Mantou buns

Very simple plain steamed buns originating from China. Despite how simple they are, they’re very versatile. You can add all sorts of flavours to them, sweet or savoury. You can fill them with custard, red bean paste or perhaps something savoury.

In this recipe I’ve incorporated birds eye chilli, ginger and garlic, my holy trinity of flavour. They’re perfect for serving with soup or soaking up sauce.


  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 5g Active Dry Yeast
  • 130ml warm water ( may need slightly more)
  • 5g Salt
  • 2 -4 Birds Eye Chillies (depending on how much heat you like, go for green if you like it spicy)
  • thumb size peice root ginger grated
  • 3 garlic cloves grated

The aromatics

-fry the garlic, ginger and chilli in a little oil until it becomes fragrant and set aside.

The Dough

– add the yeast to your water and leave for 5 minutes to become foamy. Meanwhile add your flour, salt and aromatics from earlier to a bowl.

– add the water with the yeast and incoporate the wet into the dry to form a dough. I like to use a chopstick to do this, but you can use whatever you feel works best.

-lightly need to form a smooth ball and set aside covered with a damp cloth for 10 minutes (it doesn’t need to much time to rise).

Steaming the buns

-Knead the dough for around 5-10 minutes until really nice and smooth. Separate your dough into 4 equal sized balls.

-lay a sheet of baking parchment down in your steaming basket and place the douballs inside like the above image.

-preferably you want to leave them for 30 minutes for nice springy buns. If your short on time though, you can steam them straight away. I’ve done this often because I’m quite impatient and they’ve turned out fine. They shouldn’t increase in size very much, when they steam they will expand quite a bit.

-fill a large pan 1/4 of the way with cold water when your ready to cook the buns. Place the basket on top of the pan and bring the water to the boil, once its boiling reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the buns for a futher 15-20 minutes.

Serving and Storing the buns

You can either serve them straight from the steamer, or keep them in the fridge and warm them again in the microwave or steamer.