Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

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Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:04 pm

No, not that kind of balls. These are a Japanese street food that are becoming fairly common. They are crispy on the outside, and smooth and rich on the inside. They look like this:

Image

You make them like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHDmVhShE80

You can buy electric takoyaki makers at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MXCDVO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=mamaloli-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=B000MXCDVO They even sell the picks for turning the balls over at half time. Handymen/women might try to retask little used escargot dishes!

The reason that I mention them here is that they are the quintessential Japanese bar food, AND they are a killer combination with a lot of white wines, ranging from German Rieslings through that Sauv Blanc that you were looking for a food match to tame the acidity.

Anyone else a fan? Is this a largely west coast phenomenon? And if octopus turns you off, you can make them with something else.
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Frank Deis » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:09 pm

As I understand it they are more popular in Kansai (Osaka etc.) than Tokyo. But octopus turns me on, not off, and you can make them in those Danish Ebelskiver pans. I have also found them frozen at H Mart. I wish I could buy them as street food but not around NJ...

"Tako" or octopus is also a favorite ingredient in Okonomiyaki.

The best octopus I can get here is in Greek restaurants.
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Jenise » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:22 pm

If only you could get these at Japadog. :)
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:41 pm

Jenise - here is their menu - take a look at the first page and they have a picture of how they present it! (If you ever hang out over here and need lunch, highly recommended) http://www.kiisujapanese.com/pdf/mainmenu_2011_04_westvan.pdf

Frank - we also have lots of good Okonomiyaki restaurants in Vancouver. I can see how an aebelskiver pan (available on Amazon) would work, although I don't do breakfast/dessert much so I don't own one.

Of course many dim sum would also work with white wine, but the takoyaki combination of a bit of crunch on the outside and smooth flavour inside seems particularly suitable.
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:48 pm

Oh, yes! Definitely loves me some takoyaki! This pic was taken near Toshugo.
SCN_0075 Tako!.jpg
takoyaki stand
SCN_0075 Tako!.jpg (92.87 KiB) Viewed 1622 times
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:55 pm

Very cool, and I second Jenise's wish that we had Japadog or similar stands that did this food too!
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:17 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:The reason that I mention them here is that they are the quintessential Japanese bar food...


I love takoyaki as much as the next smart guy, but they seem a bit big and messy to be quintessential bar food. For the Japanese contribution, I would look to thinks like all the cured vegetables/fish/seafood items?
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:29 pm

There's a lot of potential bar snack food - karaage, gyoza, just about any rolls but the largest ones, which tend to get sloppy.
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:07 pm

I was at one bar, outside Tokyo, that served dried/salted little fishes as the bar snack. Very tiny, silver-shiny little things.
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:12 pm

I think it depends on what we consider a bar. I was thinking of a very narrow definition where you mainly drink and have tiny snacks, like dried slivers of fish or cured squid.

Of course if you expand that to izakaya drinking then you get a lot more options, like what Bill is referencing.

Either way, it doesn't really matter much and is making me hungry!

(I don't eat Japanese food often enough, but this past weekend went to En Japanese Brasserie in Nyc for the first time and had wonderful fun with lots of dishes. Plus, it was great for my two-year old who particularly enjoyed twirling the soba).
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:25 pm

Izakaya bars are analagous to tapa bars in Spain, or what we used to do in Hawaii (I spent a LOT of time over there in my youth). In Hawaii it was rather inelegantly called 'pupus'. and cosnisted of such things as ahi tartare, teriyaki bites (I assiduously avoided faux sushi made with Spam), rumaki, bacon wrapped pineapple etc.

I greatly enjoyed the variety I found in tapas bars in Spain, especially in the North in Basque country, too.
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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:58 am

I have not heard of these, but they look great! I'll have to find out where to get them in Sacto.

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Re: Takoyaki - Octopus Balls

Postby Frank Deis » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:50 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:I was at one bar, outside Tokyo, that served dried/salted little fishes as the bar snack. Very tiny, silver-shiny little things.


You can buy many different varieties of tiny dried fish at H Mart and other oriental groceries. At H mart there are fairly large plastic bags with a spectrum of tiny fish sizes, from fingernail up to an inch long.
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