These fish are called, TAIYAKI, directly translated as ‘sea bream bake’, sweet snack cake popular in Japan.
It has no fish in it whatsoever, it’s a fish shape pancake filled with ANKO (sweet Azuki bean paste).
I used to buy it from TAIYAKI stalls at fairs or at shopping malls in Japan. They make those in specially moulded cooker, dozen fish at a time. They fill those fish with traditional Anko or custard cream, chocolate custard etc…
I have never dreamt of making TAIYAKI at home until a few years ago. One day, a Japanese friend who also lived in Belfast gave me a TAIYAKI pan which her friend in Japan given her some years back.
As the pan is made of iron, it was a bit tricky to use. Pancake butter sticks if you don’t heat the pan hot enough, so she didn’t use it so often and said that I might manage to use it somehow.
And since then, I made so many TAIYAKIs!
The pan makes just 2 fish at a time, and the fish is a bit smaller than usual size. You can heat it up on gas cooker (maybe it wont be good with electric cooker), and it won’t stick as long as the pan is hot and oiled.
I make Anko from dry AZUKI beans sold in supermarket. So good that I can buy AZUKI beans at local supermarket nowadays.
Overnight soaking of beans and cooking of beans takes time, and cooking of those fish also take some time, but it is such a treat to eat freshly baked home made TAIYAKI!