015. Mushi-pan: A Super-Easy Japanese Snack!

While I was teaching in Japan, one of my favorite things to do was to participate in the home economics class when they were cooking, and one of my favorite lessons to take part in was about mushi-pan.

What is mushi-pan, you ask?  It’s a Japanese egg-based steamed bun that uses baking powder to rise instead of yeast.  It’s usually lightly sweetened, and can be found in any convenience store in Japan, usually with raisins, red beans, or chocolate chips dotting them for more flavor, since the bread itself is so mild.

There are many, many recipes out there for mushi-pan, and my favorite can be found here, by La Fuji Mama.  It’s a great basic recipe to start with.

Before we start, I suggest having on hand either silicone baking cups or stiff paper baking cups.  Do NOT use the flimsy paper or aluminum muffin-liners.  They’re not tough enough to handle the steam!

Now let’s start with the ingredients!  As you can see, I don’t use anything too fancy.

The Tools and Parts.

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk**
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

**I’m not an all-the-time baker, so I don’t keep cans of condensed milk around the apartment.  Instead, I make a substitute that gets the job done and is pretty easy – plus, you can use it in equal measurement to the condensed milk, so you don’t have to change the rest of the recipe at all! 🙂  The recipe below for the substitute can pretty much be used for 2.5 batches of mushi-pan, so I usually either make a double-batch of mushi-pan or refrigerate the substitute for a day or two until I decide to make some more mushi-pan.

Condensed Milk Substitute:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 pinches salt
Mix all of the substitute ingredients together.  They should form a thick, caramel-colored sauce.

Now for the mushi-pan directions!

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, condensed milk substitute, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.  Do this slowly, one ingredient at a time, mixing well.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder, mixing them well.  You can mix them with a fork or whisk – just make sure they’re nice and blended together.

    The Batter.

  3. Heat up your steamer on high.  I like to use our big pot filled with about 2 inches of water and my steaming tray.
  4. Slowly add the flour-baking powder mixture to wet egg mixture.  Don’t stir too hard – it’s okay for there to be some little lumps!
  5. Fill your baking cups about 2/3-3/4 of the way with the batter.

    I put a little too much batter into each cup…but that’s okay!

  6. When the steamer is ready (when the water is boiling), carefully place your baking cups inside on the tray.  This batch makes about 8 regular-sized muffin mushi-pans, and I recommend putting in 4 at a time.
  7. Put the lid over your steamer and steam the batch for about 10 minutes.
  8. After 10 minutes, use a toothpick to poke down to the center of each mushi-pan.  If it comes out clean, they’re done!  If it comes out with a little bit of batter stuck to it, they need more time.  Give them a couple more minutes in the steamer, then check them again.
  9. Take the finished mushi-pans carefully out of the steamer.  Be careful!  Don’t burn/scald yourself!
  10. Let the mushi-pan cool for a 5-10 minutes.  If you used silicone baking cups, you can pop them out of the cups and let them cool faster that way.
  11. Enjoy! 😀

Oishii! Delicious! 😀

Next time, try putting in some goodies!  Raisins and chocolate chips work well!  I want to try strawberries next time…:-9

I’m thinking that maybe next time I’ll try using cake flour, too, to play with the density of the final product 🙂

Hugs & kimchi,

Annie

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