Steam Buns

Based on 2 ratings













This traditional vegan Chinese dish uses only flour, water and yeast. This is a staple food that can be eaten with both savory and sweet accompaniments.

Let's start cooking!

Heat water in a metal pot

Step 1- Prepare yeast mixture

  • In a small pot, heat water to 35°C (if you want to, dissolve 2 Tbsp sugar in it), then mix in the yeast.
  • Mix well and set aside for 5 minutes.
Knead dough on a wooden board

Step 2- Mix and knead the dough

  • In a large bowl, combine a pinch of salt with flour.
  • Pour the yeast mixture slowly into the bowl with flour and stir with a whisk or chopsticks.
  • Using your hands or a stand mixer, knead the flour into smooth and soft dough.
  • It might start off being a little bit sticky.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for around 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size.
    Mantou is a staple food in Northern China, where it is commonly eaten with pickled vegetables, or stuffed with various types of meat and/or vegetables.
Cut the dough log into 1 inch thick pieces

Step 3- Shape the dough

  • On a floured surface, roll the dough into a long log around 1 inch in diameter, and cut the log to pieces about 1 inch thick.
  • Brush some oil on the bottom of each bun.
Arrange mantou in a wooden basket

Step 4 - Steam the mantou

  • Place them in lined steamers one by one, cover and set up in a wok filled with cold water.

  • Rest for around 10 minutes.

    Leaving the unsteamed buns to rest will result in a fluffier texture
  • On high heat, bring water to a boil and continue to steam for around 20 to 25 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and wait for around 5 minutes before opening the lid.

    According to legend, they were named as such when Zhuge Liang, a famed military strategist in Ancient China, floated large steamed buns across a river instead of the severed heads of his men to ensure a safe crossing.These 蠻頭(mantou) or “heads”, tricked their enemies, and the words eventually changed to become 面头(mantou)

Plate and Serve!

Mantou in a wooden basket

Serve hot. These mantou go incredibly well with dishes such as chili crab when deep fried, or even as a dessert dipped in condensed milk.

Enjoyed our recipe?

Tap on the number of stars