I was talking to a friend about takoyaki. She pointed out something interesting... "Octopus balls" doesn't sound too right. I wrote a translation note for Kagetora before, but I didn't use the term "octopus ball." Phew.
My translation note went like this: Takoyaki is a grilled ball with a piece of octopus in the middle. It is made on a grill shaped in half circles. You whisk some flour, water, and egg and pour it into the hot grill. You then put a piece of octopus, some cut up green onion and grill for a bit. The hardest part is flipping over the mix to make a ball. You use a takoyaki pick, which is similar to an ice pick but thinner.
Anyway, speaking of takoyaki made me want takoyaki, so I had a takoyaki night. (Alone with takoyaki on a Friday night...can my life get any more pathetic? I was also working). And I thought providing some pictures would help understand the translation note better.
First, I took out my grill. I think I said this before, but every household in the Kansai region has a takoyaki grill. This one is electric, but my mom said when we lived in Kobe (I was one year old then), we had one that used gas. In her opinion gas one makes better takoyaki. Oh well.
Here is my grill:
If you look closely, there is a smiling octopus at the bottom. Is he happy that he's about to get eaten?
Next I take out the mix. You can make your own by using soft flour, dashi, egg, and water. I read somewhere that adding a hint of baking powder will make it more fluffy.
But anyway, I use the pre-made mix sold in Japanese supermarkets. These are for okonomiyaki, but great for takoyaki too.
I mix the mix with egg and water. I boil the octopus. This octopus was provided by a sushi chef as sashimi.
So here's the mix and bits of octopus.
I wrote in my note that you use a takoyaki pick, but I don't have one so I use a skewer.
Pour the mix into the grill, one at a time. I am not that good at flipping them, so I don't put in much dough because it's harder to flip when it overflows.
Here's a picture of one still cooking and one almost done.
When you flip it, you use the pick to trace around the mix in a circle to loosen it from the grill. Then you tap one side...and flip! This takes practice, but you'll get the hang of it.
Since I was alone, I was making only two or three at a time.
Here is a lonely takoyaki:
And now it has friends!
Sometimes when you don't have octopus, or if you're a vegetarian, you can put cheese and natto (or just one of them) instead. My friend Ard actually liked the natto/cheese one better. But natto gets messy, so I didn't make any this time.