I've been reading up on Japanese sweets and tea lately. It started with this blog and the beautiful examples of wagashi that the author shows. Wagashi refers to the sweets and confectionary served with tea in Japan, usually involving mochi and/or sweet adzuki bean paste.
I'm not yet ready to try my hand at mochi, but I found a recipe for dora-yaki that seemed simple and quick to make so I tried it out last night.
Dora-yaki is sort of a pancake sandwich. The pancakes are about 4" in diameter (although I made mine smaller, about 2.5" because they are so sweet) and are very sweet and egg-y compared to what we're used to seeing for breakfast. The filling is chunky sweet adzuki (red) bean paste.
The recipe posted below is from about.com with a few adjustments. There is also a recipe for it in Japanese Cooking - A Simple Art that I plan to try next time I make these as it looks to be a little less sugary.
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1 cup flour, sifted
- 3/4 lb sweet azuki beans
Put eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk very well. Dissolve baking soda in water. Add the water in the egg mixture. Add sifted flour in the egg mixture gradually. Heat a skillet or hot plate and lightly oil it. Pour a scoop of the batter into the skillet and make a small pancake. Turn over when bubbles appear on the surface. Repeat this process to make 8-10 pancakes. Cool the pancakes. Divide pancakes into pairs, matching size and shape as best you can and put a 1 1/2 Tbsp red bean paste between each pair. Slice in half before serving.
Makes about five 4" dorayaki cakes or ten 2.5" cakes.
A note about the recipe: If you're used to making typical pancakes, it tempting to want to let these cook on the first side until bubbles appear and the sides of the top start to dry out. With dorayaki pancakes, do not wait for the sides to dry out or the pancake will most like burn. Be sure to flip them once the surface becomes bubbly.
Because of the moisture still present in the edges, these are a bit tougher to flip than breakfast pancakes. The easiest way I found to do this while preserving the round shape of the pancake was to slide a spatula under the pancake slightly, lifting it up enough to fit a chopstick underneath it. You can then lift the pancake with the chopstick, allowing you to slide the spatula far enough under the pancake to flip it properly.
The dora-yaki pictured here is accompanied by a cup of sencha green tea.
Sencha green tea is a slightly higher grade of tea from typical green tea (called bancha) or gen-maicha. Something to note when preparing sencha green tea is that the water should not be boiling when it is poured over the tea leaves. Instead, unplug the kettle and wait for the bubbles to stop before pouring it into the tea pot. The tea leaves should be removed after steeping for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.