Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Purple Sweet Potato Mantou (紫番薯馒头)

And this post on homemade steamed buns should conclude my mass baking sessiona with purple sweet potatoes. How unfortunate. I mean, just look at the vibrant pop of colour below! In fact, everything that I had made previously with these awesome purple sweet potatoes had a really rich vibrant deep purple hue, refer here, here and here.
Purple Sweet Potato Mantou (紫番薯馒头)

I actually really like eating Asian steamed buns, otherwise known as mantou (馒头). When I was younger, occasionally, my parents would buy packets of frozen pre-made steamed buns from the supermarket, sometimes, it would be the plain ones, and sometimes, it would be the chocolate swirled ones (whereby I'll be uber excited cos everything with chocolate just taste better!). I'll enjoy them just steamed as it is, or if I'm feeling indulgent, I'll smear on a bit of nutella to go along with my breakfast treat.

We no longer buy these steamed buns anymore (I'm not sure why though), but I still get to enjoy them once in a long while when I head out for chilli crabs, in its unhealthier state - deep fried mantous. Those are really really good, and it's a must order sidedish for chilli crabs, if not, I'll feel as though something is lacking while eating my crabs. I've yet to deep fry any steamed buns at home myself, but I reckon it should just be steaming the buns, then deep fying it in oil?

I decided to make some homemade steamed buns using purple sweet potatoes. And there were a great decision. They were yummy, and I made them twice cos the first time round, they disappeared in a flash and I didn't had a chance to take any photographs. I added the swirled black sesame filling the second time I made them, and upped the cooked sweet potato by 50g. The black sesame filling was a great addition, but I reckon the extra sweet potato made the buns ultra moist. You could omit the extra sweet potato if you like, but I mean, there's rarely too much of a good thing isn't it?

Purple sweet potato mantou (adapted from Ellena at Cuisine Paradise, black sesame swirl from Sweesan)
(makes 12 mantous)

1 tsp instant yeast
80ml lukewarm water
240g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
65g caster sugar
250-300g purple sweet potato, cooked and mashed (depending on how moist you like your buns)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp roasted black sesame seeds, optional
10g sugar, optional

Add dry yeast into the lukewarm water and give it a quick stir, set aside for about 5 minutes till bubbles appeared.
Sift plain flour and baking powder together in a big bowl with the caster sugar till combined. Next slowly add in yeast water into the flour mixture and stir using a metal spoon or clean hand and then the mashed sweet potato till it forms soft dough.
Add the oil and give the dough a quick knead till well combine or till dough does not stick to your hand.
Set the dough aside in a lightly flour/oil bowl, covered with cling wrap and let it proof for about 30 minutes till the dough became slightly bigger.
Lightly grind roasted black sesame seeds and sugar using a mortar and pestle.
Knead proof dough on a lightly floured work surface for a few second, flatten and roll into a rectangular shape, sprinkle black sesame sugar filling on it, roll it up lengthwise into an oblong shape, and cut them into equal portions.
Place each shaped mantou on the steamer rack with greaseproof paper below and rest for another 15 minutes.
Transfer the steamer rack into the pot of boiling water and steam over medium heat for about 8 - 10 minutes (depending on the size of the mantou).
When done, remove from steamer and serve hot/warm.
If not, wait till the buns have cooled down, lay out on a sheet pan then freeze. When the buns are frozen, place them in a ziplock bag and seal well before storing in freezer. Re-steam in the steamer for a 5 -8 minutes to defrost (there is no need to take the buns out earlier to defrost).


  1. pretty! u're like the queen of purple sweet potato!

  2. Michelle, I love all your recipes are original and beautiful. Have long experiment with potatoes to make some sweet lilacs but I get a color as nice as you goes out to you.

  3. thanks! haha no la, where got. heh. ;P

  4. thankew! i was lucky enough to get really purple sweet potatoes to get the deep rich colour.

  5. ohh, the color for the mantou is simply wonderful!

  6. hi michelle! may i know what camera you use now? thank you :)

  7. Replies
    1. Oh i see thanks! Btw, can u recommrnd me between 600d and 650d? I'd like to take a food pic and stuff but i'm new to camera so dont know what to choose. Sorry to trouble you :'( thanks again before!:)

  8. these mantous look lovely! crazy purple colour, but it makes me want to try baking them :)

  9. hi im not too sure whats the diff cos ive not used the 650D before. most of the EOS series have only minor changes from one to the other. eg comparison btw the 2 models: http://www.ephotozine.com/article/canon-eos-600d-vs-650d-dslr-comparison-19379 like i said, seems to have minor changes only...:)

  10. i know right! the colour is just shocking (in a good way). tastes really good so i hope u try the recipe! :D

  11. that really looks amazing! can I know why you used baking powder in the recipe?

  12. they look beautiful! can i know why you add baking powder?

  13. hi joey, thanks! im not sure of the purpose of baking powder as i got the recipe from another online source. i assume it's there to help with the "rising"?

  14. the buns were very fluffy and so soft!!! I used the yellow sweet potato though, not the purple one. The dough was harder to knead since it was a bit sticky, but it was worthy. i also combined it with plain dough to and made a pinwheel buns :)

    thank you for the recipe!!!

  15. Oooo it looks so good! you can try adding a little bit more flour while kneading if it's too sticky. Glad you liked it! :)


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