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Sweet Potato Mantou (Steam Buns) http://rasamalaysia.com/sweet-potato-mantou-steam-buns/
September 24th, 2013 33 Comments

Sweet Potato Mantou (Steam Buns)

Sweet Potato Mantou (Steamed Buns)
Sweet Potato Mantou (Steamed Buns) pictures (7 of 8)

I have to confess again. I suck in the flour department, meaning when it comes to baking, or in this case, steaming, with ingredient that involves flour, I surrender. I am just not good. Period. So if you think that I am a super home cook or “chef” who can just whip up anything, let me just say it again, I am weak in that area, but I am learning.

Sweet potato mantou (番薯包) is one of my favorite bao (包) or Chinese steamed buns. Whenever I go back to Malaysia, I would always buy these warm, fluffy, sweet, and soft mantou from the various steamed bun vendors dotting the kopitiam (local coffee shops), markets, roadsides, gas stations, night markets, etc. They are absolutely delightful. My son loves it as a snack, too. Unfortunately, in the US, the only similar steamed buns that I can find here are the frozen and plain mantou in the Chinese grocery stores. There are no sweet potato mantou. I always miss them.

Sweet Potato Mantou

A couple of weeks ago, my friend posted her homemade sweet potato mantou recipe on her Facebook. I asked for the recipe immediately. She found the recipe online here and had success making them at home. I was so excited. Finally I can make some homemade sweet potato mantou that I have been craving for, with the Hong Kong flour or bao flour that I have brought back from Malaysia.

Sweet Potato Mantou

The first attempt failed miserably. I didn’t read the instructions carefully and I also tried to cheat the steps. The sweet potato mantou—while tasted nice—didn’t rise or proof. I blamed it on the yeast, as I didn’t use warm water to activate the yeast. I used cold water. When I found out my mistake, I tried to salvage the misstep by putting the yeast and water mixture in the microwave to warm it up. Bad idea. The microwave probably just nuked out all the microorganisms in the yeast.

So, today, I have decided to follow the recipe precisely, and added a huge dose of patience, a virtue I simply don’t have. And I think it was a success. Though the looks department could be improved significantly (which I am sure practice makes perfect), my sweet potato mantou were pretty good…soft, warm, and tasty. I love them, and I am sure my son will enjoy them as a snack before bedtime tonight!

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33 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Reina says:

    hi Bee,
    Long time fan, love your site and I would love to try these buns. Can you tell me whats the difference in hong kong flour and regular ap flour? As well as if there are any readily available substitutes
    Thanks

  2. As someone who does now own a steamer of any sort, I have no idea how to make this recipe with what I have on hand. I tried making some Chinese steamed bread once before and couldn’t seem to get a set up that would steam well enough to cook the bread. Any ideas?

    • You need enough water at boiling point to create the continuous steam to “cook” the buns. Steam longer if they are not entirely cooked. Also don’t overcrowd the steamer but steam in batches.

  3. susue Q says:

    ls the hong kong flour is the OO flour? why is it the steam bun in chinese bakery or in the restaurant are so fluffy and soft what’s the secret? l did try to make but is not fluffy.
    Thanks

  4. Sharon says:

    What can I subsitute for the bao flour or Hong Kong flour? ‘Regular’ unbleached white flour? Thanks

  5. Great recipe, I adapted into pumpkin steam bun and they are soft and fluffy. Love it! Thanks!

  6. Samantha H says:

    Hi Bee, I love the sound of this recipe. Sweet potatoes are my favourite, but I’ve never tried sweet potato mantou. I have the same problem here in the UK – only plain frozen ones are available in the supermarkets. I do however, prefer fried mantou… If I were to fry these ones, do you know if I would have to steam them first still?

  7. Jude Fruit says:

    Hello, I tried your recipe but obviously I made something wrong. Nothing happened during the 45 minutes, it didn’t raised at all. But the yeast was working as the first 20 minutes were fine. I wonder if maybe my dough was too dry, how is it suppose to look like before the 45 minutes ?

  8. Yingwei says:

    The temperature of the water that you put the yeast in shouldn’t be boiling hot nor cold. Because in science, the optimum temperature for yeast to grow is between 28 celsius to 37 celsius. Test the water on your wrist ( that’s what they do to test the baby’s temperature for milk too. ) and your yeast should rise soon. If it doesn’t, then perhaps it’s time to change a new packet of yeast. :D

  9. Joanne says:

    I made these the other day and they are super duper yummy!! Everyone I shared them with loved them and asked me for the recipe, so I sent them the link to this page. Thank you for sharing yor recipe.

  10. Sharon says:

    Hi, how will the recipe change if I use instant yeast?

  11. Velina says:

    Good Morning Bee,

    Lovely recipe but what do you served it with? I haven’t tried any of the plain steam buns, sweet Potato is one of my favourite.

    Tell Samantha that she could get sweet Potato in London

  12. Angela says:

    Can I use this dough recipe to make Bao? I wanna put in char siew fillings.

  13. Jamie says:

    These were so nice- they were a little bit sweet, soft and so fluffy. I used half the flour because I wanted to retain the flavour of the sweet potato, and it worked really well, thanks a lot!

  14. Charmaine says:

    I just made these today. They are so soft and fluffy, my family love it.Thanks for the recipe :)

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