Dumpling recipe: Japanese Nikuman & Gyoza

by Lala

Today was really cold so I decided to make some dumplings. I love dumplings and I think they are the perfect thing to have in cold weather.

Because I’m also trying to get my fitness on, I opted not to make a heavy stew just for the sake of having dumplings. The hubster and I love Japanese food (more on that later) so I made Japanese dumplings instead.

I made two types, namely Nikuman (with a yeast dough) and Gyoza (also known as Boazi to the Chinese), which are from a simple wheat flour and water dough. I stuffed both with a mince meat mixture.

These are dead simple to make. I always assumed they were made from a complicated recipe, each time I had the Gyoza in restaurants. Bit a quick YouTube search proved me wrong. I have never had Nikuman in a restaurant befor, so I don’t know whether I got them right. I always wanted to try them after seeing so many anime shows where the characters relish steamed pork buns with school lunches.


Gyoza dough:
2 cups flour
1 cup water

Mix water, little by little, into the flour with a pair of chopsticks or fork. Knead when you’ve added all the water in & leave to rest when the dough is smooth.

Nikuman/Baozi steamed bun dough:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil

Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and baking powder. Mix the water and oil together, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix until the dough is elastic, cover with cling film and leave it to rest in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes. If it’s cold out, place the covered dough in its bowl in a large baking pan filled with recently boiled water and put that in a closed space like an oven or microwave…don’t switch them on. Just close the oven or microwave to keep the heat in.

Meat filling:
1.5 cup ground beef or preferably pork
1 large carrot finely diced
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped chives / spring onions
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine or white cooking wine
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch or wheat flour
Pinch of salt & pepper to taste

Mix them all together, cover and set aside.

Rolled out dumpling dough

Form the the dough into thick rolls and cut or pull apart into slices / chunks of about 2cm thick. Roll each slice or chunk into a ball and flatten the slices with a rolling pin.

For the Nikuman/ Baozi, place a teaspoon filling in the centre and gather the dough to a point in the middle, above the meat. Try to fold it into pleats.

For the Gyoza add a teaspoon of filling, as above, and fold the dough in half over the meat, like a tiny calzone. Press the edges together very firmly. Then roll the edges over to create a secure and pretty finish to the dumplings. This finish also holds in more soy sauce when you dip them.

Dumplings and filling Gyoza Nikuman

You can simply steam these for 5 – 8 minutes with some wax paper under them to prevent sticking to the steamer, but I chose to use a method called “water frying”.

Place dumplings or pork buns into a pan with a quarter cup of boiling water. Cover and simmer on high for about 5 minutes, or until the water has evaporated. Then drizzle a teaspoon of oil and a little more water over all the dumplings, again until all the liquid has evaporated. This second time you can leave the wok or frying pan uncovered.

Remove the cooked dumplings and serve with a bowl of soy sauce for dipping. I added chopped chillies from my garden to the sauce. You may also add rice wine and chilli oil to the soy sauce.


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