Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Steamed bun/bread aka mantou (馒头)


Mantou (馒头) is not Malaysian at all, however deep fried mantou served with chilli crab is something you can find easily in seafood restaurants in Malaysia. Mantou is originally from China and it is basically flour, yeast and water. These days, there are so many variations of mantou you can make.

My boys love having mantou for breakfast. Sometimes if they are lucky, they find these in their lunchbox too, providing a filling lunch option (and a guaranteed empty lunch box at the end of the day!).


Here I am going to share with you two variations; the basic recipe and a recipe with a Malaysian twist to it.

Let's start with the basic recipe.


Ingredients:

3 cups of all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup of luke warm water (you can replace with warm milk for a tastier bun)
2 teaspoons of yeast
2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of cooking oil 
dash of salt

Steps:

Pour the water into a mixing bowl then add sugar, salt and yeast. Give it a good stir making sure that the yeast are not clumped together. Let it sit for a minute or two and you will see that the mixture starting to form bubbles. This means that the yeast is working. If it doesn't, you will need to start again as the yeast may not be good anymore. 


Add in the sifted flour and cooking oil. Mix it all together to form a dough. Knead until smooth and cover the mixing bowl with cling-film. Set aside. The dough needs to be rested for at least 30mins or until it doubles in size. If you want the dough to rise faster (or if you are like me and live in a country where four seasons can happen in one day!), you can fill a pot with hot water and put the mixing bowl in it (almost like a bain marie), cover and set aside. 

When the dough is ready, knead again until smooth. Once smooth, put it back into the mixing bowl, wrap with cling film and let it rest for another 30 minutes or until it doubles again.

Dust the kitchen bench with flour and roll the dough into a log. Cut the log into approx 1.5in wide portions and lay them on baking paper. 



Steam these buns on high for 15 minutes. After turning the heat off, let it sit in the steamer for 5 minutes before opening the lid.

For deep frying

Let the steamed buns cool down completely. 

In a wok, pour enough oil for deep frying. Turn the heat to high and when the oil is ready, deep fry these little buns till golden brown. Drain and set aside. Best to serve these with Chilli Crab, Chilli Prawns or even Chicken Curry.


Pandan Mantou (A little Malaysian twist to the classic)

Ingredients:

3 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of luke warm water (you can replace with warm milk for tastier bun)
2 teaspoons of yeast
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of cooking oil 
3 pandan leaves (also known as screwpine leaves)
dash of salt

**Please note, ingredients are divided in half to make two separate dough, which then gets rolled into one log

Steps:

Pour half a cup of lukewarm water in a food processor with the pandan leaves. Process until all the leaves are finely ground. Strain the processed pandan leaves using a sieve, ensuring that you squeeze as much liquid as you can from the leaves. Top up the pandan liquid with water to make it up to 1/2 cup if needed.


In a mixing bowl, pour the half cup of pandan juice, 1 teaspoon of yeast, 2 tablespoon of sugar to make the yeast mixture as per the above recipe. Once the yeast mixture is ready add in 1 1/2 cup of the flour and 1 tablespoons of cooking oil. Mix to form a dough, knead till smooth, cover and set aside for the dough to rest.

In a second mixing bowl, pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of warm water or milk, yeast and sugar. Once yeast mixture is ready add in the remaining flour and cooking oil. Mix it to form a dough, knead till smooth, cover and set aside for the dough to rest.

When both dough has doubled in size, knead each dough separately until smooth and set aside for it to double in size again.

Dust kitchen bench or working area with all purpose flour, roll both the dough out into a rectangular shape.


Lay one dough on top of the other and roll it in to a log. Cut the log into 1.5in portions and lay them on baking paper. 


Steam these buns on high for 15 minutes. After turning the heat off, let it sit in the steamer for 5 minutes before opening the lid.


Pandan Mantou serves as a great accompaniment to curries or chilli dishes, the subtle sweetness of the pandan complimenting the spiciness beautifully.  And let's face it, it is a perfect vehicle to mop up all the delicious gravy left on your plate afterwards!  What did you eat your Mantou with?









2 comments:

Monica C. said...

My mantou turned out to taste just like the ones I would buy in Taiwan! But because i didnt have pandan leaves i used black sugar instead and it not only didnt screw up the recipe but still tasted super delicious! thanks again! definitely a blog worth following :)

Michelle Cheu said...

Great to know you enjoyed it! It's good to tweak the recipe to your liking! Stay tune for more :)