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Japanese Nikuman

cookingwithdog's picture
Today, we are going to show how to make Nikuman. These are steamed pork buns, perfect to serve fresh in winters. The flavor of the pork is delicious and appetizing. They can be eaten fresh or stored in the freezer for later use. Making this requires a bit of time but it is definitely worth learning how to make nikuman because homemade meat mixture and dough make a delicious dish.
For dough
  All purpose flour 1⁄2 Pound (250g)
  Instant yeast 1 Teaspoon
  Baking powder 1⁄8 Ounce (5g)
  Sugar 3⁄4 Ounce (25g)
  Salt 2 Pinch
  Sesame oil 1 Tablespoon
  Shiitake & shrimp dashi stock soup 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs) (130ml)
For meat mixture
  Pork shoulder 1⁄3 Pound, sliced (150g)
  Salt 1⁄2 Teaspoon
  Pepper 1 Pinch
  Sugar 1 Teaspoon
  Soy sauce 1 Teaspoon
  Oyster sauce 1 Teaspoon
  Five spice powder 1⁄8 Teaspoon
  Potato starch 1 Tablespoon
  Sesame oil 1 Teaspoon
  Cabbage 3 1⁄2 Ounce (100g)
  Spring onion 1⁄2 Ounce (40g)
  Chopped ginger 1 Tablespoon
  Dried shiitake mushrooms 2
  Dried shrimp 1⁄8 Ounce (5g)

1. Soak dry shiitake mushrooms in water overnight. Squeeze the water and chop them along with the stem.
2. Soak dry shrimps in luke warm water for 1 hour, squeeze and chop them finely.
3. Pour the shrimp liquid through a strainer into a cup, add the shiitake liquid. Pour hot water into the cup.
4. Add yeast, baking powder, salt and sugar to the all purpose flour. Lightly stir with a paddle.
5. Add sesame oil and mix.
6. Gradually mix the flour with dashi stock. When the flour is roughly mixed, clean the paddle with a scraper and gather the flour together with hands until the dough is smooth.
7. Sprinkle flour on a cutting board, place the dough and knead for 10 minutes. Use your body weight for kneading.
8. Knead until the texture of the dough becomes smooth. Shape it into a ball and replace the dough into the bowl.
9. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and keep it in the styrofoam box for fermentation for 30 minutes.
10. Steam the cabbage leaf for 1 minute and cool it down on a wired sieve.
11. Cut the firm parts of cabbage and chop them up into fine pieces. Cut the leaf into 1 inch strips and chop them into fine pieces.
12. Wrap the cabbage with a paper towel and squeeze it to remove excess water.
13. Make diagonal cuts in a long green onion, flip it over and repeat cutting. Cut into two equal halves and chop it up finely.
14. Make thin slices of ginger and chop them into fine pieces.
15. Chop the pork meat into 1/4 inch pieces and place them into a bowl.
16. To the meat add salt, pepper, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, 5 spice powder, sesame oil and stir lightly.
17. Add potato starch to the meat and mix to coat evenly.
18. Add chopped cabbage, spring onion, ginger, shiitake mushroom and mix evenly.
19. Clean your hands and divide the mixture into 4 parts.
20. Lightly oil your hands and divide the mixture into 8 balls.
21. After 30 minutes check if the dough has doubled in volume.
22. Remove the plastic wrap and turn the dough several times to expel the air.
23. Place the dough on a dusted surface and roll it into a cylinder.
24. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.
25. Roll each piece into a ball keeping the surface smooth. Cover the dough balls with a wet towel and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
26. After 10 minutes, place the smooth side of the ball facing down and press with your palm. Roll out the dough using as rolling pin until the diameter reaches about 4 inches.
27. Pinch the edge of the dough to reduce thickness.
28. Hold the meat mixture at the center of the dough and begin forming pleats, twist and fold to cover up the mixture.
29. Place the nikuman on baking paper sheets.
30. Heat a steamer until the water is warm. Turn off the burner.
31. Place the nikuman in the steamer and leave space between them so that they don't stick to each other. Cover with the lid.
32. The secondary fermentation takes about 15-20 minutes.
33. When the nikuman grow by half, heat the steamer on high heat. When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat.
34. Steam for 15 more minutes and turn off the burner.

** If you don't have a styrofoam box, cover the bowl, and keep the dough warm until doubled in volume. The 10 minute resting process is called benching and it gives the dough softness and makes it easier to shape the dough. The best temperature range for growing yeasts is from 28 to 32 °C (82-90 °F). If it reaches over 38 °C (100 °F) yeasts don't grow properly and they die out over 60 °C (140 °F).

Recipe Summary

Difficulty Level: 
Japanese Steamed Pork Buns
Looking for some interesting Oriental recipes? You have hit the correct page. This video demonstrates a step by step procedure of preparing Nikuman which are the traditional Japanese steamed pork buns. The chef prepares the dish absolutely in the authentic Japanese style which makes it all the more appetizing. Watch the video now.

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obidon's picture
when is the right moment to freeze them?
Anonymous's picture
Hi Obidon, Prepare the buns and cool them. Later freezer for future use.
Jane.Richardson's picture
Can not wait to try these! Pork buns are my favourite!