Takoyaki Pancake Recipe: No Takoyaki Maker Needed

Takoyaki seems impossible to make at home without a takoyaki maker. How do you get those perfect balls without it? But nobody said takoyaki has to be a certain shape. (Unless, of course, there’s a rule that we missed out on.) This takoyaki pancake recipe proves that you can get the savory flavors of the Japanese snack without any special contraptions—just a good old non-stick pan.

takoyaki pancake

It tastes just like takoyaki, except it cooks the batter in a pan as you would breakfast pancakes, making it easier and more convenient. This recipe also makes a few ingredient substitutions for accessibility. Don’t worry, though, it’s just as good (maybe even better) than the usual.

What is Takoyaki?

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped snack made of wheat flour-based batter and octopus. It originated in Osaka and spread across Japan. You can now find it in street markets, convenience stores, and restaurants all over the country.

Takoyaki is crispy on the outside, a little moist on the inside; it’s light and savory, but very filling. Making it starts with a better that’s poured into a takoyaki maker. This is a cooking tool that kind of looks like a cross between a pan and an egg carton. While the bottom of the takoyaki cooks, you put octopus (plus other mix-ins of choice) into the takoyaki. The takoyaki is then flipped to form a sphere. Once done, it’s transferred to a container and topped with sauces and garnishes.

How to Make Takoyaki Pancake

If it’s not yet obvious, this takoyaki recipe is not authentic. Aside from the shape, there are certain ingredients that make takoyaki what it is. And a lot of it isn’t accessible locally. That said this recipe produces the same flavor using ingredients that you can easily find online or in a nearby supermarket.

The Takoyaki Pancake

To make the takoyaki batter, combine all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.

takoyaki pancake batter

Then, slowly mix in chicken stock, vinegar, and egg. There’s a lot of liquid in this recipe, but it still has one egg because this is the main ingredient that binds everything together.

making the takoyaki batter

Chicken stock works as a substitute for dashi. You can also just dissolve a fourth of a bouillon cube in the same amount of water to make it. That said if you have dashi, that’s even better.

making the takoyaki batter

Next, add the soda water and continue mixing until you get a smooth batter. The soda water, together with the vinegar, help give the takoyaki pancakes a lighter, more airy texture so that it’s less dense.

making the takoyaki batter

Fold in the ginger, spring onions, baby shrimp, crab meat, and squid; then, place the batter in the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes.

making the takoyaki batter
If you want octopus in there, you can get some in Cartimar!

You can go as bare or extreme as you want with the mix-ins. Unlike when you make takoyaki in a takoyaki maker, this can take way more in it since it’s all mixed together beforehand.

takoyaki pancake batter

Place a non-stick pan over medium heat then add oil. You don’t really need to use a non-stick pan. But we found it’s way easier to handle these pancakes on one.

cooking the pancakes

Once the oil is hot, scoop some of the batter into the pan as you would regular pancakes. (For crispy pancakes, make sure your oil really hot and your pan is well-heated.)

cooking the pancakes

Cook the takoyaki pancakes on one side until air bubbles start to appear, then flip. Repeat until you finish the batter.

takoyaki pancake

Takoyaki Pancake Toppings

Place the pancakes on a plate or in a container, then top with the usual takoyaki garnishes: kewpie, takoyaki sauce, bonito flakes, and aonori or dried seaweed.

toppings & garnishes

You can also substitute or complement these with other Japanese ingredients and flavorings that you prefer.

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