These are my family’s favorite: steamed buns with meat filling called Niku-man.
You may have seen these. Niku (meat) manjū is the Japanese name for the Chinese baozi made from flour dough, and filled with cooked ground pork or other ingredients.
Nikuman are steamed and often sold as street food. You can often find these in Chinatown. In a cold day in winter, it is fantastic to see steams coming out from large bamboo steamers set outside of shops. You can say it is one of our comfort food.
You can make them at home quite easily. I like steaming food since it is the most healthy cooking method.
This is our family recipe. Some use yeast in the ingredients but this is a quicker version without proofing.
For the buns
100g strong flour
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1tbsp vegetable oil
For the filling
180g ground pork
12cm spring onion, finely chopped
1tbsp grated ginger
1tsp sesami oil
1tbsp soy sauce
a pinch salt
one large dried shiitake mushroom, rehydrated and finely chopped
2tbsp corn starch
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients for the buns. Shape it into a ball and rest it for 30 minutes. Add more water if the mixture is too dry.
Mix all the ingredients for the filling and roll them into 8 small balls.
Divide the dough for the buns into 8 and roll them into balls. Roll each dough into a 10 cm circle. Thin out the edges, until the circle is 12 cm.
Center a meat filling on the dough circle and wrap the filling. Make little pleats as you wrap. If this is difficult for you, close up the bun and turn it over so you have the smooth side on top.
Cut parchment paper into 10 cm squares, and put a bun on each piece. Put the buns in a steamer.
Steam the buns for 15 to 20 minutes.
Done. We like them piping hot, but do take care, the filling may be very hot.
Mine do not look as good as the shop bought ones, but still tasted yummy.
You can be innovative and experiment with different fillings and flavouring.