Takoyaki, you say?  Never heard of it right?  Your not alone, its not something you see normally on Japanese menus here in america.  Takoyaki is a street food in japan that normally consists of a little dumpling stuffed with Octopus, traditionally speaking.  The batter is normally made with dashi and dried bonito flakes along with green onions.  I recently went to the local asian market where they sell the specially made takoyaki pans, the one I bought is cast iron but they sell a variety of different ones online including non stick electric.  These are great little appetizers that can be created in a variety of ways.  You can get very creative and stuff the dumplings with what ever you fee like.  I'm actually going to include two recipes in one because I've made some with duck legs a few weeks ago with minor differences.  Here is the recipe for braised short rib takoyaki

Short ribs

3 lbs short ribs  (6 duck legs if using duck)

1 onion

1 finger of ginger sliced

4 cloves of garlic

1 leek

1/2 cup of soy sauce

1/2 cup of orange juice

1/2 cup of gochujang paste

1/4 cup of black vinegar

1/4 cup of mirin

2 jalapenos

2 carrots

4 cups of water

2 tbsp of sesame oil

Any scraps of mushroom stems, green onions, peppers can also be added to the braise if you have them

2 tbsp of corn starch 

2 tbsp of water

 

Takoyaki batter

1 2/3 cup of dashi or beef stock (duck stock if making with duck legs)

1 1/2 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp of soy sauce

Optional is bonito flakes, green onoins, and shredded nori

 

Garnish

1//4 cup of sweet soy sauce

1/2 cup of reduced braising liquid

1/2 cup of miso mayo

1/4 cup of chopped green onions

1/2 cup of garnish  Noritamago Furikake or make your own (2 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds, 2 tbsp of bonito flakes, 2 tbsp of chopped nori, 2 tbsp of green onions chopped,  2 tbsp of hard boiled egg yolk.

 

In a pressure cooker or braising pot add sesame oil and short ribs (or duck legs).  Sear for 3 minutes on each side and then add all of the vegetables (onion, carrot, leek, garlic, ginger, etc.) and cook for 1 minute.  Then add your orange juice, mirin, and vinegar.  Reduce that by half and then add your soy sauce and gochujang paste. Add your water and place your pressure cooker top and seal according to your instructions.  Bring to high pressure and cook for 50 minutes and then release the pressure.   If you using a regular pot.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cover.  Cook for approximately 2 1/2 hours or until tender.   Strain of the liquid from the short ribs, ladle any of the fat from the top of the liquid off and discard.  Place the liquid in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Take the corn starch slurry (water and cornstarch) and thicken the braising liquid.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning if needed and set aside.  

Take the meat off of the bone discarding the bones and any fat.  Season with a little salt and 4 oz of the thickened braising liquid.  Set aside.

 

For the Takoyaki batter

Take 1 2/3 cup of dashi (fish broth) or beef stock or duck stock if cooking duck legs and place in a bowl.  If using home made stock that is gelatinous then bring to a liquid state but not hot.  Then add soy sauce, pinch of salt to the stock and stir.  Mix flour and baking powder together in a bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the stock mixture.  Stir until well incorporated.

To make the takoyaki, simply place your pan over medium heat and let it warm up for 3-5 minutes.  Then spray or brush a little oil into each one of the dumpling circles.  Ladle about 2 ounces of batter in each dumpling mold.  Then take a small spoonful of short ribs and place in the middle.  Don't worry if the batter comes outside of the dumpling mold.  Let it cook for 3-4 minutes and then using chopped sticks or skewers flip the dumplings over folding any of the excess batter underneath the dumpling.  Cook for another 2 minutes.  Then place on to a plate.

Finish the dumplings by garnish them with a drizzle of thickened braising liquid, sweet soy, miso mayo, noritamago, and green onions 

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