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Nikuman – 肉まん

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Nikuman [肉まん] are steamed dumplings of Chinese origin, filled with pork and other ingredients. One of the snacks you find in convenience stores in Japan. Basically, it’s a type of bread stuffed with ground pork and other ingredients and then steamed.

The nikuman 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, adzuki beans. In winter, stores that sell nikuman leave it heated in steam, attracting a lot of attention.

The name nikuman means, NIKU (meat), MAN which refers to manju (typical Japanese sweet), made from anko which is also steamed and made from wheat flour.

There are several types of nikuman and manju with different fillings.
  • Anman (あんまん): with adzuki bean filling.
  • Kare-man (カレーまん): with kare filling (curry).
  • Butaman (豚まん): with pork filling
  • Cream cheese man: with cream cheese filling.
  • Pizza man – with pizza filling.
  • Choco-man – with chocolate filling.


  • 300 grams of wheat flour
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 40 grams of sugar
  • 4 grams of granulated bread yeast
  • 10 grams of baking powder
  • 40 ml of milk
  • 100 ml of water
  • 15 grams of lard or oil
  • 150 grams of ground pork
  • 40 grams of cooked bamboo (optional)
  • 1/4 finely chopped onion
  • 1 small spoon of sesame oil
  • 1 large spoon of sugar
  • 1 large spoon of sake
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 small spoon of Chinese sauce oyster
  • 1/2 small spoon of salt
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of starch Potato
  • 2 fresh dried shitake mushrooms minced meat
  • 1 teaspoon ginger zest

NIKUMAN preparation method

  1. Mix all the dough ingredients with a spatula (without the water and milk), after mixing well, add the water and milk and knead with your hands, without kneading, until a homogeneous dough is formed.
  2. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Boil water and place in another larger basin, place the dough basin on top for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces (use the scale to weigh if necessary).
  5. Make 8 balls and let rest for another 15 minutes.
  6. Roll out the 16 balls into a thin disc (not too thin) and flatten the ends of the discs with your fingers.
  7. Start stuffing and shaping, making small pleats until the bun is completely closed.
  1. Chop all the vegetables and add them to the pan to sauté
  2. Then add all the remaining ingredients, without ground beef, potato starch, salt and black pepper
  3. Once cool, mix the ground beef, potato starch, salt and black pepper
  4. Divide into 8 equal parts and form a ball. Let it rest for 15 minutes


  1. Put your steamer to boil, line the part where the buns will be placed with chard leaves.
  2. When the water is boiling, turn off the heat and place the bread (with parchment paper), leaving space between them so they can rise. Cover and let them steam for 10 to 20 minutes

※ Video and images provided by our partner and volunteer Norie.

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