If you travel in Japan during the winter months, chances are that you will come across street food vendors and convenience stores selling Nikuman, steamed meat buns. Originally called Chukaman (Chinese-style steamed buns) were introduced to Japan in the late 1920s and now a winter staple across the country. As a matter of fact, buns are seasonal food and you can only find them from August/September until April of the next year.
Nikuman are made from flour dough and filled with pork, beef, and other ingredients (e.g. red bean paste, curried beef, cheese, and tomato sauce, just to name a few) and often steamed at street vendors, making them easy snacks and excellent street food.
The recipe below is very simple to make even at home and sure to be loved by everyone.
Nikuman, Japanese Steamed Pork Buns
- bamboo steamer
For the dough
- 2 cups all purpose white flour 200 grams
- 1/2 tablespoon dry yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup warm water
For the filling
- 1/3 pound ground pork
- 1/2 medium yellow onions minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoon bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
- Gather ingredients.
- Mix all the dry ingredients for the dough in a standard mixing bowl. With the mixer running on medium speed add warm water and oil. Mix for about 20 seconds until the dough is formed. Take it out on a floured surface and knead into a ball. Wrap in plastic and set it aside.
- Make the filling by mixing all the ingredients for the filling. Divide the filling into eight balls.
- Find a skillet large enough to hold bamboo steamer on its top. Fill the skillet halfway with water and set it on a stovetop.
- Cut parchment paper into 1 ½ -inch squares. You will need 8.
- Divide the dough into eight balls. Working one at a time, roll the balls to 4-inch rounds. Press around the rims to make it thin. This helps not to have an excess dough on the top. Wrap the filling by pulling edges together and pinch them at the top. Set it on a piece of parchment paper and place it in the bamboo steamer. Place four buns in each tray.
- Turn the heat on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Set bamboo steamer on top, then turn the heat to medium-low. Steam the buns for 20 minutes.
- Serve warm.