[Edit: I drafted this post back in the beginning of 2022 (!!) and forgot to publish it. So I have had my taiyaki pan for quite some time now and I still love it!]
A taiyaki pan has been on my to-buy list for the longest time. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a piece of bakeware for such a long time without acting on it. But that has recently changed and I’m now a (very) proud owner of a taiyaki pan. Since getting it two weeks ago, I’ve made about 8 – 10 batches of taiyaki in attempts to perfect my ideal taiyaki batter. I’ve been working on a classic taiyaki recipe and a mochi one and I must tell you that the recipe development process has been delicious and has brought me so much joy. The joy definitely is worth more than the $25 I spent on the pan itself.
What is taiyaki?
If you’re not familiar with taiyaki, I’m here to tell you that once you’ve had it, you will never pass up the opportunity to get a fish-shaped waffle. Despite being Japanese in origin, I had my fair share of taiyaki growing up. A taiyaki is a fish-shaped waffle (or cake… depending on who you ask) that’s usually filled with sweetened red beans, though custard, cheese, and sweet potato fillings are also commonly found. The taiyaki gets its name from tai, which is a sea bream fish which its shape resembles. Tai fish are considered a symbol of luck and fortune in Japan, and at a time was a fish enjoyed exclusively by the higher classes or on special occasions due to its high price point. The owner of the store that created the first taiyaki, decided to shape their waffles into tai fish so ordinary people can get a taste of the expensive fish at a lower price. Since it’s invention, the taiyaki has evolved and you can now find many variations of this fish-shaped treat. Besides the classic, I love taiyaki made with croissant dough. The layers of buttery pastry with pearl sugar caramelizes so beautifully in the pan.
A classic taiyaki batter is made with either all-purpose flour or cake flour, much like a classic pancake batter. I’m sure if you wanted to use your true and tried pancake recipe in the taiyaki pan, it would make a wonderful fish waffle.You can use whatever filling you like because this batter recipe is a great blank canvas. I chose to use cookie butter because a) cookie butter and b) I had an impulse buy moment at the store and bought way too many jars. The cookie butter is actually a perfect filling for taiyaki — it’s sweet, has a great consistency, and most importantly tastes like nostalgia, which is exactly what I want to experience when eating a taiyaki.
Cookie Butter Taiyaki Waffles
- 120 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 24 g (3 tbsp) cornstarch
- 26 g (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 175 ml 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 5 tbsp cookie butter
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large measuring cup, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla.
- Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until no streaks of flour remain.
- Heat up taiyaki pan over medium heat. Once both side of the pan is hot, grease the inside of the pan with vegetable oil.
- Pour batter into one side of the taiyaki pan until the 3/4 full. Add one table spoonful of cookie butter to the centre (the "belly" of the fish) and cover the filling with a bit more batter. Close the taiyaki pan and flip it, so the batter inside covers the entire pan.
- Cook taiyaki on each side over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until it is golden and releases from the pan easily. If taiyaki is sticking to the pan, cook the taiyaki on the same side for an addition 30 seconds – 1 minute.
- Remove from pan and transfer to cooling rack. Repeat will remaining batter and filling.
- Taiyaki are best enjoyed right away. The waffles can also be reheated in an airfryer or oven.