My favourite savoury snack from Japan is Butaman! Butaman are the Japanese version of delicious steamed pork buns! They are filled with ground pork and are flavoured with tasty Asian flavours like sesame oil and ginger! I think these are a perfect snack or are great to take for lunch because they are super easy to eat on-the-go! It’s getting a bit chilly lately in Australia so Butaman are perfect for this weather because the freshly steamed buns keep your hands nice and warm!
Butaman is often served in convenience stores in Japan, like Lawson which sells really fluffy and soft Butaman. Often when I go back to Japan for a holiday, we go for a long drive and we will stop at a convenience store to get some snacks and I always get 1 or 2 Butamans to munch on in the car. They are so warm and perfect for the cold Japanese winter. You can also buy them ready-made in the grocery store and you heat them up at home. I once visited my grandparents in Japan and their friend gave them a big frozen pack of Butaman and my granddad thought they were so delicious that he ate so many and we had to buy more from the grocery store. Butaman is also my daughter’s favorite food and she has been asking me to make them for many months now.
Nikuman are the Japanese version of the Chinese pork bun. In my city, Osaka, we often call it Butaman because it is made from ground pork and “buta” means pork. My daughter hates the Chinese version of these pork buns, especially BBQ pork buns, because she thinks it has a more Chinese flavour whereas Butaman has a Japanese flavour which she always grew up eating. These buns always taste better homemade, in my opinion, and are always the most delicious when they are freshly steamed and still warm.
I don’t think the bumboo steamers are not the common kitchen gadgets yet. I don’t even have a big one to steam a batch of pork buns. So I used a frying pan instead. How easy it is too! You can cook this buns just like cooking gyoza. When you seam them, you don’t get crunchy bottom, but if you fry steam them, you get crunchy bottom which is so delicious. Hope you enjoy this easy pan fried Butaman! oink!
- 150 g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 80 ml milk
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
- a pinch salt
For mince pattie
- 100 g pork mince
- 1/4 cup chopped shallots (scallion)
- 1/2 tsp ginger juice
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1/2 tbsp sesame seed oil
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- a pinch salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp salad oil for frying
- Sift flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add milk, sugar, sesame seed oil and salt into the bowl and combine them with your hand.
- When all the ingredients have combined well, form a ball and wrap it with cling wrap. Rest it for 10 minutes at room temperature.
- While the dough is resting, make pork mince pattie.
- Place all ingredients for mince pattie in a mixing bowl and combine and knead until the mixture becomes sticky.
- Divide the mixture into 6 even portions and shape into a round mince pattie.
- Roll the dough into a 25cm long cylinder shape on a lightly floured chopping board and cut it into 6 even portions of dough.
- 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 7-8cm 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.
- 10. Heat 1tbs olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, place the 6 buns 2-3cm apart.
- 11. Pour 2/3 cup of water into the pan, place a lid on it, and steam fry for a few minutes.
- 12. Turn the heat down to low and continue to steam fry for a further 5-6 minutes.
- 13. When all the liquid evaporates, turn up the heat to high and make the bottom of buns crunchy for a minute.
- 14. Turn the heat off and serve.