Nikuman – Japanese bread stuffed with meat, steamed

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

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

stores that sell nikuman often have steam surrounded over 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

The nikuman It's a boiled salt. The ingredients are similar to pastries and pastries, but it is cooked instead of baked and fried. Its origin comes from a Chinese salt called baozi [包子].

The name nikuman [肉まん] from niku what does meat mean 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 mantou [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 originally came stuffed with adzuki bean paste called anko because of the strong Buddhist influence against anti carnivores at the time. With time the meat dumpling came up with the name of nikuman.

THE origin of manju is uncertain, some claim to arrive through Buddhist monks in 1349, another version says that 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 adzuki bean filling;
  • 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 every convenience store or diner 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 Kimchiman;
    • Hatsune Mikuman;
  • lawson
    • Milk caramel man;
  • save-on
    • Sakura anman;
    • Beef tendon man;
    • Jiaoziman;
  • 7-Eleven
    • Choco-man;
    • Curry-man;
    • Pizza man;

The fillings are endless… There are probably many other popular flavors of nikuman. Mainly in restaurants and other eateries specialized in nikuman like the 551 Horai.

nikuman recipe – prepare yours

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

Ingredients from nikuman:

Nikuman Mass:
– 300 g of wheat flour
– 40 g of sugar
- a bit of salt
– 1 teaspoon of dry yeast for bread
– 2 full teaspoons of baking powder
– 50 ml of milk
– 100 ml of warm water
– 1 tablespoon of oil

nikuman stuffing:
– 500 g ground beef (I use pork)
– 1 bunch of finely chopped chives
– 2 tablespoons of grated ginger
– 1 bunch of Enoki (a type of mushroom. Here you can also put shiitake)
- salt, 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 nikuan:

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

Step 2: Let the dough rest for about 1 hour, 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 the ends of the Nikumans tightly and place waterproof paper on the bottom. Grease the grid of the steamer and arrange the Nikumans by spraying water. Let it rest for another 40 minutes. When they increase in volume, steam them over high heat for 20-30 minutes.

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


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