Steamed Meat Buns (Nikuman)


Serves 3

Nikuman are delicious, fluffy, soft buns filled with a succulent meat and vegetable filling. Great as a snack during cold seasons or as a warming Bonfire Night treat, their soft, moist texture and generous filling make nikuman the perfect comfort food.

Nikuman are similar to Chinese baozi, or steamed buns, and are often sold in convenience stores or at street stalls in Japan. Making nikuman usually takes some time, especially for kneading the dough, but thanks to our recipe you will be able to create this Japanese street food staple in no time!


How to prepare

  • Let’s begin by preparing the dough. Mix together the pancake mix, water and salt, and knead the dough well for 2 to 3 minutes. Once done, separate the dough into six equal parts and roll into small balls on a flour dusted surface. Cover with cling film and set aside.

  • Now thinly slice your shiitake mushrooms and spring onion, and chop your baby corn into pieces.

  • Once finished, mix together your chopped vegetables, minced pork, chicken soup stock, sesame oil, soy sauce and a pinch of salt. Divide your fillings into six with a knife.

  • Once more, dust your work surface with a small amount of flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Next flatten each one of your dough balls and place some filling in the centre. Gather the dough at the top and pinch the top a couple of times to close your nikuman.

  • Finally, place the nikuman on some greaseproof paper and heat in a steamer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Enjoy hot or pack with a bottle of strong green tea as a refreshment to enjoy on the go. You may want to heat the nikuman for a few seconds in a microwave before enjoying if you are having it as part of a bento packed lunch.

Tips and information

    • You’ve never kneaded dough before or you’re not sure if you’ve done it enough? Japanese cooking says that a dough is ready when the texture is close to that of an earlobe. Surprising but useful tip!
    • Classic nikuman usually use pork as a filling but you can also try some chicken mince or beef mince. Despite its name of ‘meat bun’, you can also choose a 100% vegetarian filling. If you opt for this, we recommend giving your vegetables some extra flavour by adding soy sauce and mirin. For spice fans, try adding a teaspoon of chopped ginger for extra flavour.
    • Your nikuman will rise in the steamer so be careful not to overcrowd them.