Nikuman (Japanese Steamed Pork Bun)
I love steamed buns, especially the ones you get at Chinese dim sum restaurants. I always found the idea of making them a bit intimidating because I don’t know what goes into making Chinese steamed buns.. I’ve only made western bread that’s baked in the oven such as the French baguette I made earlier this year.
I decided to challenge myself and step outside my comfort zone to make my first Chinese steamed bao! Having seen a YouTube video on how to make this, I gathered the courage for my first attempt.
The entire process was definitely challenging and stressful… I actually failed at making the dough the first two times having followed several recipes I found online. Both times my dough was too dry and I ended up over kneading it trying to get the consistency that I wanted. On my third and final attempt, I decided to ignore the recipes I found online and went with my own flow, having reduced the amount of flour that was asked by at least 32 g. I only added extra flour into my dough mixture as needed.
The end result? Super fluffy steamed buns that were soft and flavourful. These were definitely time consuming to make but it was worth the effort in my opinion! Definitely do the majority of the prep work the night before to minimize the actual cooking time.
For a step by step process of how I made these Chinese Steamed Pork Buns, read on!
Yield: 8 steamed buns
Prep Time: 1 day
Cook Time: 50 mins
- 213 g all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup luke warm water
- 1 tsp dry active yeast
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/3 lbs sliced pork shoulder, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/8 tsp five spice powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp potato starch
- 1/3 cup finely chopped nappa cabbage
- 1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
- 8 Parchment Paper Squares
Prepping the night before:
- First, prep the dough. Combine all ingredients into a stand mixer mixing bowl and with a dough hook attachment, stir everything together. Then slowly add in your lukewarm water. If the dough still sticks to the bottom of the bowl after all the flour is incorporated, slowly add in more flour until it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Keep mixing it on low speed (2 speed setting) until the dough is smooth and tacky.
- Once your dough is done kneading, shape it into a round ball and place it in a bowl covered with saran wrap to prevent it from drying out. To develop the most flavour for the steamed bun, allow the dough to rise overnight in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling. You can technically make this the day of but I feel like you get more flavour out of marinating the filling overnight. Combine all filling ingredients into a bowl and cover with a saran wrap to refrigerate overnight.
Making the Steamed Buns:
- On the day you’re making your steamed buns, take your fermented dough out of the fridge. It should look something like this – all doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down to get rid of the excess gas. Roll it into a long cylindrical tube and cut it into 8 even pieces.
- Roll each piece of dough into a ball and let it rest on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
- Roll each dough ball into a flat circle and scoop a bit of the pork filling onto it, about a tablespoon.
- With one hand, pull one side of the dough upwards toward the top of the filling. Hold it in place and pull the remaining sides of the dough upwards to meet the top centre of the bun while twisting the top to help seal the top of the bun. Continue doing this to all sides of the dough until the filling is completely concealed in the bun. Repeat for the remaining 7 buns.
- Place the bun on a piece of parchment paper square and set aside until it’s ready for second fermentation. To prepare for the second fermentation, bring your steamer to a boil and then turn your stove off. In the residual heat, place your buns into the steam basket and cover with a lid wrapped with a towel to prevent excess condensation from dripping onto your buns. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes until it increases in size slightly to complete the second fermentation.
- Once second fermentation is done, bring your water to a boil and steam for 15 minutes.
- Take your steamed pork buns out of the steamer and enjoy!