Monday 8 November 2010

Purple Sweet Potato Mantou - 紫番薯馒头

Mantou(馒头) often referred to as Chinese steamed bun or bread is a kind of traditional steamed bun origin from China. It is normally made with wheat flour, water and leavening agents that leaves it with soft and fluffy texture. But in modern days now, there are a lot of ready-made frozen mantou that comes in different varieties and flavours which you can purchase from the supermarkets.

But for us, we still prefer to make our own mantou using fresh ingredients and consume it straight from the steamer rack while it is still hot. We love the taste of the freshly homemade mantou where we could add in more ingredients such as pumpkin, dried fruits, sweet potato and etc to make it more tasty and vibrant in colour to enhance the taste and at the same time attracts kids’ attention too.

For this recipe, I am using some mashed Purple Sweet Potato to make this mantou which gives it a very lovely natural Pinkish-purple colour which you can see from the photos. Purple Sweet Potatoes are richly nutritious as they are fat-free and low in calories, high in fiber and great for people who are carbohydrate sensitive and most importantly it is loaded with antioxidants.

These are the dry ingredients and steps on how to make the mantou dough using mashed sweet potato:-

Ingredients: (make 8 3cm wide medium mantou)
120g Plain Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 1/2 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
140g Purple Sweet Potato, cooked & mashed
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1/2 Teaspoon of Dry Yeast
40ml Lukewarm Water
2 Tablespoon Roasted Black Sesame Seeds, optional

Here are the steps on rolling and dividing the sweet potato dough:-

1. Add dry yeast into the lukewarm water and give it a quick stir, set aside for about 5 minutes till bubbles appeared.
2. Sift plain flour and baking powder together in a big bowl with the caster sugar till combined.
3. Next slowly add in yeast water into the flour mixture and stir using a metal spoon or clean hand and follow by the mashed sweet potato till it forms soft dough.
4. Add in oil and give the dough a quick knead till well combine or till dough does not stick to your hand.
5. Set the dough aside in a lightly flour/oil bowl, covered with cling wrap and let it proof for about 20 minutes till the dough became slightly bigger.
6. Knead proof dough on a lightly floured work surface for a few second, flatten and roll into a rectangular shape, sprinkle some black sesame seeds on it, roll it up lengthwise into an oblong shape.
7. Repeat the process once or twice depends on your preference.
8. Roll the final dough into oblong shape, cut them into equal portions and coat the top of each slice of mantou with some extra black sesame seeds.
9. Place each shaped mantou on the steamer rack with greaseproof paper below and rest for another 10 minutes.
10. Sprinkle some water on the mantou before placing the steamer rack into the pot of boiling water and steam them over medium heat for about 8 - 10 minutes. (depending on the size of the mantou)
11. When done, removed and served hot/warm.

~ Lukewarm is about 36 - 37 degree Celsius

~ Rinse and cut the sweet potato into chunks, steam it over medium heat till soft (about 10 - 15 minutes), removed from heat and mashed it into paste form while hot and set aside for later use.

Indeed homemade Mantou is something quite quick and easy if you could get the hand out of it. Moreover you could also mix and match with different ingredients according to your own preference and this can be consider as a healthy snacks for both the adults and kids too. Sometime I would also make a bigger portion and keep some of it in the freezer so that I could re-heat/re-steam them for a quick snack anytime we feel like having our favourite mantou.


  1. Very pretty colour! I want to try making mantou too. May I ask is it necessary to get pau flour or can just use plain flour? Any difference?

  2. I love the color of these mantou, so pretty.

  3. Hi SSB: Er.. so far I have tried using plain flour and top flour. Both results are quite good. I have not tried Pau Flour before. mb you would like to experiment with it :)

    Jess: Thanks for your compliment :)

  4. Mine turns out copper green colour. Is it because I used raw sugar which is a light yellow colour?

  5. hi! am thinking of making these, but can i ask - is dry yeast = instant yeast? if not, do u happen to know the conversion if im gg to use instant yeast? thanks!

  6. hello, where did you buy purple sweet potato?
    most markets do not have, ntuc and cod storage lagi dont have!


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