Steamed buns (Mantou) are Chinese equivalent of western bread. They used to be the staple fan of North China, where rice was regarded as luxury food for the better-off. Mantou are steamed rather than baked and always eaten piping hot. These are still widely eaten in China although no longer as a main meal (except for breakfast) but as a snack or part of a meal.
Besides plain mantou, which usually accompany savoury cai dishes, there are two basic types of steamed buns, sweet or savoury .These are known as baozi (filled mantou).
- Hong Kong Pao flour or self-raising flour – 200 gms
- Instant yeast – 1 tsp
- Sugar – ½ tbsp
- Water – about 80 ml
- Dry flour for dusting
- Red bean paste – 200gms home-made or store bought
Dissolve sugar and yeast in the luke warm water (about 20 ml water). Set aside for 10 minutes.
Take a mixing bowl, add flour add yeast water stir in then gradually stir in water to make a firm dough. Knead for 5 minutes, then cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 to 1½ hours.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, and then roll into a long sausage. Cut into equal size pieces and shape them into balls. Make equal amount of even sized red bean balls from red bean paste and keep aside.
Flatten each ball and with a rolling pin roll out each ball into a circle. Place a red bean ball in the centre of flattened circle, wrap and fold up the sides and seal.
Place the bun on a greaseproof paper; arrange the buns on the rack of a steamer, cover with a damp cloth, stand for at least 20 minutes before cooking.
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