Nikuman - Japanese bread stuffed with meat, steamed


Nikuman [肉まん] are boiled dumplings of Chinese origin, stuffed with pork and other ingredients. One of the typical snacks you find in Japanese convenience stores. The ones you saw at Kung Fu Panda.

O nikuman it is light and soft, usually on top of a piece of wax paper. It can be found in the flavors of pork, beef, pizza, cheese and even in the sweet flavor of anko, bean azuki.

Stores that sell nikuman they often have steam surrounding them, drawing a lot of attention on a cold day. This is one of my favorite snacks along with a karaage and takoyaki.

Nikuman - Japanese bread stuffed with meat, steamed

Manju - the Origin of Nikuman

O nikuman it's a cooked salty. The ingredients are similar to savory and pasty pasta, but it is cooked instead of roasted and fried. Its origin comes from a Chinese salty called baozi [包子].


The name nikuman [肉まん] de niku which means meat and man which refers to manju, a very similar typical Japanese sweet made from anko that is also steamed and made from wheat flour.

Manju is also inspired by a Chinese bread called kept [馒头] which was stuffed with pork and eel. It can also be made from rice flour and buckwheat.

Nikuman - Japanese bread stuffed with meat, steamed

In Japan it was originally stuffed with azuki bean paste called anko because of the strong Buddhist influence against anti carnivores at the time. With time the meat dumpling came under the name of nikuman.

THE origin of manju is uncertain, some claim to arrive through Buddhist monks in 1349, another version says it came in 1241 through travelers who traded under the name of naramanju.

The different flavors of Nikuman

There are also several types of nikuman and manju with different fillings:

  • Butaman [豚まん] - Popular in Kansai, stuffed with pork;
  • Anman [あんまん]- Nikuman with filling of azuki beans;
  • Kare-man [カレーまん]- Nikuman stuffed with kare (curry);
  • Cream cheese man - Cream cheese;
  • Pizza man - Stuffed with Pizza;
  • Choco-man - Stuffed with chocolate;
Nikuman - Japanese bread stuffed with meat, steamed

These are the most popular flavors, but each convenience store or cafeteria has its flavors and versions. Let's list a few below:

  • Circle K Sunkus
    • White curry man;
    • Squid ink seafood man;
    • Deli chicken man with mayo-style flavor;
    • Tom Yum Kun Thai man;
  • Ministop
    • Crunchy Chinese seafood man;
    • Crunchy cheese sausage donut man;
    • Boiled pork cube crunchy curry man;
    • Crunchy cheese lasagna man;
    • Belgian chocolate man;
  • FamilyMart
    • Cream cheese man;
    • Sakura man;
    • Choco-man;
    • Chestnut man;
    • Habanero Kimchi man;
    • Hatsune Miku man;
  • Lawson
    • Milk caramel man;
  • Save-On
    • Sakura anman;
    • Beef tendon man;
    • Jiaozi man;
  • 7-Eleven
    • Choco-man;
    • Curry-man;
    • Pizza-man;

The fillings are endless… There are probably many other popular Nikuman flavors. Especially in restaurants and other snack bars specializing in nikuman like the 551 Horai.

Nikuman recipe - prepare yours

Nothing better than preparing your Nikuman, if you have access to all the ingredients, enjoy this recipe.

Ingredients from nikuman:

Mass of the nikuman:
- 300 g of wheat flour
- 40 g of sugar
- a bit of salt
- 1 teaspoon dry yeast for bread
- 2 coffee spoons filled with baking powder
- 50 ml of milk
- 100 ml of warm water
- 1 tablespoon of oil

Nikuman Stuffing:
- 500 g of ground beef (use pork)
- 1 bunch of finely chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons of grated ginger
- 1 packet of Enoki (a type of mushroom. Here you can put shiitake too)
- salt, black pepper
- 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
- If you want you can put the yolk of a large egg

Nikuman - Japanese bread stuffed with meat, steamed

Preparation of the nikuan:

Step 1: In a container place the flour, sugar, salt, dry yeast, baking powder, milk. Mix with a wooden spoon, gradually adding warm water. Add oil and knead very well (about 15 minutes).


Step 2: Let the dough rest for about 1 hour by spraying water and covering the dough with plastic wrap.

Step 3: Divide the dough into small portions and open each portion in a round shape trying to make the peripheral part thinner than the central part.

Step 4: Close Nikuman's tips tightly and place waterproof paper at the bottom. Grease the grill pan with steam and arrange the Nikumans by spraying water. Let it sit for another 40 minutes. When they increase in volume steam cooking over high heat for 20-30 minutes

Step 5: Mix everything very well. Rice vinegar sauce:
Mix in a bowl a little rice vinegar, sesame oil, finely chopped chives and powdered red pepper. Drip this sauce over the filling when tasting the nikuman !!