Sunday, May 24, 2015

Making Rose-Shaped Pumpkin Mantou (Chinese Steamed Buns)

Yesterday, I got myself busy in the kitchen again and made pumpkin steamed rose buns. Few days ago, I bought a small pumpkin that I wanted to turn into a cake, bread or buns. After checking many recipes that use pumpkin as one of the main ingredients, I decided to make some pumpkin steamed buns (mantou).

Mantou is a Chinese style steamed buns with no filling. The texture is usually soft and fluffy and mantou doesn't taste very sweet. I think the methods in making mantou are quite similar to making the dough for baos.

I purposely wanted my mantou to look less boring hence the rose-shape. I never did any rose-shaped buns before so please excuse the not so perfect rose shape of these steamed buns.

Rose-shaped pumpkin mantou.

Here's the recipe that I used to make my pumpkin mantou yesterday.

Pumpkin Mantou


  • 250gr Pumpkin, steamed/boiled until tender and mashed
  • 40ml Cold fresh milk
  • 1 packet Instant yeast
  • 450gr Cake flour
  • 1 tbs Milk powder
  • 100gr Icing sugar
  • 1 tbs Margarine or butter, at room temperature
  • Some extra flour for kneading and rolling the dough
  • Baking papers, cut in square or circle shape


1. To make the dough: Sift together all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Mix well with a spoon.

2. Add the mashed pumpkin (that has been cooled down) to the dry ingredients. Mix well.

3. Pour cold milk to the mixture and knead the dough until it becomes almost elastic.

4. Add the margarine and some extra flour (if needed) to the dough and continue kneading until the dough becomes elastic and it doesn't stick to the bowl.

5. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 mins to 1 hour.

6. Once you see the dough has double or almost double in size, gently punch the dough to release the air.

7. Pour some flour on your working surface and rolling pins.

8. To make 2 rose buns: Take about 15gr of the dough and make them into small balls. Create 4 small dough balls to make 2 rose buns. Use a rolling pin to make them flat. Take a pinch of the dough to make a small log. Place the 4 flat doughs so that they overlap (see below image for better explanation). Place a chopstick in the middle of the of the thin doughs and pressed gently so they stick well. Put the small log dough to the end of the thin doughs and roll everything up. Halve the dough using a knife and place each on top of cut baking papers. Repeat the above steps for the rest of the dough.

How to make the rose buns.

9. Let the rose buns to proof again for about 15 minutes.

Mantou ready for smesauna.

10. Place the rose buns onto a hot steamer and steam for about 15-20 minutes.

See how the mantou size changes after I steamed them.

**The above recipe yields about 16-18 medium buns.

These pumpkin steamed buns are not that difficult to make but I must admit, it was a bit troublesome and time consuming to create the rose shape, especially if you have a toddler kept looking for your attention or companion while you already had your hands covered with flour in the kitchen.

Anyhow, these buns tasted great and fluffy. I was quite happy with my first attempt in making mantou without any kneading machine. Just like baos, these steamed buns are best eaten warm as their texture hardens when they're cold. You can keep them in the fridge and enjoy them on the next day after you heat them in a steamer for few minutes.

P/S: No need to cover your working surface with too much flour like in above picture when creating the rose buns. I accidentally poured too much flour onto my working surface when I was about to do my last batch of rose buns.

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