Monday, January 14, 2013

Takoyaki pans are Aebleskiver pans...

Or are they?

True Story!

It is pancake season for sure out here in the great NorthWet.  Over my son's winter break we tried for 14 - only made 11.  Stupid Norovirus.

But an interesting detour along the way.  The Aebleskiver.  The pan.

Get the real cast-iron version.
Then it doubles as home-protection...
and heats and creates the crispy shell better.

Drop a bit-o-butter in each cup, fill the cups most of the way up, maybe add a filling (chocolate chips are always good), wait for a crust to form on the bottom, and the, use toothpicks or skewers to roll the ball over.  And wait for the crust to form all golden brown on the other side.  Add toppings (powdered sugar - always good).

Then a trip to Uwajimaya and the Fresh Takoyaki stand!  (if you search "takoyaki" on the Uwajimaya page it'll give you the dates.)

Takoyaki caught my eye when I saw them being tediously turned over with two little skewers.  At home I usually use tooth picks, but the actions looked so much the same I couldn't help but make the comparison.
The wells are smaller, there's more of them, and
 the batter gets spread around quite a bit more.
And the list of fillings is impressive:
Along with the boiled, cubed octopus, there is
dried shrimp and, red pickled ginger (the savory type, not sweet)
and the scallions.
Or if you're feeling Hawaiian - they have Spam.

(What is Takoyaki?  An octopus aebleskiver of course.  OK, not quite, but it is a little ball of pan-fried  goodness - savory rather than sweet.  And much like the aebleskiver best enjoyed hot off the pan.)

I had had takoyaki in a restaurant once before.  Not as good.  They had cooled a bit, the toppings had soaked in, and the crunch on the outside had dimmed.  The secret is getting this at a stand or food cart - so they finish frying, pop on the extremely decorative toppings (Japanese mayonnaise, Takoyaki sauce or other dark sweet sauce, bonito flakes -officially, "katsuobushi"- AND nori flakes), and hand it over piping hot.

And then you eat it!

Now - here's where the debate comes in... can one make takoyaki in an aebleskiver pan - or is the aebleskiver cup just too big?
I'll agree that too much of the chewy soft dough might be a problem, but there they were, alongside the  single purpose electric, table top grills for takoyaki, aebleskiver pans packaged as Takoyaki pans.

So they may not be AS good, but I bet takoyaki follows the rue of all other foods you can make yourself, but are kind of a pain.

1. BEST: Made by experts with all the exact right equipment and lots of practice.
2. Pretty Darn Good:  Bumble through a few attempts and then get pretty good!
3. Whoops!  Try the frozen/packaged/pre-made version, and then realize you were doing pretty well, and it is worth the trouble.  Go back to trying it yourself when you really have a hankerin' and the experts aren't selling.

Extra Bonus - My aebleskiver pan is no longer a uni-tasker Alton Brown!
I'm not counting home defense.  That's just too silly.

P.S. Takoyaki are an outgrowth of okonomiyaki - a flat Japanese pancake... so see, the pancake challenge is bubbling under the surface.


Anonymous said...

Oh, that sounds so good! Living in the land of æbelskiver (aebelskiver) pans, I just might be able to do that.

Greta said...

I've been messing around with this a bit more. There is no law that says you MUST fill the wells of the aebelskiver pan up all the way. Filling to only 1/2 full makes a smaller ball, and then the proportions actually work out!
Geometry - oddly useful.

Luci said...

Glad I found your post. I was wondering what the difference is between aebleskiver and takoyaki and now I understand it's all about size.

Off to check out the Alton Brown link and dig up what the lowly cook has to say about these pans and how to multitask with them. Then I'll be off to Amazon to get me one of these.

natzsm said...

My problem is the other way around.

I have a Takoyaki pan and I was wondering whether I could make Aebliskivers on them. They might be small and I may not be able to put in some filling. :)

Greta said...

I'd say go for it.
I have yet to meet some one who said - oh, this tiny version of food - I cannot accept it.
As far as filling - you absolutely should be able to fill them. Just smaller bits of things.
After all, takoyaki is ALL about the filling.
And definitely stick with the skewers for turning.

jovanna samad said...

So they have different sizes of takoyaki and they do use the larged sized aebleskiver pans! The larger the pan cups just usea well heated pan, thinner batter and low steady heat. And make sure the pan in well seasoned. In the larger pans they use 3 pieces of tako or whole baby octopus. Another use for it would be corndog poppers 2 or three pieces of cut up hot dogs and cornbread batter with an extra egg for better structure for turning them around and yum! I even make pizza ones with some thinned out bisquick pepperoni minis or quarters a cube of FROZEN cheese, or the cheese will melt into the batter and it can get messy and a teaspoon of pizza sauce.

Greta said...

Oh... well, now I'm hungry again. But you've given me great ideas. Dill aebelskiver with pickled beet chunks to go with smoked salmon, smoked fish and horseradish ... for starters.

(And thanks for the frozen cheese tip)

Ynaffit said...

I was wondering the opposite! I live in japanese and recently purchased a takoyaki pan. I W's hoping I could make aebleaskivers in my takoyaki pan!!

Ynaffit said...

Sorry, I live in Japan.... And Siri is not a helpful spellchecker!!

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Lorena Vila Real said...

Your post helped me a lot! As some people commented above, my issue is the same: I can easily find in my country Takoyaki pans but not aeblekiver pans... So I was wondering what was the real difference, because buy on eBay would be too expensive for me (the cost of the product is not so expensive, but the shipping is). So, again, thank you. And sorry for my bad English, as you can see it is not my first language.

Greta said...

All my non-first languages are worse! Thanks for reaching out, and good luck with your adorable, mini-aebelskivers. I bet they will be delicious.

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George Matzen said...

I've just recently started making these (both Aebleskivers and Takoyaki) because my parents were going to get rid of an old Aebleskiver pan which they had inherited years ago and not known what to do with.

I started with Takoyaki for Super Bowl 2018 and realized quickly that i should have praticed before having guests because the first batch burnt pretty bad and that made the second batch stick. :P Culinary adventures. Right? Anyway, even with the charred outside the Takoyaki all disappeared so they do work but they aren't small enough to be single bite food like they are intended.

Overall I think that if you had to chose between an an Aebleskiver Pan and a Takoyaki Pan the smaller cups of the Takoyaki Pan are probably the way to go, though either will produce good results with a little effort and practice.

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