Sink your teeth into these fluffy and scrumptious steamed pork buns! It’s like biting into a soft cloud that’s bursting with flavour. These are a Japanese style steamed pork bun that are stuffed with a pork mince filling that have a more subtle flavour palette than their Chinese counterpart.
They are a delicious and a healthy snack or meal when eaten in moderation. Although I know this is hard to do because they’re too delicious to resist!
What are Steamed Pork Buns?
Steamed pork buns, known as ‘Nikuman’ or ‘Butaman’ in Japanese, are very soft steamed buns filled with a pork mince mixture. They originated in China and were then adapted into Japanese cuisine where they were given the name “Nikuman”. This name is derived from the word “niku” meaning meat, and “manju” which comes from the Chinese word “mantou” for steamed bun.
They are also sometimes known as Butaman (“buta” means pork), but this name is more common in the Kansai area of Japan. The Chinese version of these buns are called char siu bao and are typically made using BBQ char siu style pork as the filling.
However, the Japanese version uses a pork mince filling similar to gyoza. The pork mince is seasoned with a blend of green onions, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and more to give it a super delicious asian flavour.
Steamed pork buns are usually a street food in Asian countries or served at yum cha restaurants. In Japan, you can find them at food markets, grocery stores, and convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Lawson. These buns have become so popular nowadays that you can often buy them frozen in supermarkets around the world now too.
What Are Steamed Pork Buns Made From?
To make soft, fluffy steamed buns, you’ll need all purpose flour, instant dry yeast, sugar, salt, milk and sesame seed oil. And for the delicious flavourful pork filling, you’ll need ground pork meat, chopped scallions, soy sauce, sake, grated ginger, sesame seed oil.
How To Make Steamed Pork Buns?
The timeline of making steamed pork buns are as follows and the detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Make a dough for buns.
- While the dough is rising, make the filling.
- Wrap the filling with the dough.
- Steam the buns.
What Equipment Do I Need?
As you have most likely seen before, pork buns are usually made in a Bamboo Steamer Basket. However, if you don’t have one of these, don’t worry because I will explain other options. If you do have a bamboo steamer then great! The only other things you will need are parchment paper, a pot, and a gauze/muslin cloth. This cloth will help to absorb the excess moisture and ensure that the buns do not get soggy. Now, if you do not have a bamboo steamer then you can use any other type of steamer (steel, etc) or steam them in a regular fry pan or in an instant pot.
How To Make Steamed Pork Buns Without a Steamer?
Now, if you do not have a bamboo steamer then you can use any other type of steamer (steel, etc) or steam them in a regular fry pan or in an instant pot.
Using a frying pan
If you are using a frying pan, heat vegetable oil in the frying pan over medium heat and place buns 0.8-1 inch (2-3cm) apart. When the bottom of the bun is browned, pour 2/3 cup of water into the pan, place a lid on it to let the buns steam for 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid, turn the heat down and fry for a further 5-6 minutes or until all the liquid evaporates. Turn the heat to high and make the bottom crunchy for a minute.
Using a instant pot
Everyone’s instapot is different so please refer to your instant pot instruction for steaming. Basically, add 1 cup of water into the inner pot of the instant pot and place the steaming rack inside. Place the buns in the steaming rack on a plate. Place the lid on making sure your steam release valve is in the ‘sealing’ position. Choose the ‘steam’ function to steam for 5 minutes. Release the pressure and open the lid.
What To Serve With Steamed Pork Buns?
I usually serve it with just simply with any type of Japanese tea such as Hojicha. Also it is good served with pickled vegetables like pickled daikon, rice bran pickled vegetables called Nukaduke, or pickled ginger.
How to Store Steamed Pork Buns?
Butaman is best served fresh, though sometimes you make a little bit too many and need to store. Well, you can easily. You can store Butaman after steamed. Cooldown the pork buns completely, then wrap the buns with a cling wrap sheet tightly. It will keep for about a month. Reheat the buns in a microwave for 1-2 minutes, or re-steam in the same way you cooked the buns.
A: No they are not. The buns and soy sauce in the filling contain gluten. To make this gluten free, replace the flour with gluten free flour and use gluten free soy sauce for the fillings.
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- 150 g plain flour 1 cup + 2 tbsp + 2 tsp
- 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast *1
- 2 tbsp sugar
- a pinch salt
- 80 ml lukewarm milk 1/3 cup *2
- 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
- 100 g pork mince 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1/2 tbsp sesame seed oil
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce *3
- a pinch salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp salad oil for frying
- Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour and place the instant dry yeast and sugar. Pour the lukewarm milk and combine all together.
- Add sesame seed oil and salt into the bowl and knead with your hand.
- When all the ingredients have combined well, form a ball and wrap it with cling wrap. Let it rise for about 1 hour or the ball size doubles. *4
- While the dough is resting, make the filling.
- Place all ingredients for filling in a mixing bowl and combine and knead until the mixture becomes sticky.
- Divide the mixture into 6 even portions and shape into round mince patties. Set them aside.
- When the dough has doubled in size, Place it on the floured board and cut it into 6 equal size.
- Shape each dough to a round circle. Squash each with your palm. Pinch the edge of the dough with your finger tips and put another hand on a rolling pin. Roll the rolling pin to the centre of the dough, press and pull the rolling pin to your front and rotate the dough 30 degrees. Repeat this process till the dough roll outs to 4 inch (10cm) in diameter.
- Place the rolled dough on your palm, and put the mince pattie on top of it.
- Grab a point on the edge of the dough and put the thumb on the point as a pivot point, draw and make pleats with the index finger by moving the dough in a clockwise direction. Close the opening with the thumb and index finger tightly at the end. Repeat the process for 5 other doughs.
- Place each buns onto a parchment paper.
- Place 2-3 buns 0.8-1.2 inch (2-3cm) apart into a bamboo steamer lined with muslin cloth.
- Put lid on and steam the buns on a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and serve.
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