This recipe doesn’t use yeast, so if you want to make buns fast, this is for you! (But as I mentioned in my other post, it’s a bit dry inside.) For more moist steamed pork bun dough, check out “how to make steamed pork bun dough with yeast.”
When I was experimenting with steamed buns, I realized that Kodama were perfect characters to make with buns, so I decided to add Kodama for this how-to.
[How to make Kodama, Moogle and Boo Ghost steamed pork bun dough without yeast]
(makes 8 small buns)
- 1 and 1/4 cup of *cake flour
- 80 ml of water (5 and 1/2 TBS) or milk (I used water)
- 2 TBS of baking powder
- 2 TBS of sugar
- 1/2 TS of salt
- 1 TBS of sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
- seaweed for eyes and mouth (for Kodama, Moogle, Boo Ghost)
- kamaboko (fish cake) (for Boo Ghost’s teeth)
– red food coloring (for Moogle and Boo Ghost)
– wax paper or parchment paper
[pork bun filling]
- 1/2 lbs of ground pork
- About 1 cup of chopped leeks or scallion (you can put more if you want)
- 4~5 shiitake, chopped (if you have any. Make sure you remove the stems)
- half a can of bamboo shoot, chopped (if you have any)
[seasoning sauce for filling]
– 3 TBS of soy sauce
– 2 TBS of sake
– 1 TBS of sugar
– 1/4 TS of salt
– 2 TBS of sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
1. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
2. Pour water (or milk) and oil into #1, and mix it with a spatula. When the flour starts to get lumpy, use your hand to mix. It may feel really watery at first, but keep mixing and the dough will start to get harder. Once it’s not a gooey mess, start kneading the dough.
3. When the surface of the dough is smooth, make it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and leave it for 15-20 minutes at room temperature.
4. Make the filling while you wait for the dough to settle. Put all veggies in, pour seasoning sauce in, mix in ground pork with your hand. (*The picture shown is twice more filling than the recipe)
5. When the dough is ready, roll it into a 12 inch cylinder shape, and divide the dough in half until you’re left with 8 pieces total.
6. Make each piece into a ball, and roll with a rolling pin to flatten the dough into 4~5 inch diameter shapes.
* If you’re making a normal steamed bun (the one you close on the top), don’t roll the dough evenly flat. Leave the center part (where you put meat) thicker, otherwise when you try to peel it off from sheet the skin on the bottom might rip and the insides will come out.
7. Put the meat filling on the center of the dough with a spoon, and close the top. You can close the top in many different ways, such as typical fold & twist-close, Gyoza fold or etc… You can find many videos of how to fold & close a bun, so I’m not going to explain it here. For the Kodama, Moogle, and Boo Ghost, I folded & twist-closed on the top and flipped the bun on either wax paper or parchment paper, so I didn’t have to worry about how the closed part looked.
* However you close it, make sure it’s really closed! If it isn’t, it’ll open up and you’ll lose all juicy pork juice while you’re steaming it. Use a little bit of water to seal the dough tight.
8. Making the body parts for Kodama (or Moogle) is very easy. You just have to shape it and put it on, like playing with play-doh.
If you want to color the dough, just drop one drop of food coloring at a time into the dough and knead it until the color is even. (then add another drop if you want the color to be brighter)
* When you steam the dough, the pieces will expand and stick together by themselves. But if you’re worried, you can use water to glue the pieces together, but don’t use too much water! The dough will get gooey.
* If you want to freeze them, put the buns on a plate or baking pan and put it in the freezer to “flash freeze” them. (meaning set food unwrapped in the freezer until it gets frozen and hard) When the buns are completely frozen, put them in a ziploc bag, and keep them in the freezer.
9. Put them in a steamer. Make sure there’s about 1/2 ~ 1 inch space between each bun. They’ll expand and might stick to the bun next to it.
10. Steam the buns in a steamer for 12-14 minutes!
11. Cut seaweed for Kodama’s, Moogle’s and Boo Ghost’s eyes and mouth. I used Japanese seaweed cutter for the face parts for Moogle and Boo Ghost.
You can just eat it as is, but I love dipping my buns in ponzu or soy sauce and vinegar mix. I’ll take a bite and dip it in the sauce and let the skin absorb the sauce, and take a bite and repeat. (But the sauce is pretty salty and vinegary… so it’s probably not for kids.) Many people put a little bit of mustard on it, some people just dip it in soy sauce.
There are many different kinds of filling for steamed bun in Japan. Pizza, spaghetti, curry, bbq, cheese, etc… I haven’t tried making other steamed buns, but writing this post is definitely making me want to make them! hmmmmmm
If you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!