Imagawa-yaki (Japanese pastry) (今川焼き)

Imagawa-yaki is a pastry which is made by baking batter in molds. It is a traditional Japanese cake. The way to cook imagawa-yaki is to pour batter made of flour, eggs, sugar and water in round molds made of iron or copper, drop sweet bean paste (red bean paste is very popular, but white bean paste and custard cream are available) into each batter-filled mold and cover this with batter or cover each filled mold with another pastry of the same shape baked in another mold. Imagawa-yaki is cylindrical in form with a thickness approximately twice that of a pancake.

Name

These kind of cakes began to be sold near the Kanda (Chiyoda Ward) of Edo, 'Imagawa-bashi Bridge' during 1772 and 1780 in the mid-Edo period, and the name of imagawa-yaki originates from this time. Since these cakes became very popular, the product name, imagawa-yaki was adopted around the country (it is not related to the Imagawa clan, a sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period).

The name, imagawa-yaki is not used nationwide and different names are used in various areas. Sometimes a certain name is only used in a certain area, or it may be called a different name by different people. Particularly in western Japan, this sweet is often called by different names.

Cake names which are derived from the shape and cooking method include Obanyaki (Kobanyaki), Nijuyaki, Kaitenyaki (Kaiten-manju), Kintsuba, Oyaki (different from Oyaki in Nagano Prefecture), and cakes which were named after shops or manufacturers include Amataro-yaki, Nanakoshi-yaki, Gishi-yaki, Taiko-yaki (Drum cake), Taiko-yaki (Taiko (father of the Imperial adviser) cake), Fufu-manju (Fuman), Taiko-manju, Horaku-manju, and Ajiman. In addition to cake named after shops or manufacturers, there are also cases in which names are related to events or festivals held at places where imagawa-yaki are sold; for example 'GI-yaki' which is sold in racetracks of the Japan Association for International Horse Racing.

Cooking technique

If the filling is hard and stiff like bean paste, the filling can be filled evenly if it is twisted as is put into the cake mold. An imagawa-yaki pan is slanted in order to be able to turn over imagawa-yaki easily. It is difficult to make imagawa-yaki which are all of the same thickness.

Similar foods

There are several types of cakes which are made by pouring batter in molds and baking it, and a typical one is 'tai-yaki,' which is shaped like a sea bream ('tai').
For more details, refer to 'Tai-yaki.'

Osaka-yaki, which is cooked by baking okonomiyaki-type batter in imagawa-yaki molds and topping with an egg is sold in shops, stands, and stalls at fairs and festivals in the Tohoku and Kanto regions.

In Taiwan, imagawa-yaki is called 'red bean waffle' or 'charyunbyon' and is a traditional sweet (a Chinese character '餅' represents baked pastry). The popular fillings include azuki bean paste, custard cream, taro potatoes, sesame paste and peanuts, while sweet potatoes, buttered corn, fried cabbage, chopped dried daikon (radish), tuna, sansai (Taiwanese leaf mustard), curry paste, and strawberry flavored condensed milk are also available.