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Japanese Ikayaki (Grilled Squid) Recipe

Japanese Ikayaki (Grilled Squid) Recipe

Ikayaki is a Japanese street food consisting of squid grilled in a soy sauce glaze and served on a stick or sliced on a plate.  This food is an easily transportable snack and is popular in street food markets and at summer festivals all across Japan. 

The term ‘ikayaki’ meaning grilled squid, actually has several variations of the same name. The classic version of this dish is the one often seen at summer festivals, where whole squids are roasted on grill plates and brushed in a sauce before being stuck on a stick and handed to the customer, where they will eat it as they peruse the many other stalls. 

Another variation is the one served in Japanese izakayas, or intimate bar-restaurants that serve as the center of Japanese drinking culture. In izakayas, ikayaki is often served with lemon and mayonnaise as a dipping sauce and will be cut in a way similar to Italian calamari when served. 

Lastly is the version from Osaka, Japan’s street food capital. This ikayaki resembles the other famous Osaka street food, okonomiyaki, in the way that it is cut into pieces and bound together with egg and other ingredients. This version of ikayaki is often eaten at the small sit-down food stalls that line Osaka market streets. 

Origin & Cultural Significance

While Ikayaki remains a simple dish, it is part of a long tradition of Japanese festival food. In a country known for its fast pace and convenient lifestyle, these quick and easy dishes are great for those in a rush.  

Around the 17th and 18th centuries, large Japanese cities like Osaka were beginning to become hubs of population and commerce. As the fast city lifestyle began to develop, customers increasingly sought cheap and convenient foods. It became increasingly popular to create dishes that could be held in your hand or eaten off of a stick.

With Japanese cities such as Osaka’s proximity to the ocean, fresh squid was an easy ingredient to fit these consumer needs, and thus ikayaki was born.

Ikayaki on a plate

Japanese Ikayaki Recipe

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ikayaki is a Japanese street food consisting of squid grilled in a soy sauce glaze and served on a stick or sliced on a plate.


  • Squid, cleaned and whole - 1 lb
  • Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Fresh ginger, grated - 2 tsp
  • Red miso paste - 1 tbsp
  • Sake - 1 tbsp
  • Mirin - 2 tbsp
  • Vegetable oil - 2 tbsp


  1. Begin by marinating the squid. Combine ginger, soy sauce, miso paste, and mirin in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. 
  2. Place the squid in the bowl and evenly coat in the marinate. Place inside the refrigerator and let marinate for 20 minutes. 
  3. After the 20 minutes have passed, remove the squid from the marinade and set the remaining marinade in the bowl aside for later use. 
  4. In a large pan over medium-high heat, rub oil into the pan on a paper towel. 
  5. Place the squid in the pan and cook on both sides for 5 minutes each. 
  6. Add in the marinade and continue cooking for 2 minutes on each side, until the marinade begins to reduce and turns into a thick sauce. 
  7. Remove from heat and slice crosswise down the body. Serve with lemon and mayonnaise.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 803Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 1057mgSodium: 2592mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 76g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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