Try your hand at homemade takoyaki
by Robert Estel
In Japan there are varieties of foods to cook, and with that, a variety of gadgets to cook them with. So let’s take a look at some of the gadgets that cook those quaint Japanese dishes oh so well.
First off, one of the arguably most interesting foods to come out of Japan is takoyaki. Takoyaki, or octopus balls, as they are fondly call in English, originate from the Kansai region of Japan, and are generally hit or miss due to the little batter ball’s contents, which mainly consists of octopus bits. Traveling throughout Japan you may see stands where people fry up these balls of tentacle joy, but you too can make these at home with a do-it-yourself takoyaki kit. Grab some takoyaki mix, sauce, and whatever you’d like to stick in your octopus balls and fry away. While you won’t look as cool as the guys doing it in the street, you’ll at least be able to have fun making them yourself. Sugiyama provides an excellent DIY kit, the Takoyaki Kojo TonTon, for ¥10,000. Their products can be found at www.sugimetal.jp/2614_2650.htm (Japanese only).
However, for those who want to not only make octopus balls, but everything all at once, then Zojirushi has the solution for you. The YakiYaki Sanmai (seriously, who comes up with these names?) will not only make you takoyaki, but everything else that you care to yaku. The YakiYaki Sanmai is a hot plate featuring interchangeable plates that can be used for not only octopus balls, but for frying vegetables, meats, okonomiyaki, soba, and anything else you can throw at it. It features a main frying dish that you can then add separate plates to fry with depending on your food. Best of all? It folds up into a briefcase for easy storing, or traveling for when the mood hits you for a spontaneous yakiniku party at your friend’s house.
This all in one hotplate will keep you out of the kitchen as you can cook in your living room, but it will set you back a cool ¥25,500. For those who would rather buy takoyaki rather than creating them at home, you can buy the simple YakiYaki hotplate set for ¥21,000, sans takoyaki plate. For further information you can see Zojirushi’s line-up at www.zojirushi.co.jp/syohin/02tablecook/01list.html (again, Japanese only)
However, with all this cooking comes the inevitable trash. For those living alone you may not have enough trash to fill a large bag, but when cooking for many equals trash for many. Those looking for a trash can to fit the occasion need look no further then the Yukka Bin. This trash cash extends to three levels, allowing you to adjust it to fit your disposal needs. In particular, for those with families, the first level will work well for children, while being able to up it to a full three levels for family size garbage. It comes in white, accented with either green, grey, or orange, and has recently dropped in price to ¥4,778. Take a peek at cataloger.jp for further information and pictures.