This is little bit of a different take on Japanese nikuman. Curry-man (karee-man) are also popular in Japan, but they’re steamed, just like nikuman. I wanted to try something different and panfry these.
These turned out great, but you have to be careful that you don’t scorch the bottom. It’s best to pick them up with tongs as they’re cooking to check the browning progress.
To check for doneness on the inside, an instant-read thermometer should read a minimum of 160 degrees F.
This recipe is partially based on one from Okonomi Kitchen
What you’ll need
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped—any type of onion or shallot works (about 100g)
- 1 carrot or 100g daikon, grated
- 225g (8 oz) ground pork
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced or run through a garlic press
- 1T Japanese curry powder (non-Japanese curry powder works, too)
- 2t soy sauce or Korean barbecue sauce
- 0.5t ground pepper
- 1t flour or starch
- 145g flour (about 1 cup + 2T) + 35g (4.5T) sweet potato starch, potato starch or corn starch
- 1t instant-rise yeast
- 1t baking powder
- Large pinch of salt
- 0.5 cups = 2T plain yogurt
*You could also make this dough. Note that it’s a different list of ingredients.
Alternative dough—halve this for the amount of filling above, or double the amount of filling
- 300g all-purpose flour
- 0.25t salt
- 1t instant yeast
- 1t baking powder
- 2T granulated sugar
- 1T neutral oil
- 160-170ml water (start with the lesser amount, then add more, if needed)
What to do
To make the filling, add the onion, carrot or daikon, ground pork, garlic, curry powder, soy sauce ground pepper and starch to a medium bowl and mix well with your hands. Be sure not to over-mix, as it will get tough. Set aside while making the dough.
To make the dough:
Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then add the yogurt and mix well with your hands until everything comes together as a dough.
To make the alternative dough:
Add the flour, sugar baking powder and yeast to a large bowl and mix everything together. Add the 1T of oil to the 160 ml of lukewarm water and gradually add the water to the flour mixture while mixing it until everything is incorporated and you’ve got the beginnings of a dough.
Turn the dough out to a lightly flour-dusted work surface and form the dough into a ball. Once formed, knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and a lot of gluten strands have formed—yeah, it’s a long time to knead. When it’s ready, reform the dough into a ball and put it into a large, greased bowl. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about an hour—it will double in size.
To assemble the buns:
Roll the dough into a log and divide it into 5 equal-weight pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Cover the pieces lightly with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out during assembly.
At this point, have the filling ready. Roll out the dough and add the filling for one bun at a time: Roll out the ball of dough to about 5-6 inches in diameter, with the middle being slightly thicker.
Weigh the filling, then divide by 5. That’s how much filling you should use for each bun.
Place the filling in the center of the rolled-out dough and pleat it closed. I suck at this, and it’s very hard to describe the process. If you want your curry buns to look great, I recommend finding a video online on how to pleat nikuman. There are a lot of them out there.
To cook the curry buns, add a teaspoon or two of oil to a non-stick frypan and heat it to about 250-300 degrees F over medium heat. Put the buns in the pan and move them around a little to ensure they get some oil under them. Cook for 4-5 minutes until they get a little golden on the bottom. They are not done at this point, so add enough hot water to the pan to cover the bottom and up the sides about a quarter the height of the buns. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes (basically steaming the upper portion) until the water has evaporated, and the bottom of the buns start sizzling. Use an instant-read thermometer to gauge the inside temperature—160 degrees means they are cooked. If the bottom of the buns are scorching but the insides are not cooked, put them on a plate and microwave them for a couple of minutes.