How can anyone resist freshly steamed Chinese steamed buns, let alone one shaped in rose, and come in light purple and bordering pinkish hue? After saving so many of these recipes for a long long while in my Pinterest board, I finally took the plunge and make these babies. Verdict: taste really good, soft fluffy texture, and most importantly, cannot suppress the smile as I bite into the soft fluffy purple/pink rose buns.
Steps to create rose shaped mantou (steamed buns)
It takes slightly more steps than you regular steamed buns because:
- You need to steam purple sweet potato and mash,
- You need to prepare the steamed buns dough, and finally
- You need to shape them into roses, which took me 3-4 times longer than regular round steamed buns.
So time yourself accordingly. Having said that, it is not actually that hard to make these, so let me guide you along the way.
Prepare the purple sweet potato dough
First, steam some purple sweet potato. While your sweet potato is being steamed, you can prepare other ingredients.
My next step is to mix warm water with yeast and sugar and let it sit until frothy and foamy.
Then, I weigh all my dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) and place them in a mixing bowl. And don’t forget to weigh your unsalted butter too (you can use shortening too).
Once everything is ready, take out sweet potato from steamer and mash with a fork.
Make a well in the dry ingredients, add mashed sweet potato, and yeast solution. Knead into a smooth dough. Add unsalted butter to the dough, and knead until dough is not oily. At the end, it should be smooth, soft, and elastic.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover with wet kitchen towel/saran plastic, and proof until doubled, about 1 hour.
How to create rose shape mantou (steamed buns)
Once it has finished proofing, punch the dough to release air bubbles, and knead for 2 minutes. Make 15 gram dough balls. You will need 6×15 gram dough balls to make 2 roses.
For a detailed instructions on how to shape the rose, please refer to my step-by-step photo.
My dough yields 36×15 gram dough balls, which give me a total of 12 roses!
Place each rose in a cup cake liner. Once you are done shaping the roses, let the dough proof again for 45 minutes.
How to steam mantou (steamed buns)
My steamer is only one tier, and I can only steam 6 roses at a time. I chose to steam the first six that I shaped first since they have become bigger compared to the later 6. That way, in the end, all of my roses ended with roughly the same size. If you have a multi-tier steamer, you can wait until all buns have fully expanded before steaming everything in one go.
The buns actually expand slightly after steaming, so don’t crowd them too much. Also, I think the color becomes slightly lighter compared to pre-steamed color. If pre-steamed is more purple, I think after steaming, it is more pink, but look pretty regardless 😉 Taste wise, it doesn’t differ too much from your regular mantou (Chinese steamed buns), but the shape and the color definitely make these special.
How to store leftover steamed buns
As with other steamed buns, you can freeze any leftovers once they are steamed. To reheat, simply steam again from frozen state. Alternatively, you can place frozen buns in a plate, cover with a wet paper towel, and microwave until soft and fluffy again. Your choice.
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