Takoyaki generously filled with chopped chicken teriyaki, carrot and cabbage, drizzled with Sriracha mayo and reduced teriyaki sauce, and finally sprinkled with bonito flakes and finely sliced scallions. Nicely done by my daughter, Alex. They were so good.
The batter is authentic Japanese but the filling is not. Although the chicken teriyaki was seasoned and cooked the traditional way, teriyaki itself is not exactly a traditional ingredient of takoyaki.
Although modern takoyaki comes in many variants, the word takoyaki itself translates to “octopus grilled.” Go ahead and find a translator; that is what it will say. So, if we’re going to be strict with the definition, takoyaki should have octopus for its filling. In practice, however, takoyaki is sold with a multitude of fillings—from bacon to kani to cheese to every imaginable ingredient that can be chopped small enough to fit into the holes of a takoyaki pan.
Until we bought a takoyaki pan, I was not a fan of takoyaki. It’s the octopus—I have problems digesting it. My daughters, however, love takoyaki. Having discovered them in college while living away from home, they have since enjoyed this tasty Japanese snack.
Later on, they would order takoyaki when we ate at Japanese restaurants. That was when I realized that it was possible to enjoy takoyaki without the octopus. Inspired by that discovery and knowing how much the girls would enjoy making takoyaki at home, I bought I takoyaki pan.
Is it easy making takoyaki at home? I won’t lie. These chicken teriyaki-filled takoyaki was Alex’s third attempt (the previous ones had different fillings) and she’s still trying to make the balls look perfect. She did not want me to post photos from the first and second attempts because, according to her, they didn’t look so good. I didn’t see what was wrong with them, they were round and fluffy and tasty, but she has her standards so I held off posting anything. Meanwhile, Sam is still busy with her photo gigs to cook the bacon and cheese takoyaki that she said she’d make for us.
Why, what’s the hard part in cooking takoyaki? Isn’t it just like making pancakes—pour the batter, sprinkle in the filling, flip and serve? It’s the flipping that’s a bit tricky. Let’s illustrate.
So, you place the takoyaki pan on the stove and oil the holes generously. You may either brush or spray the holes with oil.
Pour in the batter without filling the holes.
Never mind if it looks messy. All that batter that didn’t go into the holes has an important role in making takoyaki.
Next, add the filling. In this recipe, that’s cooked and chopped chicken teriyaki that Alex had prepared beforehand.
Some vegetables are always desirable. So, carrot cut into small pieces went on top of the chicken.
And cabbage in addition to the carrot.
Then, more batter is poured over the filling. You won’t be able to see the holes anymore at this point but, trust me, you need all that batter.
Now, comes the flipping. It’s not just flipping. You scrape the half-cooked batter between the holes and gather it into the hole as you invert the balls. Alex used chopsticks and both hands to do this. Others use toothpicks. By the time all the balls have been flipped, there won’t be any extra batter between the holes. That’s the part that takes patience and practice.
When your takoyaki is done, you drizzle sauce over them, sprinkle in bonito flakes and, optionally, scallions.
Now, the recipe.
Alex’s Takoyaki With Chicken Teriyaki Filling
For the takoyaki batter
For the filling
- 1 cup chicken teriyaki cooked and chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped white cabbage
Make the batter by mixing all the ingredients together.
Heat the takoyaki pan on the stove over medium-low to medium heat. Brush or spray the holes generously with oil.
When the oil starts to smoke, pour batter into the holes to fill them halfway through.
Sprinkle the chopped chicken teriyaki, carrot and cabbage on top of the batter.
Pour in more batter to cover the filling and the holes.
Cook the takoyaki for about a minute until the undersides start to set. Using skewers or chopsticks, gather the excess batter around each hole and lightly folding it on top of the ball as you invert. Cook for another minute or so until the batter is cooked through and the surface of the balls are lightly browned.
Repeat until you have used up all the batter and fillings.
Arrange the takoyaki on a plate. Drizzle mayo-Sriracha and thickened teriyaki sauce over them. Garnish with bonito flakes and scallions.