Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼) (literally fried or grilled octopus) is a popular ball-shaped Japanese dumpling or more like a savory pancake made of batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan (see below). It is typically filled with diced or whole baby octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion.
In modern days, it became common to be brushed with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, and topped with green laver (aonori) and katsuobushi (shavings of dried bonito). There are many variations to the takoyaki recipe. For example, ponzu i.e. soy sauce with dashi and citrus vinegar, goma-dare i.e. sesame-and-vinegar sauce or vinegared dashi.
It was first popularized in Osaka where a street vendor named Tomekichi Endo is credited with its invention in 1935 under the influence of Akashiyaki. Takoyaki was initially popular in Kansai but later spread to Kanto and other areas. Today, it is popular in many areas throughout Japan. Takoyaki can be purchased in many street food stalls (yatai) but today there are many well-established takoyaki specialty restaurants/eateries that are very popular. Osaka or the Kansai area is particular famous for it. It may be often sold in many commercial outlets, e.g. supermarkets or 24-hours shops. In addition, frozen takoyakis are even exported to many overseas countries.
Yaki is derived from "yaku" (焼く) which is one of the cooking methods in Japanese cuisine, meaning "to fry or grill", and can be found in the names of other Japanese cuisine items such as teppanyaki, yakitori, teriyaki and sukiyaki.
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Takoyaki (octopus balls), www.bento.com
Takoyaki, the great street snack that's fun to make at home, www.justhungry.com