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Taiyaki is a hot fish-shaped cake with red bean filling that is a popular street seller food in Japan. In Japan, this waffle-like delicacy is highly popular during street fairs and festivals. I’ll teach you how to prepare fresh, hot Vegan Taiyaki at home in this tutorial.
What exactly is Taiyaki?
Taiyaki (鯛焼き) is a fish-shaped dessert or snack filled with delicious red bean paste called azuki. You’ll see it made using a fish-shaped metal form during street fairs and festivals.
“Sea bream” (a kind of fish) is referred to as “tai,” while “yaki” refers to grilled or baked food. Then you mix them together, and voila: taiyaki.
Although the name means “baked sea bream,” this dessert is actually a delicious treat in the shape of a fish. So don’t worry if you don’t like fish; there are no fish tastes in this meal!
Why is Taiyaki shaped like a fish?
The first taiyaki metal form was circular. It was (and still is) used to make Imagawayaki, which is similar to Taiyaki but has a round form
Tai (sea bream) was an extremely costly fish during the Meiji period (1868–1922), and it was only eaten on rare occasions. Though it is unknown whose sweet shops originated the fad, they decided to convert the snack’s circular form mold to a sea bream shape form. Thus, the sea-bream-shaped cake was born, quickly becoming a major hit.
Taiyaki fillings come in a variety of flavors
The content in taiyaki might vary based on the individual’s preferences. The red bean paste filling, known colloquially as an or Anko, is preferred by the majority of Japanese residents.
The “traditional” filling for taiyaki is red bean puree. It’s created using sweet adzuki beans, which make an excellent sweet and sugary combination.
It’s produced by melting sugar into cooked red beans in a pot until a glossy paste develops.
Another commercially successful filling that isn’t vegan is custard. It’s a yellow sweet pastry cream prepared with eggs, milk or cream, and flour. It’s a rich vanilla-flavored cream that works well as an alternative for red bean paste in taiyaki.
For a more Westernized/American variant of this wonderful dessert, some folks choose to use Nutella. Though you will need a Vegan replacement for Nutella in this recipe, Nutella does not require any extra prep if you do use it. Simply place it as a filler in the fish, and it will dissolve into delicious bliss.
Ingredients & Replacements for Vegan Taiyaki
Taiyaki is made using very simple and conventional ingredients:
- Baking powder: This is used to create a puffy consistency.
- Baking soda: This ingredient aids in browning and structure.
- Flour for cakes and pastries: For that smooth feel, a gluten-free flour is essential. If using all-purpose flour, replace corn or potato starch with two tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Rice flour is utilized to make a gluten-free variant. Check out the recipe down below!
- Sugar: The most popular sugar substitutes are cane sugar and honey (both of which are not vegan). Maple syrup or agave nectar could also be good ideas to try.
- Soy milk: I discovered that soy milk is the ideal non-dairy milk for preparing taiyaki since it has a greater fat and protein composition, which aids in the puffy, juicy consistency.
- Salt: To make the delicacy even sweeter! Because eggs are normally added to the batter, it has a somewhat eggy flavor, so I added a sprinkle of black salt, but this is completely optional.
- Red bean paste: This is the most popular stuffing, although there are more possibilities listed below!
Taiyaki Stuffing Possibilities
- Fruit jams
- Matcha bean paste
- ‘Meat’ sauce
- Nutella (not vegan)
- Sweet white bean paste
List of Ingredients
- A sprinkle of black salt*, (optional)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 tsp baking soda (1.5g)
- 2 tsp baking powder (10g)
- 4 tsp neutral oil (20ml)
- 1/4 cup raw cane sugar (48g) **
- 3/4 cup and 1 1/2 tbsp soy milk (270ml) *
- 1 cup red bean paste (240g) ****
- 1 cup and 1/3 cup of pastry flour (200g) ***
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the soy milk, oil, cane sugar, and salt. Mix the pastry flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a sifter. Mix everything until a thick batter forms (some clumpiness is fine). It should have a little thicker consistency than pancake batter.
- Wrap, chill and set aside for half an hour (15 minutes for GF recipe). Retrieve from the refrigerator and combine carefully. Letting the batter chill helps to smooth it out and provides a softer consistency.
- Drizzle a little amount of oil into a taiyaki pan and heat over medium. Lower the heat to medium-low and ladle batter into taiyaki mold until half full. As the batter heats up, it will swell. After adding 2 tbsp red bean filling (35-40g), cover it with more batter. Shut the form and turn it over. Cook it until it is golden brown, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Cook for another 1–1 1/2 minutes after flipping. Once the batter touches the pan, each side takes between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 minutes to cook.
- Keep going with the rest of the batter and red bean mixture. Based on the scale of the forms and the amount of batter used, you should make between 7-8 total. Trim any extra portions off if there is any spillage.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy!
*You may use plain soy milk, sweetened soy milk, or vanilla soy milk. For this dish, I like to use soy milk over other plant-based kinds of milk.
** Any sweetener of preference could be used. If you want, use 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or agave nectar around (40g)
*** Cake flour is another name for this flour. Swap 20g potato or corn starch for all-purpose flour. Rice flour could be utilized to make a gluten-free rendition. Add around 1-2 tbsp extra liquid if necessary to obtain pancake-like batter thickness because rice flour needs more moisture for hydration.
*** I prepared homemade red bean paste; however, store-bought red bean paste would suffice.