Japanese Cookbook 101 - part 5. Dorayaki


Welcome again to my kitchen. Even I’m surprised that I get to invite you for a second time this week. Despite the tastiness of the red bean paste I made last time, I wondered if the other way of preparing it would deliver better results. After the struggle to pass the beans through sieve to remove their skin, I was rewarded with smooth paste that tastes even better, even though I’m still not sure if the better taste is worth the extra effort. The other question I had was what I do with the paste now? The answer came from the 22nd century in the shape of the robotic cat Doraemon and his love for dorayaki. So, let’s start cooking!


Dorayaki (どら焼き)

Dorayaki is a traditional Japanese confection. It dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867) but the modern form of two pancake-like patties made from castella wrapped around a filling of sweet bean paste was invented in 1914 by Usagiya in the Ueno district of Tokyo. Castella (カステラ Kasutera) is a popular Portuguese sponge cake made of honey and/or sugar, flour, and eggs. It made its way to Japan in the 16th century via Portuguese merchants and has been loved in Japan ever since. But let’s stop here for now and dive into the recipe.

Top row from left: milk, sugar, flour, vegetable oil
Bottom row from left: sweet red bean paste, honey, baking powder, eggs


  • 4 medium / large eggs
  • 140 g sugar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 160 g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp water (or milk)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Sweet red bean paste (for filling)


1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all eggs, sugar, and honey until all sugar is dissolved.

Whisk, whisk...

2. Sieve your flour and baking powder into the mix and continue whisking until you get a smooth batter.

Sieve, sieve...

3. Put the batter into the fridge for 15 minutes to relax. After removing it from the fridge, whisk in one or two tablespoons of water (or milk) to get thick and easy-to-pour batter.

Drip, drip...

4. Dampen a kitchen towel in an oil and evenly coat a non-stick frying pan. Heat the pan over medium-low heat.

Swish, swish...

5. When the pan is ready, pour your batter in to make a pancake (about 10cm in diameter).

Bubbly, bubbly...

6. After bubbles starts to appear on top of the batter (about a minute or a minute and a half), flip your cake and fry on the other side until golden (about another half a minute).

Sizzle, sizzle...

7. Repeat steps 4-6 until you make all your pancakes, storing them in damp kitchen cloth to prevent the cake from drying.


8. Take one pancake and cover it with red bean paste.

Spread, spread...

9. Add another pancake to create a sandwich. Eat immediately, or each dorayaki can be individually wrapped (to prevent drying) and stored in the fridge or freezer for later.

Nom, nom...

Now, as I promised, let’s return to talking about dorayaki. Traditional dorayaki contains red bean paste, but you can find different fillings across Japan. It can be filled with custard, cream or chestnuts, flavoured with green tea, chocolate and so on. If you cannot get your hand on sweet red bean paste, you can even fill it with jam or nutella, whatever your preferences might be. So, do you like this recipe despite it not being gyoza I promised last time? You can consider this a bonus article and hopefully look forward to gyoza next time.


Until then, またね!

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