grilled squid (ikayaki) japanese food recipe

What is Ikayaki (Grilled Squid)?

Ikayaki (いか焼き) is a popular Japanese street food and snack that features grilled or broiled whole squid, seasoned with a sweet and savory sauce. The name “ikayaki” is a combination of “ika” (meaning squid) and “yaki” (meaning grilled or broiled).

The preparation of ikayaki involves the following steps:

  1. Whole Squid: The main ingredient is a small whole squid, usually cleaned and gutted, but with the head and tentacles intact. The squid is scored with diagonal cuts to create a diamond pattern on the surface, allowing the seasoning to penetrate and the squid to cook more evenly.
  2. Seasoning: The squid is typically brushed or basted with a sauce made from a mixture of soy sauce, mirin (sweet rice wine), sugar, and sometimes other ingredients like garlic, ginger, or sake. The sauce adds a delightful sweet and savory glaze to the squid as it cooks.
  3. Grilling or Broiling: The seasoned squid is then grilled or broiled over an open flame or on a hot griddle until it becomes tender and slightly charred. The high heat helps caramelize the sauce, enhancing the flavor of the dish.

Once cooked, the ikayaki is often served on a stick or skewer, making it convenient to eat as a finger food. It is a popular snack at Japanese festivals, food stalls, and outdoor events.

Ikayaki is appreciated for its unique taste and texture, with the tender and slightly chewy squid complemented by the rich and savory sauce. It offers a delightful combination of sweet and salty flavors that appeal to many palates. For those who enjoy seafood and street food, ikayaki is a must-try when exploring Japanese culinary delights.

How to make Grilled Squid (Ikayaki)

Click on the thumbnail or to watch my cooking video.