There are various ways to hold a get along event with your friends at home, and one of my favorites is the Tako-Pa or Takoyaki Party. Takoyaki party, as we can guess from the name, is basically a meet-up event where people gather usually at one home to make their own takoyaki using takoyaki pans. Tako-pa becomes my favorite gathering event because it is fast (little time needed to prepare), fun (you can add creativity into your takoyaki filling), and also fair (everybody can take part in the cooking!).
Takoyaki（たこ焼き) is one famous round Japanese snack containing pieces of octopus (たこ, tako). Takoyaki can be literally translated to “octopus (tako) fried (yaki)”. It was originated by Tomekichi Endo (遠藤留吉) in Osaka around 1935, and since then became popular around Japan. Takoyaki is made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. The common takoyaki are filled with diced octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), ginger, and spring onion.
It is common for Japanese people to throw and hold a party in their home, inviting friends, family, or colleagues. Some parties that you might have heard before, of course the drinking party, where people gather to drink boxes of beer all night long, and the nabe party, which usually held in winter in order to feel warm by filling up your stomach with veggies and meat cooked in a hotpot. Takoyaki party, is popular in many areas in Japan, but it seems that the culture of throwing a takoyaki party is more frequent in the Kansai region.
1. Invite your friends
You or one of your friends, has to be the organizer of the tako-pa. You can start inviting your friends by using group chat in social media. It is the most common way Japanese people use when they want to create an event.
2. Prepare the cooking tools
First thing first. When you want to have a takoyaki party, you should have at least one takoyaki pan. Without a takoyaki pan, it would not be a takoyaki party. There are two common types of takoyaki pan: the cast iron pan and the electronic takoyaki pan. You can find it at the electronic shops or online. Another important thing to provide is the takoyaki pick. It looks similar to a toothpick but longer and a little thicker. Usually when making takoyaki, one person has to use two takoyaki sticks to make rolling easier.
3. Prepare the ingredients
To make a Japanese style takoyaki, here are the list of ingredients you will need.
Takoyaki batter and filling ingredients
- 3.5 – 5 oz (100 – 145g) octopus (cooked)
- ¼ cup (4g) katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) and more for garnish
- 1 cup (5.3 oz/150g) all-purpose flour or takoyaki flour (you can get them easily in most supermarket)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kombucha (or ½ tsp. salt)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1⅔ cup dashi stock
- ½ cup finely chopped green onion
- ⅓ cup Tenkasu (tempura scraps)
- Dried green seaweed
- Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
- Takoyaki sauce
- Pickled red ginger
Optional filling to take the takoyaki party to the next level
- Marshmallow, candies, chocolate, chili, garlic, etc. for tako-jackpot!
- Cut octopus into bite-size pieces.
- Add dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (flour, baking powder, katsuobushi).
- Whisk all together.
- In a different bowl, whisk eggs and soy sauce.
- Add egg to the flour mixture, and add dashi stock, whisk together.
- When the pan is ready, pour the batter and fill the bowls. No worries to overflow the bowl because you can roll it together with the ball-shaped batter later.
- Add the filling, sprinkle spring onion and tempura scraps.
- After about 3 minutes, when the bottom part of the batter has hardened, break the connected batter between each bowl using takoyaki picks. Turn the ball pieces 180 degrees. After you finish flipping, wait for around 3-4 minutes until it all cooked well and browned.
- Put the cooked takoyaki in a plate and pour takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, dried seaweed, and katsuobushi.
To make your party full of laughter, you can have a kind of tako-jackpot game. Make a session where only one or two people cook the takoyaki while the other guest can do something else and not watch the tako-making. The cooker can put any kind of filling inside the tako (make it unusual such as candies, marshmallow, chocolate, or spicy filling). Later on when it’s done, get all the guests to pick their takoyaki and find out who gets the tako-jackpot!