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Something Fishy!

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From an atom bomb victim to an economic giant. A delicious mix of the oldest of traditions to the newest of fads, fashion and technological development. An archipelago of some 6800 volcanic islands – Japan, a world on it’s own. It has a lot to offer – a swift whisk on it’s high speed trains, Hiking in the Alps, Kyoto Geisha dance, Zen rock gardens, Manga to read, and of course Sushi to relish. This island nation takes great pride in its seafood.  The Japanese cuisine, known to be notoriously nutritious is cooked with the finest and freshest of ingredients with due importance given to detail and beautiful presentation.

We bring to you one such delicacy that is popularly seen during fairs, made on iron skillets and definitely fishy in appearance!  Here’s to Taiyaki, a Japanese dessert with a difference.

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TAIYAKI

Courtesy: justonecookbook.com

Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake filled with sweet red bean paste.  During the street fairs and festivals, you’ll see it being cooked on a fish-shaped iron mold.

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Why fish?  The original taiyaki iron mold was round and the mold was for (still is) making Imagawayaki, which is the same as Taiyaki but with a circular shape.  Back in Meiji-era (1868 – 1912), Tai (sea bream) was considered a very expensive fish and was only eaten on special occasions.  Though unclear on which sweet store actually started the trend, they decided to change the snack from its circular shape mold to the sea bream shaped mold, and thus Taiyaki was born. It was a huge hit.  ‘Tai’ means sea bream and ‘yaki’ means grilled/baked, hence the name- Taiyaki.

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The fish shaped molds in use

When it’s freshly made, the crispy exterior surrounding the warm soft cake with anko(sweet red bean paste) filling is simply delectable. This filling is the classic and the most popular, but lately other variations such as custard, chocolate, Nutella, cheese, sweet potatoes etc are also available.

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The variants

Taiyaki, a cross between a waffle and a cake!

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