Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I got this excellent steamed chinese buns (mantou) recipe from Simon's Law Journal (http://sfllaw.livejournal.com/49043.html). This recipe works! My daughter says this recipe "rocks", but nah... I don't like the idea of rocky mantous so I'll stick with "works".

Simon Says:

"Here is the recipe that my paternal grandfather taught me.

16 squares parchment paper, each 7cm by 7cm in area
350mL warm water
3 tablespoons white sugar
dash salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1.5 tablespoons oil
600g white bread flour (or High Protein Flour)

1. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and salt in the water, and then mix in the yeast. Let it rest for a while and it should smell active.
2. Add the oil to the mixture.
3. In a large bowl, add the flour and scoop out a hole in the centre. Add the liquids to the hole and gradually incorporate the flour. (Mamanags says: Don't pour all the water in though. Leave about 50mL out. If the dough is too dry, gradually add in more from the 50mL. I once made a mistake by happily pouring in all the water at once only to work with very, very sticky dough.)
4. Knead the dough until it forms into an elastic and smooth ball, which takes about 15 minutes. The dough should not stick to your hands, and be quite stretchy.
5. Roll out the dough into a tube that's about 5cm in diameter.
6. Slice the tube into 16 loafs. Lay each of the loafs on its cylindrical edge, not the face, on top of a square of parchment paper.
7. Wait 20 minutes for the loaves to rise. They won't rise much, but you just want the surface of the loaves to be puffy.
8. Arrange the loafs in one or more bamboo steamers. They will expand more on their faces, so don't put loafs face-to-face, or they will stick together.
9. Place the bamboo steamers on top of hot boiling water. Cover, and steam over high heat for 15 minutes.
10. Remove the lid and remove the loaves to a plate, before turning off the heat. You do not want water to condense on the buns.

Makes 16 loaves. Serves 4 when eaten by themselves (and you'll want to do that when they come out of the steamer.)"

Mamanags says: I use a metal (not bamboo) steamer. To prevent water from collecting on the parchment paper (thus making the "buns' bottom soggy" - hey, get the pun?), I put a clean face towel on the steamer (the layer with the holes). Then I put the mantous (with the parchment paper) onto the steamer which has been lined with the towel. If you don't have a face towel, you can even use a clean t-shirt.

If you don't have a steamer, then improvise. Basically you need 1) a pot or a wok big enough to hold boiling water, 2) a ceramic or metal bowl to hold up 3) your ceramic or metal plate of mantous, and 4) the cover to your big pot/wok of boiling water. The whole thing with this mantou thing is that you want to STEAM not boil them.

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