These Chinese meat-stuff steamed buns are called nikuman in Japan and butaman in Osaka. “-man” is a short for manto/manju which meant bun. Niku is meat. Buta is pig and in China, meat is pig, or they would settle for anything else, but that should be pork. Panda is meat too.

I don’t make my butamans because I can’t get any as in Osaka they sell them at every corner of street.
It’s because home-made is always fun and it’s the December Daring Cook Challenge. Click here.

I don’t know over the world but in the Chinatowns of Kobe and Yokohama, the fancy pandaman is a big hit. Inside, it’s meat. Well pork. That could be something else : spiced crystal noodles, sweet been paste, custard…
That’s the first time I try this fancy version and it’s very easy.

I prefer the buns filled with something soft and sweet.
The filling is very simple :
ground meat (fat pork)
onion, ginger, garlic (fresh)
shochu (sweet potato schnaps)
tobanjan Chinese hot chili sauce
potato starch
1 fresh Chinese chili pepper

Stir stir-fried the meat with lots of onion, wet with the wine, the sauce and water, let simmer till onions become like paste, let half of the day, so the meat absorbed the liquid. Recooked with more onion, ginger, the fresh chili, starch. Let cool.

Stuff the dough.

Seal, turn and…

… custom into pandas with black dough.
I have added baking powder to the dough. Because. We do that here in Osaka. Because. I think that makes them more fluffy.
For the rest, the recipe is the one of the challenge.

The black dough is colored with calamari ink, nero di sepia (from Italian grocery).

Cooked and raw.

Juicy sauce inside fluffy bread…

Steam !

(Recipe from the Daring Cook Challenge)

Bun for Steamed Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)

Bun Ingredients

1 cup milk, scalded
¼ cup (60 gm/2 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon (2 gm) salt
2½ teaspoons (8 gm/1 satchel) of dried yeast
3 cups (420 gm/15 oz) plain flour
(1 cup=240 ml, 1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Scald milk and then stir in sugar, oil and salt, leave to cool until it is lukewarm. Once it is the right temperature add yeast, leave until yeast is activated and it becomes frothy, about 10 – 15 minutes.
Sift flour in to a large bowl.
Add milk/yeast mixture to the flour. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is double in size. This will take from 1 – 2 hours depending on weather conditions.
Punch down dough and divide in to 20 equal portions.
Roll each dough portion in to a 7 – 8cm (2¾ – 3 ¼ inches) round.
Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of the round, gather the edges together at the top and place on a 8cm (3 inch) square of baking paper. Repeat until all dough has been used.
Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.

Place buns in bamboo steamer, leaving space between the buns.
Heat water in a wok until it is simmering and place steamers one on top of each other in the wok.

Place lid on top bamboo steamer and steam for approximately 12 minutes.