Taiyaki is a classic Japanese street food that is super fun and cute, simple to eat undeniably delicious!
This quintessential Japanese snack is a fish-shaped waffle that is traditionally filled with red bean paste (called Anko). When Taiyaki is freshly made, Taiyaki has a crisp outside with a warm, soft and slightly sweet inside with the smooth red bean filling.
Taiyaki, pronounce "Tai-Yah-Key", means “baked sea bream” named after a Japanese saltwater fish called tai. Tiakayi is commonly filled with Anko but there are a variety of fillings that can be used such as custard, chocolate, nutella, or opened up on one side a filled with ice cream!
What Is Anko?
Anko, also known as An, is a Japanese sweet red bean paste made from azuki beans. Azuki or Adzuki, which means "small beans" in Japanese, are commonly used in Asian pastries and desserts such as our Chinese Moon Cakes. The most common way to make sweet red bean paste is to boil and then sweetening the paste with sugar. The paste can either have a chunky or fine, smooth texture. The paste have two different names base on how it is made and whether the paste has a chunky or a very fine, smooth texture. We want to make the Taiyaki luxurious (haha!) so we chose to make Koshian.
Tsubuan – The paste has a chunky texture with bean shapes still intact.
Koshian – The paste has a fine, smooth texture.
HOW DO YOU GET THE TAI FISH-SHAPE FOR THE TAIYAKI?
We use a special Taiyaki Fish-shaped Pancake pan to make that special shape below. The pan is coated with butter on each side with a silicone brush and then batter is poured onto one side and then after a few minutes flipped over to cook the other side.
Watch our Video Tutorial on How to Make Taiyaki:
JAPANESE TAIYAKI RECIPE WITH RED BEAN FILLING
FOR THE RED BEAN PASTE (Anko) :
1 cup sweet red beans (Azuki beans also known as Adzuki beans)
1 cup sugar
5-6 cups Water, as needed
FOR THE TAIYAKI BATTER:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk 1 large egg
Sweet Red Bean Paste (Koshian)
Rinse azuki beans and transfer the drained red beans into a place into a medium sauce pan.
Pour boiling water over the bean until filled 1 inch above azuki beans and allow to sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, discard the water and put the azuki beans back into the same pot.
Pour 2 1/2 cups of water and boil at medium to high heat for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom for burning or drying out.
After 15 minutes, Pour an additional 2 cups of water and boil again at medium to high heat for 15 minutes.
Once the water reaches the level of the beans, add the sugar and pinch of salt and simmer on low to medium heat for an additional 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally as it is simmering. The consistency will be come thicker. Once the beans are soft, remove from heat.
Transfer the beans to a food processor and blend until the beans become a fine paste.
Next, push the red bean paste through a sieve. This will remove any clumps and skins from the paste resulting in a very smooth texture.
Divide the red bean paste into 25 gm portions and mold each portion into a 3-inch long roll, set aside and cover all the rolls with saran wrap.
Sift the flour and baking powder in a large bowl and create a well (crater) in the center of mixture.
In a separate medium bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together and then pour it into the well of flour.
Combine them until the mixture is full incorporated. Do not overmix this batter.
Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Heat the taiyaki pan over low-medium heat, brush the insides with butter or cooking spray, both top and bottom.
Pour about 2 Tbs of batter on one side of the pan.
Place a roll of red bean paste in middle of the batter and pour more batter on top of the red bean paste (approximately 2 Tbsp of batter). Be sure to cover over the red bean paste filling.
Cover with the top half of the pan and cook for 3 to 5 minutes over low heat. Flip over and cook the other side fo another 3 to 5 minutes.
When both sides have cooked, the Taiyaki can be gently removed from the pan. Repeat the process until all batter and red bean paste has been used.
If you're not using the red bean paste immediately, you can transfer the red bean paste in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to use, you can defrost in the refrigerator overnight.