Imagawayaki 今川焼き (Obanyaki 大判焼き)

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  • Crispy on the outside and filled with sweet red bean paste on the inside, Imagawayaki is a popular street snack in Japan.

    Imagawayak on the plate and a cup of tea.

    Snacks come and go, but some are so sweetly good, they are enjoyed generation after generation like Imagawayaki (今川焼き). A Japanese snack or dessert with sweet red bean paste filling encased on the inside, Imagawayaki is one of the popular wagashi (和菓子) that’s been around for over 300 years.

    Watch How To Make Imagawayaki (Obanyaki)

    Watch this video on YouTube

    Imagawayak on the plate.

    What’s Imagawayaki (or Obanyaki)?

    Imagawayaki (今川焼き) is like a stuffed pancake. The batter is poured into a special cast-iron round grilled pan and grilled until crispy on the outside, and filled with sweet red bean paste.

    You might know this dessert by Obanyaki (大判焼き).  Depending on the region of Japan, these treats go by different names. The name Imagawayaki is used in Kanto region (Tokyo area) while Obanyaki is used in the Kansai region (Osaka and Kyoto area).

    Imagawayaki was named after the Imagawa Bridge, which is close to where the dessert was first sold in late 1700’s during Edo period, way before Taiyaki was invented back in 1900’s. Obanyaki was named as the shape of this dessert resembles Oban (an old Japanese coin used at the time).

    You might think Imagawayaki is similar to Dorayaki and Taiyaki because they are all filled with sweet red bean paste but the texture of each treat is slightly different.

    Imagawayak with custard cream inside on the black plate.

    What Can You Fill Imagawayaki (Obanyaki)?

    Traditionally, these round disc-shaped treats are filled with sweet red bean paste.  Yes, the Japanese have a long history of affection for red bean. Kind of like the Americans’ love for peanut butter, we even have two types of red bean pastes: tsubuan (chunky) and koshian (smooth). However in the recent years, we are seeing more variety of fillings being offered. From sweet flavors such as vanilla-flavored custard (recipe), matcha (green tea), chocolate, to savory fillings like curry and cheese, I just love how creative & fun we can get with these sweet snacks!

    Imagawayak with custard cream on a girl's hand.

    Where To Find Imagawayaki (Obanyaki)?

    You can find the snack being sold at Japanese festivals, food stands/shops at Nakamise-Dori (shopping streets toward a popular temple), and underground floor of big department stores (aka Depa Chika).

    Where To Buy Imagawayaki Pan

    Imagawayaki Pan

    Unlike Dorayaki, you will need an Imagawayaki (Obanyaki) pan.  I like this cast-iron pan to create crisp outer shell.  You can find one on Amazon and I bought it for $39.99.  The current price is slightly outrageous, so you may want to wait and see if the price drops a little.

    Warm and fluffy with delicious red bean goodness, it’s hard not to enjoy this traditional snack with great fondness. Not only I get all nostalgic when eating them, I just love how my children faces light up when they take a bite out of the sweet pancake. If you are planning to make the Imagawayaki recipe, find a relaxing weekend and enjoy the delightful snack with a cup of green tea!

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    Imagawayak on the plate and a cup of tea on wooden table.

    5 from 1 vote
    Imagawayak (Obanyaki) 今川焼き・大判焼き | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    Imagawayaki (Obanyaki)
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    25 mins
    Total Time
    50 mins
     
    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Servings: 8 pieces
    Ingredients
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    • 2 Tbsp honey
    • 1 ¼ cup whole milk (1 ¼ cup = 300 ml)
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour (2 cups = 240 g)
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 14 oz red bean paste (anko) (14 oz = 400 g) (2 Tbsp (50 g) for each piece)
    • 1 Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) (for greasing pan)
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs and sugar.
      Imagawayaki 1
    3. Add the honey and milk and whisk all together.
      Imagawayaki 2
    4. Sift the all purpose flour and baking powder together and add to the egg mixture.
      Imagawayaki 3
    5. Mix well till and rest the batter for 15 minutes at least.
      Imagawayaki 4
    6. Slowly heat up the pan to 350ºF (175ºC) over low heat. If you use high heat, some parts get hot and heat is not even. Take your time to heat up the pan.
    7. Scoop 2 Tbsp (50 g) of red bean paste and make into a round disk that fits in the center of the pancake.

      Imagawayaki 5
    8. Dip a small piece of paper towel in vegetable oil and grease the pan. Then use a clean paper towel to wipe off the excess oil (key for even color on imagawayaki).
      Imagawayaki 6
    9. When the temperature reaches 350ºF (175ºC) over low heat, pour the batter into a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring. The batter makes about 2¼ cups.
      Imagawayaki 7
    10. Add the batter half way full and cook for 2 minutes.
      Imagawayaki 8
    11. Add red bean paste and set timer for 3 minutes. After 1 minute passed (on your 3 minute timer), pour the batter into the empty pan third full and cook for the rest of 2 minutes.
      Imagawayaki 9
    12. [optional] If you like to use custard cream instead of red bean paste, use an ice cream scooper to drop the custard in the middle of batter.

      Imagawayaki 13
    13. Using a small metal spatula or skewer, pick up two pancakes with the filling and place on top of the pancakes without filling.

      Imagawayaki 10
    14. [optional] If you use custard cream for filling, you may want to add a few minutes of cooking time as custard cream is probably chilled prior to the use.

      Imagawayaki 14
    15. Press down gently and cook for 2 minutes. Loosen up the edges of the pancakes and remove from the pan.
      Imagawayaki 11
    16. Let cool on wire rack. Repeat this process until you’re done with the batter.
      Imagawayaki 12
    Recipe Notes

    Red Bean Paste (Anko): You can replace red bean paste with other fillings such as custard. If you use my Homemade Custard recipe, make two batches for this recipe (and you will have some leftover). Since the custard is cool, you may want to cook the batter slightly longer after you add the custard.

     

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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