Danielle Baghernejad (author of Otaku Food!) gives us a preview of her upcoming Japanese cookbook.

Difficulty: Medium

Prep Time: 90 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Yields: 20 small buns


  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 can water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


Quick Directions

  1. Prepare the dough: combine the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon yeast and 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl. Slowly add 3/4 cups water, mixing until fully incorporated.
  2. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until it’s elastic. Sprinkle with flour as needed to reduce stickiness. Roll the dough into a ball, place in a greased bowl, cover, and let sit in a warm place to rise, about an hour.
  3. Prepare the filling: in a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
  4. Prepare some parchment paper by cutting it out into 20 3 inch squares.
  5. Dust the working surface with flour and divide the dough evenly into 20 pieces.
  6. Working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten into a disk, and place a spoonful of filling in the middle. Pull the edges of the dough up and pinch together on top of the filling. Place seam side down on a parchment paper square. Repeat with the remaining dough, then let the buns rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet or wok. Place the buns on parchment paper in the steamer trays, leaving about an inch between each bun. Close the lid and steam over high heat for 12 minutes. Serve hot.

The Story

It’s been a long time coming, but our first cookbook is almost here!

Otaku Food! Japanese Soul Food Inspired by Anime and Pop Culture

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Otaku Food!

Japanese Soul Food Inspired by Anime

Experience Japanese culture like never before. Japan fever has taken the West by storm. Praised for its attention to detail, it’s no wonder that some of the most appealing images are colorfully culinary. From beautifully animated bowls of ramen and curry to cakes and confectionery, Japanese food culture never looked so good. If only you could reach out and take a bite…and now you can!

For the anime and manga reader. With our increasing hunger for Japanese pop culture, comes an appetite to match. And with dishes from pop culture icons like One Piece and Naruto, manga and anime can finally be enjoyed in the comfort of your very own kitchen. Whether you’re enjoying Japanese ramen from Naruto or fried rice from Food Wars, readers and foodies can learn about Japanese cooking basics and some new series to enjoy, featuring recipes like:

  • Mitarashi Dango from Samurai Champloo
  • Onigiri from Fruits Basket
  • Yakiniku from Rurouni Ken shin

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