Japanese/Chinese cooking: Buta man (Steamed pork meat filling buns)

  Now and then, I crave for steamed buns. You can buy those at Asian store, but Asian store we go to is2 hours drive away. So, I tend to make from scratch and have fun with it.

 Recently, I made “Buta man”, which is steamed buns with pork meat filling. “Buta” in Japanese means “Pork”. So, I thought I would share how to make “Buta man” here.

 When you watch Kung fu movies, or Japanese Animation, you sometimes may see characters eating  “buns” steamed in bamboo steamer or characters making them or maybe you would see the bun makers as background.

 On top of my head, I think you may recognize the girl named “Mui” who use the Kung fu technique to make buns in the movie titled “Shaolin soccer”.

 Shaolin soccer “Mui” makes sweet buns

If you were a blog subscriber or reading this entry from Facebook, please click here to watch the video.

 The sweet buns she makes in the movie is called “Mantou” or “Chinese steamed buns” and they are basically filled dumpling.The buns she made in the movie looks very different from steamed buns in Japan;both appearance and ingredients.

 I think that some of the dishes in Japan has Chinese food influences, but it is adapted to Japanese culture and made with a little different ingredients or called different. Just like “Sushi” is adapted to American culture and you find sushi made with avocado “California roll” in the states but, I do not think you would find those in Japan.

 Another kind of steamed Chinese buns called “Baozi “, which is filled steamed buns made with yeast, are more like the one you would find in Japan. “Baozi” has many variation in fillings.

 In Japan, you would find “karee man” (steamed bun filled with curry flavored meat with vegetable,dough is yellow color), “Niku man ” (steamed bun filled with meat usually ground pork filling), “An man” (steamed bun filled with sweet Azuki beans paste). You can usually find them being sold hot at convenience stores after September through winter in Japan. Other seasons, you can buy those at frozen section and all you need to do is to steam them for about 15 minutes or so on stove top.

 Here in the states, you can find the “Baozi” or steamed buns frozen at Asian stores, but variety seems to be narrower than Japanese ones.

 If you have about 3 hours to spare, you can make your own from scratch. Most of the time out of the 3 hours is down time; waiting for dough to proof so, not much cooking involved. If you have kids, they can participate the bun making and have fun with it. You can be creative for the fillings. I am sure that kids will be experts on this creative department

 So, how do you make “Buta man;steamed bun with pork fillings”? Here is how.

Buta man (steamed buns with pork meat fillings)

<Steamed bun dough;8 buns>

1. Preheat the oven at 200F

2. To 1.5C of warm water 110F temperature, add 2 tsp of dry yeast and 2.5 tbs of table sugar and stir and wait til you see some bubbles coming up on top (let it stand about 5 minutes to 10 minutes)

** Take the water temperature to make sure the water is not too hot or too cold for yeast to be activated. Too hot temperature would kill the yeast and it would not proof as much as you wish it would be.

3. To other bowl, add 1/2C of unbleached bread flour, 2.5C of unbleached all purpose flour, 1/4tsp of table salt, 1 tbs of baking powder and mix well.

4. When you see the bubbles on yeast-water-sugar mixture after about letting it stand about 5-10 minutes, pour the mixture into flour mixture and add 2 tsp of milk and 1 tbs of vegetable oil and knead till surface becomes smooth (about 8-10 minutes kneading)

5. When the dough surface becomes smooth and elastic, roll the dough to ball and drizzle extra virgin olive oil in the bowl flour mixture was in, and grease the inner side of the bowl and coat the rolled dough with extra virgin olive oil lightly and put the rolled dough back into the bowl and seal it with saran

6. Turn off the oven and place the sealed bowl with rolled dough in the oven and set the kitchen timer 90 minutes

7. While you are waiting on the dough to proof.. move onto filling making.

<Pork meat filling>

** Filling is for 2 batches worth. I usually makes filling for 2 batches and freeze the leftover fillings.That way, next time when I want to make again, all I need to do is to just make the dough.

8. Chop 1.5 of middle size Onions fine and cook in the skillet with chopped canned bamboo shoot 2 oz, and turn off the heat when onion is cooked to translucent in color,and let it cool down

9. To one bowl, add 1 lb of ground pork, 1tbs of table sugar,3 tbs soy sauce, 2 tsp of oyster sauce, 2 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp of corn starch, and sprinkle Molton’s Natures season (seasoning blend bottle with blue cap), and mix lightly and add cool down onion bamboo shoot mixture to the meat mixture and mix well (but do not over mix)

10. Cover the filling bowl with saran, keep in the fridge till the time you need to use

11. After 90 minutes, the dough in the oven should be proofed. Divide the dough to 8 portion and roll to balls and place onto non stick foil sprinkle with all purpose flour in the cooking sheet.Then cover with saran and put it back to oven to proof again. Set the kitchen timer 15 minutes.

12. While waiting on the second proof, take out the parchment paper and cut to 3″x3″ square. You need 8 of them.

13. When you hear the beeping of kitchen timer on 15 minutes proofing, now you will fill the dough with filling. Take the filling out from fridge.

14. Take one ball out and roll out to about 4″-4.5″ diameter circle and press the 1/2″ inner side all around

** Make sure not to roll out too thin because if the dough was too thin, dough can break during the steaming process

15. Divide the meal filling to half and half will be for your next batch so freeze them.  With the other half, divide to 8 portion and roll one portion and press some and make like mini burger pattie

16. Place the mini pattie onto the rolled circle dough, and pinch the dough together.

** To pinch the dough, take far side edge dough and nearest edge of dough, and press. Then take both (left and right) side of edge of dough and press to seal. Then, twist on top. It is helpful if you had small bowl of water to dip your finger in and help the dough to seal well.

** Make sure the twisted top is sealed well. Otherwise, during the steaming process, twisted top can open and meat juice would come out.

17. After filling the dough, place the filled dough onto cut-out parchment paper you have prepared. and put the bun with parchment paper on cookie sheet and cover it with saran again and put it back to oven and set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes to proof again

18. While you are waiting on the filled dough to proof.. set the steamer to steam the buns

** One way you can steam stuff is to use wok with bamboo steamer but you can steam stuff other way

 The way my mother and I steam stuff is to use big pan and vegetable steamer and one kitchen towel.

This is how I set up to steam..

** The pan in the picture is 11″ and I pour water in the bottom and place the vegetable steamer and steamer’s bottom part is set. Make sure that water depth is just enough to touch the vegetable steamer and you should not feel the water puddle above the vegetable steamer. If the water was too deep than it should, your bun would get soggy bottom.

19. Set the stove on to medium heat and let the water come to boil

20. After water is boiling and filled bun is proofed, place the bun with enough space between on top of the vegetable steamer, and set the kitchen timer 15 minutes.

Filled buns are set on top of vegetable steamer..

21. Cover the lid with kitchen towel in between. Edge of the towel should be fold back like the picture bellow. Kitchen towel helps suck up the steam and it prevents steam going back down to the buns. If there were no towels used, steam drops to buns and you will get soggy buns.

** With bamboo steamer, you do not need towel to prevent steam dropping to the buns because bamboo suck the steam

Cover the lid with kitchen towel..

22.After 15 minutes of steaming, voila! you get steamed buns!

Steamed buns!!

Steamed bun on the plate..

This is how it looks like inside..

“Found you,mom. What you snacking behind my back?”-Palette

This is how you will be begged by your furry friends..

** Wet nose alert **


 Palette nose was tortured for 3 hours with my bun making smell. So, I gave her very tiny piece. You can see how wet her nose is. I should eat the bun away from Palette next time

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Aug 26, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

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