Combine the dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix. Make a well in the middle and add sugar, and sprinkle salt around the edges. Pour soy milk and oil into the well, and mix lightly with cooking chopsticks.
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and add to the well in Step 1. Mix until it's no longer floury, then knead the dough with your hands.
When the surface is smooth, form the dough into a ball, place in a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave for 1-1.5 hours until doubled in bulk.
Make the filling while the dough is rising. Mix all the ingredients from the ground pork to the cheese together. Knead until the meat is sticky, then add katakuriko and mix quickly. Divide into 8 portions.
Punch down the dough to deflate, and divide into 8 portions. Take 5 g each from each portion of dough, and make 8 large and small balls, with the seams down.
Put the dough balls on a board or tray dusted with flour with the seams down, and press down on each with your hands to flatten. Roll the large balls out to about 10 cm so that the middle is thicker than the edges.
Place the filling on the dough, and pinch and wrap the dough around.
Place the filled dough with the seams down on a 10 x 10 cm square parchment paper. Press on a small dough ball a bit lower then the center to form the nose.
Make the reindeer horns. Make 1-2 cuts to either end of each weiner sausage.
Poke holes in the dough with cooking chopsticks where the sausages will be inserted.
Push a sausage into each hole securely. If they are not inserted deep enough, they may fall out while it's steaming.
Stick 2 raisins above the nose, and push them in to make a small dent to form the eyes.
Make the rest of the reindeer buns the same way. Cover the dough with plastic wrap as you work so that it doesn't get dried out.
Line up the buns in a steamer, and steam over high heat for 10 minutes. Cover the lid with a moistened and tightly wrung out kitchen towel to prevent condensation from dripping down on the buns.
Spread ketchup on the noses with the back of a spoon, and the buns are done.
You can heat the buns if they get cold by microwaving for 40 seconds - they'll become fluffy again. You can freeze the buns, too.
I made a snowman version too. The filling for these is chicken with chili sauce. Recipe ID: 989397
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to make a Christmas recipe that would make anyone happy. I make nikuman (steamed meat buns) a lot, so that's where I got the idea for these buns. The most difficult part was forming the buns. While I was experimenting, my family said they look like Oompa Loompas or pigs... they were pretty tough on me. After several attempts, I think they finally look like reindeer... what do you think?
If you use soy milk, the dough will be quite dense. If you use milk, it will be fluffier. Push the sausage horns straight in. They will flop down when steamed.