Takoyaki ??? No.2

Posted on Oct 12, 2009 in Hiroko's Blog

During Takoyaki and Poffertjes search I also found the existence of additional Poffertjes-like dish.  It is Indian Paniyaram.  Paniyaram is rounder like Takoyaki but the use of aromatic spices and chutney sauce makes Paniyaram a very distinctive and different cousin of Takoyaki.  You can google Paniyaram and you will find a video in which an Indian guy showing how to cook Paniyaram.Now how do I prove that the Dutch Poffertjes inspired us and Indians to create Takoyaki in Japan and Paniyaram in India.  Or, did Dutch take Indian Paniyaram and bring it to the Netherlands?  My initial Internet search on Takoyaki history was not promising, since in one site it says that the predecessor of Takoyaki was invented in the city of Osaka, Japan, around 1933.  Now my excitement was shrinking.  The birth place of Takoyaki and the year of invention does not have much to do with Dutch influence.  Osaka is far away from Nagasaki and the invention year, 1933 is 65 years after the unique period of Dutch access to Japan.

Now I have stopped my on line search because there is a limitation on what I seem to be able to find on the Internet – of course, challenging today’s idea that EVERYTHING and ANYTHING can be found on the Internet.  I need to look into relaiable books and other works that have information on Takoyaki history.  In order to do so, I need to be in Japan to go to a “real”, not electronic, library.  Thought, I am suspending this project temporarily, but I welcome your stories about Poffertjes, Takoyaki and Paniyaram.  Maybe we can jointyly solve the riddle – or maybe I am just wrong in my supposition that there is a relathinship between these three similar sytreet foods.  If you are out in CIA’s Conference let’s me have your opinion!

On the Internet I did however find that the special skillets to prepare Pofferytjes, Takoyaki and Paniyaram are readily available along with recipes.  I may invest in one of the skillets and start enjoying these mysterious, delicious snacks at home.  I think I can use the same skillet for all three, reinforcing my feeling that there must be a connection among these delicious snacks!

Here is the Takoyaki recipe:

3 large eggs

4 cups ice-cold dashi (Japanese fish stock); substitute – chicken stock

10 ounces cake flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

40 pieces boiled octopus, cut into 3/4″ cubes

1 cup tenkasu (bits of deep-fried tempura batter)

1 cup sliced scallion

1/2 cup beni-shoga (salt pickled, red-tainted ginger), julienned

Vegetable oil

Aonori freshwater seaweed

Katsuobushi (fish flakes)

Break eggs in a bowl and add & mix with ice-cold fish stock.  Add flour little by little and mix thoroughly with a whisk.  Add sea salt and mix.  Rest batter half a day.

Heat the Takoyaki  skillet and oil the surface of each depression with vegetable oil.  Add one octopus piece into each depression and pour in batter.  Sprinbkle tenkasu, beni-shoga and scallion over each depression.  Cook batter until the bottom is dry and golden, and you can flip it over.  Using a long pointed bamboo skewer, flip each ball.  Continue cooking until the other side is dry.  Repeat this process serveral times until Takoyaki is perfectly round and golden on all side.  Remove Takoyaki from the skillet and arrange them on a serving plate.  Brush the top of pancakes with Takoyaki sauce (available at Japanese and Asian stores) and sprinkle aonori and fish flakes on top.