While I am still on my last day of quarantine in the den, trying to keep myself busy, my wife and kids are celebrating the Christmas season why decorating a gingerbread, and making takoyaki:
Takoyaki (たこ焼き, “cooked octopus”) is a Japanese food that originates from the Kansai area (think Osaka and Kyoto) of Japan, and is hard to explain in English. If you tell someone that this is “cooked octopus balls”, it doesn’t sound very appetizing, the problem is the translation.
Takoyaki are small pastry-like things with a small sliver of octopus in there (like sushi), and cooked on special griddles that allow you to flip the little pastry balls when you need to:
We have a small griddle at home, and my wife will sometimes take it out to make takoyaki for the family. We call those nights takopa nights, short for takoyaki pātī (“takoyaki parties”),1 because the family can help prepare the ingredients, cook them together, and of course eat them together. My kid’s Japanese school also has summer festivals every year, with lots of takoyaki to go around. The preparation is a bit time-consuming, so not something you can do on a whim, only on special occasions.
You can top takoyaki with many things: mayonaise and Worcester sauce are the most common, but also shaved, dried bonito flakes (katsuo-bushi 鰹節), powered, dried seaweed (aonori 青のり), and more. You can also replace the octopus inside with cheese or ham depending on preference. The end result is delicious no matter what.
… and now I am going to enjoy my dinner. Itadakimasu!
P.S. Hard to see from the photo, but the plate features a pug and Christmas lights. My wife loves pugs. 🥰
P.P.S. Feeling a lot better than I did a couple days ago. I think the vaccines helped a lot to minimize symptoms, but it still felt like a pretty miserable head cold.
1 Japanese language tends to abbreviate by syllables a lot.