boat shaped container and topped with sweetened mayonnaise, takoyaki sauce, chopped picked ginger and a generous helping of katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes/dried and smoked skipjack tuna in thin flakes - so tasty and they just disappear on the tongue!).

Takoyaki are light and full of flavour. If you get a chance to try them, it’s a must. If you aren’t in Asia, I’ve had this dish at YoSushi in the UK before so you may be able to get your hands on these balls. 


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