Taiyaki are Japanese fish shaped pancakes. The batter is a bit different from regular pancake batter. It tends to be chewier, a little more dense. They are usually filled with something sweet like red bean or custard. You can often find them being made and sold at stands outside Japanese supermarkets.
A while back, I bought my own little Taiyaki maker from Marukai in San Diego. I first experimented with my Taiyaki maker here. Since then I've been wanting to play around with it some more. It's been hard trying to find a recipe batter that tastes like the traditional Taiyaki I've eaten. This time around, I decided to just try using regular pancake batter.
I was originally going to make a buttermilk pancake batter from scratch but I didn't have any buttermilk. So then I opted to just use a Bisquick mix. Last time, I filled my Taiyaki with nutella. This time I decided to try chocolate. I had some solid chocolate ganache that was sitting in my fridge. This was pretty easy to work with since I was able to scoop some out and I knew it would melt quickly in the heat. If you don't have any chilled ganache, you can probably use a piece of chocolate, or some chocolate chips.
Every time I'm making these pancakes, I'm always doing something else at the same time. Next time, I need to just concentrate on making these pancakes. Since I was distracted, each of mine came out differently. Some came out slightly too dark, some too light.
The pancakes tasted best while they were hot. Of course, they just taste like regular pancakes filled with chocolate, but that's not a bad thing. I don't think they taste like traditional taiyaki batter, but they taste good and I love the fun fish shape.
When I made my first batch, it bothered me that the filling kept sticking out of the fish. The directions I had read was to put a thin layer of batter, and then put some topping and then close up the taiyaki pan. This time, I put some more batter on top of the chocolate and this really helped to keep the chocolate from seeping through.
I'll keep playing around with my taiyaki maker and post my creations and discoveries. I hope to get a more exact timing down so that my Taiyaki all look a pretty golden brown. I also plan on trying some other things with my taiyaki maker.
Taiyaki with chocolate filling
Your favorite pancake recipe or pancake mix
Chilled chocolate ganache or small pieces of chocolate
1. Place taiyaki maker on stove burner. Turn stove to medium heat. Spray or oil taiyaki pan.
2. After the taiyaki maker is heated, pour in pancake batter. Put a thin layer of batter, enough to cover the bottom fish shapes that are on the stove.
3. Place small piece of ganache or chocolate in the middle of the fish. Then spoon some more batter to cover the chocolate.
4. Close the taiyaki maker, and let cook for approx 2 minutes. Then flip taiyaki maker, so top side heats on the stove. Cook for about 2 minutes.
5. At this point you can check the progress of your taiyaki by opening the taiyaki pan. If taiyaki is still very light, cook for an additional minute, making sure to cook both sides evenly. If 2 minutes is too much, you can reduce the heat or cook about 1 minute on each side and then check the progress.
6. Remove from pan and eat while still warm.