Imagawayaki (Obanyaki): Japanese Treats on the Go

Red bean paste is one of the signatures of Japan. You can easily find this anko in many desserts across the land of the rising sun, from mochi to yokan to dango. And Imagawayaki is one of them. I found this treat at a Japanese festival.

Imagawayaki or Obanyaki is a popular and delightful Japanese confection. These sweet treats are filled pancakes and have a distinctive round shape with a pattern imprinted on both sides.

Imagawayaki japanese pancakes
Japanese Traditional Dessert Called Obanyaki or Imagawayaki, a Tasty Azuki Red Bean Paste Filled Pan Cake

The name “Imagawayaki” is said to have originated from Imagawa Street in Tokyo, where this delectable snack became popular in the early 20th century. The traditional filling for this Japanese cake is a sweet red bean paste in different consistencies—smooth, chunky, or even with whole beans.

Apart from the classic red bean filling, modern variations may include other creative fillings such as custard, chocolate, cheese, or even matcha-flavored cream. I’ll stick with the red bean filling. For this Obanyaki recipe, you don’t need to use an Imagawayaki maker or machine, a 4-cup egg frying pan is enough.

Here’s how to make Imagawayaki or Obanyaki:

Gluten-free Imagawayaki or Obanyaki

A harmonious marriage of soft, cake-like dough and a luscious filling of sweet red bean paste.
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Asian, Japanese
Servings 8
Calories 180 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 4-cup egg frying pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup flour I used the gluten-free one. You can use all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Sweet red bean paste or your preferred filling

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix; a few lumps are okay.
  • Heat the 4-cup egg frying pan over medium heat. Lightly grease each cup with cooking spray or a small amount of oil.
  • Pour a small amount of batter into 2 cups, filling it about halfway. Cook them for 2 minutes.
  • Add red bean paste to the middle of each cooking batter in the pan.
  • After 1 minute, pour batter into the empty wells about one-third full. Leave them there for 2 minutes.
  • Using a small metal spatula or, a fork or chopsticks to lift the two pancakes containing the filling and position them with the filling side facing downward onto the unfilled ones.
  • Press them down gently and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the Imagawayaki from the pan. Repeat this process until all the batter is used up.

Notes

If you opt for custard cream as a filling, consider extending the cooking time by a few minutes
Keyword gluten free, japanese, pancakes

To reheat this Japanese bean cake, you can:

  • Heat it in the microwave at medium power for about 10-20 seconds.
  • Wrap it in aluminum foil and place it in the oven for 5-10 minutes at around 300°F or 150°C.
  • Steam it for a few minutes until it’s heated through. This method helps maintain the soft texture.
Johanna Cleveland
About the author
Kate

Hi, I'm Kate, the creator of Happy Baking Days. I'm a food lover, recipe creator, and kitchen explorer. I have amateur baking knowledge gained from years spent in the kitchen with my grandma and mum, where I graduated slowly from dusting work surfaces with flour and licking the spatula to the finer arts of pastry and meringue. Now in my own kitchen, I put all those years of training into practice, experimenting with recipes and ingredients from around the world. Join me as I share my culinary journey and favorite recipes that make cooking a delightful experience.

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