Cooking time: 10-20 minutes
Servings: 50-60 pieces (4-5 persons)
Takoyaki ("octopus balls") are usually served at street stands, but they can also be made at home. However, it will help if you have a takoyaki grill, or a similar device with 3-centimeter-diameter cups.
1. Clean the konbu by wiping it lightly with a cloth.
2. Cut the konbu into 2-centimeter-wide partial strips against the grain, but don't cut all the way to the edge -- see illustration.
3. Add the water and konbu to a pot, and cook uncovered over a slow fire.
4. Just before the water starts to boil, remove the konbu from the pot. The liquid should be a light yellowish or greenish color.
5. Add shaved katsuobushi to the water as it starts to boil.
6. After the liquid has been boiling a minute or two, turn off the heat.
7. Quickly remove the shaved katsuobushi from the liquid with a filter or strainer or cloth. Try to remove the katsuobushi while it's still floating on the surface, before it has a chance to sink.
8. Allow the liquid to cool, then add the liquid, flour and eggs to a bowl and mix.
Make a small test batch of 4 or 5 takoyaki at first, to check the consistency of the batter. Add more flour or water as needed.
1. Oil the takoyaki pan.
2. Add pieces of chopped octopus to each cup.
3. Pour in the batter.
4. Add benishoga, negi and tenkasu to taste.
5. Cook the takoyaki pieces until they achieve the desired degree of firmness, turning them over frequently.
6. Remove from the pan and serve with sauce and/or mayonnaise.
These colorful chopstick rests in the shape of ripe vegetables will brighten up any Asian meal.
Our vegetable set of hashioki (chopstick rests) includes ripe tomato, crimson chili pepper, vibrant bitter gourd, plump eggplant and crisp carrot. It's the ideal set for an Asian meal and complements noodles, stir-fries or sushi.
In Japanese table etiquette, chopsticks should always be left on chopstick rests between bites.
In recent years, hashioki have become available in a huge range of shapes, colors and sizes. We've scoured the kitchenware shops of Kappabashi to come up with our own unique sets for discerning customers. [US$17, €15]
Pack your lunch in an old-fashioned Japanese kura storehouse.
This adorable bento lunchbox is shaped like a Japanese kura storehouse. The design is based on the traditional architecture of tiled roof, white walls on the upper story, and black-slate patterned lower level.
The two-story building and separate roof compartment are big enough to fit a hearty lunch for a hungry student or office worker. Use the two box compartments for main and side dishes, sandwich and salad, or rice and toppings, and pop some candy or a snack in the roof. [US$29, €26]