A Sunday Project: Steamed Buns with Meat Filling
I admit I am totally mesmerized by Cooking with Dog. In it a Japanese lady cooks while her dog sits on the counter. Lately I have been obsessed with the making of “nikuman” or steamed meat buns, and I’ve adapted the Cooking with Dog nikuman recipe to make it easier for everyday cooking. The only unusual ingredient I kept in is oyster sauce and you can just omit that if you don’t have it. I always seem to have cabbage, mushrooms and carrots around, so I use them, but you can use other vegetables. In Japan, I’ve had steamed buns filled with mushrooms and sweet bean paste (not together, of course), so it can also be meatless. This recipe uses a yeast dough along with milk, so the texture is really puffy and tender.
After the dough rises the first time, divide the dough into 8 pieces and form into a ball.
Roll each ball into a circle about 6 inches in diameter. See some of the filled ones in the back?
Put about 1/3 cup of filling in the center of each circle.
I have a tendency of making the dough too thick at the top. Maybe I should make the dough thinner around the edges before I make the pleats?
Steamed Buns with Meat Filling
Makes 8 large buns
For the bread dough
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk, heated and cooled
2 teaspoons instant yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
For the filling
½ pound ground beef, pork, chicken or a combination
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped small
¼ onion, chopped small
1 cup finely chopped cabbage
3 button mushrooms, chopped small
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon potato starch or corn starch
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
8 small squares of parchment paper for steaming
1. Mix the ingredients for the bread dough in a large bowl until it forms a uniform ball. The dough will still stick to your fingers at this point. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on the counter until the dough becomes more smooth and elastic. I like to slap the dough on the counter and fold the dough over and press it down with the palm of my hand. I keep slapping the dough, folding and pressing it down in this way until it becomes less sticky and uniform. Kneading the dough develops the gluten in the flour and the resulting bread will be more fluffy and elastic. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Set it in a warm place and let the dough rise until it doubles in volume.
2. Mix the filling ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. After the dough rises, press it down with your hands to remove the air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. (Each ball is about 2.5 ounces in weight). Roll each ball into round circle about 6 inches in diameter. Place about 1/3 cup of filling in the center and wrap the dough around it. Close the top by making small pleats with the dough and pressing them together.
4. Place the buns on a piece of parchment paper and set it in the steamer set over gently boiling water. You may only be able to fit 2 or 3 buns in an average sized steamer. Steam on high for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and steam for another 15 minutes. Remove from the steamer and serve.