Dorayaki is essentially sweet red bean paste that is sandwiched with light and spongy palm-sized pancakes. It is also known to be Doraemon’s favorite food.
Do you know this food? When I was in elementary school, I liked to watch cartoon series called Doraemon (ドラえもん). They were aired at a well-known local TV channel every weekend, so most people in my generation should know this cartoon. The story revolves around a robotic cat named Doraemon, who travels back in time from the 21st century to aid a boy named Nobita. Do you know where the name Doraemon comes from? Dora is actually one of the author’s international pun and Doraemon could never resist the temptation of Dorayaki. Since then, I have been curious how dorayaki tastes like. Fortunately, making dorayaki is quite simple, just pretty much like making some sweet fluffy pancakes and stuff them with some hearty filling.
What is Dorayaki?
Dorayaki is actually one of the most famous traditional snacks in Japan. This sweet snack is usually enjoyed as an after-school snack or as a tea-time cake. It is essentially some sweet red bean paste called anko, which sandwiched between two small pancakes. The pancakes are most like castella, a Japanese sponge cake, than the classic pancakes we used to.
The original Dorayaki actually consists of only one layer. Perhaps it is sandwiched in two pancakes to make it easier to eat. Other than the classic sweet red bean paste, the filling has evolved to have many other different flavors right now. The custard cream, chestnuts, and cream filling are also popular in Japan. Nowadays, there are also many versions where the pancakes are altered with flavors, such as matcha and chocolate pancakes.
Tips on Making Dorayaki
You might think making dorayaki seems easy like making regular pancakes After all it does look like them and the ingredients are similar. Do not be fooled, because it might take some time for you to perfect the recipe. Here are some tips to make perfect dorayaki.
1. Do not over-mix the batter
The more you mix the batter, the more gluten molecules develop. Hence, over-mixing the batter will make tougher and chewier dorayaki. To achieve light and fluffy dorayaki, you want to mix your pancake batter as little as possible. Just enough to incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry.
2. Use a good non-stick pan
Making perfect pancakes requires a foolproof recipe and the right tools. A good non-stick pan is absolutely essential for quick heat distribution and even cooking, plus the perfect surface area to achieve perfectly brown dorayaki.
3. Wipe off excess oil on the frying pan
Just like the process of making pancakes, we need to combine the ingredients, pour ladles onto a hot frying pan, flip when ready and cook until golden brown. I think the hardest part of making dorayaki is how to get them evenly brown color on the outer surface. If there is too much oil or butter on the frying pan, there will be uneven spots on it. It is still tasty but does not look like how dorayaki should be. The trick is to wipe off the excess oil on the frying pan with a paper towel to achieve that look.
4. Swap the filling
The classic dorayaki is essentially sweet red bean paste which is sandwiched between two palm-sized pancakes. You can find the canned red bean paste easily at the grocery store. For a healthier option, you can also make Red Bean Paste at home from my previous recipe. What I like about homemade red bean paste is how I can control the texture and sweetness of the filling. Moreover, the ready-made paste sold in the grocery stores usually contains preservatives, food coloring, and oil. If you do not like red bean paste, you can swap the filling with anything you like, from your favorite jam to the cream filling.
More Japanese Snack Recipes
While you are here, don’t forget to check out these Japanese snack recipes!