Takoyaki are Japanese dumplings that look like small fried balls of batter. Some versions are crispier than others.
They are made of wheat flour batter and diced boiled octopus, along with konnyaku and scraps of tempura, flavoured with pickled ginger and green onion. Occasionally shrimp or cheese is swapped in for the octopus.
They are made in special pans similar in design and concept to Danish aebleskivers pans.
The thick batter is mixed up. The pan is heated and oiled, and the cups in pan filled up with batter. The octopus, ginger and green onion are put on top of the batter. They are then cooked, and turned in their moulds part way through until brown.
They are served with garnishes such as okonomiyaki sauce, green seaweed, dried tuna shavings (bonito flakes aka katsuobushi) and even mayonnaise.
They are often sold on the streets as fast food, and frozen ones are available at grocery stores. They are most popular in the Kansai region of Japan, where they are served as a side dish with rice. Elsewhere in Japan, they are popular as a fast food on their own.
“Tako” means “octopus” in Japanese. Takoyaki is Japanese for “baked or fried octopus”.