Serves a Crowd

Nikuman - Japanese steamed buns

March 23, 2011
Author Notes

Nikuman. Lazy Buns....or perhaps lazy bones and that would be me...again with a no-knead bread recipe stuffed with leftover pulled pork made to a recipe by David Chang. The king of all things porcine.

These buns are stunningly delicious - and can be made for a builder's lunch box or for a girly Japanese tea party. Or even a picnic on a fine summer's day.

Some may recommend a glass of chilled saké, the finest you can lay your hands upon. Or a refreshing drink made with cherry blossoms.

Whatever you do, prepare yourself for deliciousness. —Kitchen Butterfly

  • Prep time 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes 12 hefty or 24 dainty buns
  • Nikuman - Japanese pork buns
  • Portion bread dough - recipe below
  • 4 ounces cooked pulled (or fresh ground pork)
  • White and green of 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, for cooking (optional)
  • Bread dough
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 10g fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg, lightly whisked
  • 2 tablespoons butter (chilled and cut into pieces)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
In This Recipe
  1. Nikuman - Japanese pork buns
  2. Put the pork, onion and ginger into a large bowl. Add the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Mix the ingredients together with two forks until well incorporated and the meat becomes sticky and forms a mass.
  3. Remove the dough from the fridge and gently knead on a lightly floured surface to form a smooth ball. Divide the dough into the number of balls you’d like to make by cutting the round first into halves, then quarters and further till you have the number of pieces required. Form each piece of dough into a ball and set them aside, loosely covered.
  4. Portion out the meat mixture, using a teaspoon or tablespoon, depending on what size you want to make. Take a ball of dough and flatten it between your hands. Then using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle about 1/2 - 1 cm thick. Using your fingers, pinch the edges of the dough to make them thinner. Place one portion of meat in the center of the dough and wrap it by bringing the dough up around the meat to the top, forming little pleats with the excess dough, then slightly twisting the dough to close it and pinching it firmly to join it.
  5. Put the bun on a small square of parchment or wax paper or in silicone cupcake cases. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough and meat till you use them up.
  6. Put some water in the base of a steamer (bamboo steamers are great), along with 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar (optional) - apparently, the vinegar will create whiter-looking buns.
  7. Preheat the steamer on high heat until it starts steaming. Place the buns on their squares of parchment/wax paper in the steamer and cover then steam for 15 minutes on high heat.
  8. Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes before serving. Accompany with some plum jam or dipping sauce.
  9. The buns keep extremely well in the fridge for a few days and freeze well too. Pack them in zip lock bags. To reheat, microwave or steam again for a couple of minutes.
  1. Bread dough
  2. In a large bowl (which has a lid), put the warm water, and crush the fresh yeast or active dry yeast - combine. If using fresh yeast, you need not set aside anytime to ‘prove’, if using active dry, set it aside for a few minutes till bubbly.
  3. Then add the whisked egg, butter chunks and sugar. Sprinkle the salt over the top and add the flour, cup by cup till incorporated using a dough whisk or a wooden spoon. Set aside, loosely covered on the counter for a couple of hours till risen. Use immediately or set in the fridge overnight to ‘improve’.
  4. If following the overnight method, use a pastry brush to lightly oil the top of the dough and the top of the lid before refrigerating.

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For the first 9 years of my life I hated food and really loved sugar till Wimpy (British Fast Food chain) changed my life! These days, all grown up, I've junked junk food and spend my days and nights on a quest - to find and share the sweet, sweet nectar that's food in The #NewNigerianKitchen! Dreaming, cooking, eating and writing...about and adoring a strong food community that's big and bold enough to embrace the world's diverse cuisines - I'm passionate about celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety. Why do I love food so? It is forgiving. Make a recipe. Have it go bad....but wake up tomorrow and you can have another go at succeeding! Only with food!