JAPANESE RED BEAN PANCAKE
Before I became vegan I did try a dorayaki in Kyoto but after becoming vegan over 12 years ago now I’ve been trying to replicate it. I’ve been trying for many years but getting the pancake to have that golden honey flavour and castella cake consistency was pretty tricky to make vegan using no eggs.
So what is a dorayaki and what’s the origin behind this iconic treat loved by children and adults alike ? Dora (どら) means “gong” and yaki (焼き) means fry.
Dorayaki is a Japanese cake usually made with two slightly raised round pancake like castella patties with azuki bean paste filling in the middle. Other fillings such as fresh cream, custard cream or chocolate cream can be used as an alternative.
The original dorayaki consisted of only one layer with the edges folded over so they were square and the bean paste could be seen on one side.
Legend has it that the first dorayaki were made when Mushashibo Benkei (a Japanese warrior monk) became injured, and received treatment at a farmers house. Benkei forgot his gong (dora) upon leaving the farmer’s home where he was hiding, and the farmer subsequently used the gong to fry pancakes. Others stories say that Benkei after receiving treatment by the farmer showed his gratitude by making dorayaki on his gong.
It is said that the current method of using two pieces of castella to sandwich the bean paste was the idea of the Japanese cake shop in Ueno Tokyo called ‘Usagi-ya’ which was founded in 1914, and this method became popular around Japan.
Like I mentioned I have not before managed to recreate the likeness of a dorayaki because of the use of eggs and honey.
However when I saw a vegan scrambled egg alternative and a liquid egg alternative new on the market I set about experimenting.
You may not have where you are what I finally used but maybe you could find something similar.
I settled for using the vegan egg alternative by OGGS. Even though it says for scrambled eggs it makes the pancake nice and fluffy and more like a cake.
I also used vegan honea by plant based artisan.
If you use the vegan egg alternative you will have enough left to make my pan pudding recipe inspired by “The Makanai”.
For the sweet red bean paste known as anko there are two types. Tsubuan (chunky paste) and Koshian (fine paste). You can use which ever you like.
Recipe for Vegan Dorayaki
All you need to make x4 dorayaki is:
150ml of OGGS scrambled egg alternative
100ml of water
100gm of caster sugar
1 tablespoons of vegan honey (or alternative like maple syrup or agave)
Add the above ingredients to a bowl and give it all a good whisk.
Add to a separate bowl:
160gm of sifted plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Give it a mix.
You will also need some neutral oil (I like to use Tiana coconut butter), kitchen towel, a nonstick frying pan and something to pour your batter into the pan with (I used a 1/3 measuring cup). You will also need some anko for your filling.
Add the vegan egg mixture to the flour and give it all a good mix. Your batter should be thick but runny enough to fall off a spoon with ease for a nice batter consistency.
Heat up your frying pan and add a little oil then wipe it off with kitchen towel ( you do not want an oily pan)
Then give your mixture another whisk then scoop up your batter with the measuring cup and pour the batter a few inches up from the pan. I found each time I used just under 1/3 of a cup of batter for each dorayaki. Pour until you get a nice round shape with the batter. Leave a few minutes until little bubbles start to appear then flip over the pancake and cook for a further minute. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Repeat the process again adding a little oil and wiping it off before you pour each batter.
Continue until all your batter has been used.
Then add bean paste to one pancake adding more filling to the middle so you get the domed shape. Then place another on top.
Press round the edges to seal. I find they taste better left until they are completely cold. You can wrap them when they are cool in clingfilm and eat them the next day or they are good to freeze and then defrost.
Hope you can try making them and enjoy with a Japanese tea. Or why not take them for a treat during hanami season.
Do you know the Japanese anime and manga character Doraemon a character from the 1970s, created by Fujiko F. Fujio ? A robotic cat that travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a preteen boy named Nobita.
Dorayaki are also known as the favourite food of the cat robot. Doraemon is addicted to dorayaki and falls for any trap involving them. You may of even grown up watching it on tv and dorayaki may give you a feeling of nostalgia eating them.
I also recommend a 2015 film “Sweet Bean” by director Naomi Kawase’s. This exquisite film is based on a novel by Durian Sukegawa.
The film is about Sentari who runs a shop where he makes and sells dorayaki pancakes filled with sweet bean paste. He advertises for an assistant, Tokue, a 76-year-old woman responds. After tasting the sweet bean paste that Tokue makes, Sentari is astonished. A lovely heartwarming film.