Put all the ingredients for the bun dough into your bread machine. Be sure to put the sugar and the yeast in together, and put the salt in to the side so that it doesn't touch the yeast.
Set the bread maker for the first rising, and allow the dough to rise. It takes about 1.5 hours. The dough is ready when it has doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, prepare the ingredients for the filling. Dice all of the vegetables into 1 cm chunks. Mix the seasonings, meat, and chopped vegetables, and knead them together.
Divide the filling into 10 portions, shape them into balls, and refrigerate. I took 4 of the meat balls and decided to try making them curry flavored by mixing them with some leftover curry that I had.
Divide the risen dough into 10 portions and shape them into balls. Each ball will weigh about 50 g.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough balls out into circles like this. The center should be a little thicker, and the edges will be on the thin side.
Set the balls of filling into the rolled out dough circles, and, making little pleats as you go, wrap the dough up and close it tightly. If you don't pinch them tightly, the buns will come open when steaming.
They should look like this. Cut out 10 x 10 cm squares of parchment paper and set each bun on a square.
Set the buns into a steamer, spacing them apart. Steam for 15 minutes. Do NOT open the lid when steaming!
Look how big they got! One of the buns came open...you can see the meat juices inside. Eat with spicy mustard and soy sauce.
Story Behind this Recipe
I was just thinking that I hadn't made nikuman for a while. My goal was to make pork buns similar to those from a particular famous restaurant in Osaka, but these came out so juicy that they're more like jumbo-sized soup dumplings! Super tasty though!!
You can also mix and knead the dough by hand rather than in a bread maker. If you roll the dough circles too thin, the moisture inside the buns will leak through, so be careful of this. Be sure to pinch the buns very tightly closed. Instead of onions, you can finely chop about a 10 cm section of the thick white stem part of Napa cabbage leaves. With this substitution it won't be as sweet and the flavor will be milder.