I just watched Sweet Bean by the Japanese director Naomi Kawase. In France the title is translated as Les Délices de Tokyo. It's a beautiful and sad drama film that centers around a middle-aged man and an elderly woman working together in a dorayaki stall.
Dorayaki is like a pancake sandwich with a sweet red bean filling. It's a rare treat to find it fresh off the grill unless you pass a stall like the one in the movie.
My family used to receive a box of these on occasion. In the box, the dorayaki would be individually cellophane-wrapped. Opening one up was like unwrapping a little gift each time.
There is a scene in the film when the elderly lady is teaching the man how to make the red bean paste filling. My ears piqued and the drama film quickly turned into a cooking lesson. I love adzuki beans and they are commonly used in Asia to fill confectionaries such as these dorayakis.
Taking mental notes I knew what were to become of my dried adzuki beans in the pantry. I couldn't wait to make my own filling for my own dorayaki.
After the film, I prepared my beans by soaking them in water for use the next morning. My stewing session the next day took a lot longer than the film lasted and longer than I imagined. Man, those beans just didn't give.
I prepared the simple pancake batter and after waiting impatiently for the bean paste filling to be ready, finally, I could make a dorayaki. And guess what? I ate it straight off the grill.
I think my pancakes could have been thinner and moist, and I could have been less heavy-handed on the filling too. I'll share the recipe with you another time but try and catch the film if you can. It may stir you in other ways but it certainly got me moving to make these Japanese delights. Once I perfect them I'll let you know!