Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pandan Steamed Buns

Pandan Steamed Buns or Pandan Mantou....

The picture above is before they were steamed.
The picture below is after steamed. The green colour toned down quite a lot.

Here's what I did....

250gm pau flour
250gm all purpose flour
1 packet of powdered coconut milk
1 Tbsp double action baking powder (optional)
150gm sugar
½ tsp salt
200ml pandan juice
11gm yeast (1sachet)
½ tsp sugar
50ml water
30gm shortening, melted

1. Combine yeast, water and 1/2 tsp sugar. Let it froth.
2. Mix both flours, coconut milk powder, D.A.B.P, sugar and salt together. Make a well in the center. Pour in frothed yeast mixture and 3/4 of the pandan juice.
3. Mix until a dough is formed. Add more pandan juice if dough is too dry, but do so by the tablespoons.
4. Knead until a smooth dough is formed, add in melted shortening and knead until it is well combined, as in, u don't feel anymore oiliness.
5. Leave to proof for almost an hour in a almost fully covered container (I like to put it in a covered pot, my pot cover has ventilation holes). Dough is ready when it is doubled.
6. Punch down and knead for another minute.
7. Divide dough into 40gm pcs. You can get about 24 pcs.
8. Shape dough and leave to proof for another 45 minutes or until shaped dough has doubled.
9. Steam on high heat for 12-15 minutes.

* If u prefer to use fresh coconut milk, use concentrated pandan juice. See my previous post on how to make it. Just make sure pandan juice + coconut milk is 200ml.


  1. How do you twirl them into those shapes?

  2. Mmmm... nice...! How did u shape the buns? By hand? ...very nice...looks like they'r made by machine...

  3. I shaped them by hand and a rolling pin. Made them into little sausages, then I rolled them long and flat about 4cm width, 2-3mm thick. Fold them half, so it becomes a long strip about 2cm wide. Rolled them up like a pinwheel, with the folded side facing up.

  4. How do i measure as a "1 packet of powdered coconut milk" ?

  5. Coconut milk is sold in Malaysia in standard packings of "amount of powder to be dissolved and produce coconut milk from 1 coconut". The brand I used is 50gm. It will be fine if urs is 45gm, as long as the amount in weight or volume is equivalent to 1 coconut's amount for taste.

  6. Hi Wendy,
    Am I supposed let the yeast mixture froth till double in volume in step 1?
    Thanks! :)

  7. Anne,
    Just wait til it froths and it's ok.
    Frothing is to ensure the yeast is alive.
    No need to wait for it to double.
    If it looks like a glass of freshly poured beer, good enough.

  8. Hi Wendy, I don't know where to find pau flour is US. There is none asian store where I lived, can I substitute with wheat starch or something else. Please advice.


  9. Amy,
    Wheat starch is starch. You cannot subtitute with it directly, there is no gluten at all in wheat starch.
    If you cannot find pau flour, you can use half cake flour and half all purpose. Only all purpose will work as well, but it may not be that fine. Just that.

    Just never use all wheat flour, it will 100% not give u pau.

  10. Hi

    May i use bread flour instead of Pau floor?


  11. Lily,
    No. Please use all purpose flour if you can't get pau flour. Bread flour's gluten level will be too high.

  12. Amy,
    An apology

    Sorry, a typo in my reply.
    Do not use 100% wheat STARCH to make pau.
    Wheat flour is fine.

  13. Hi

    I tried making this shape... But just can't get it! Maybe I didn't understand your instructions...

    U said roll it folded side up... But if it's a 2cm strip, it will just be a rolled pinwheel, liken a snail's shell. How did u get that dome-cascading shape? (not sure if u know what I'm talking about...?)

    Me again, Jo

  14. And, ah ya forgot to ask, can I use pandan emulco instead? have some leftover...



  15. Jo,
    It's like a pinwheel.
    But once it proofs, the center bits have no where to expand, except to go upwards, which is why mine looks domed. If you see this post
    the mantous were too tightly rolled up (I didn't rest the dough) , hence a very tall dome, so tall, until it leans.
    You can use emulco, just retain the same amount of liquid and you'll be fine. One of my personal friends uses emulco to do this recipe as she told me she is lazy to blend pandan leaves. LOL. If then you can use liquid coconut milk instead of the powdered form.

  16. can i know what is shortening, melted ?

  17. Anonymous,
    If I say
    1 onion, minced.
    Means, u get one onion and mince it.
    The part after the comma is the state it should be in.
    Shortening, melted means, you melt the shortening.

  18. Hi hi

    Jo here again (from weekend Pandan chiffon humpty dumpty mishap)... have some leftover pan dan juice and game to try this!

    But... On examining the recipe, I wonder how is it slight varied from my favorite Rose bun recipe...

    Rose bun was not set for 2nd proofing n neither was the pumpkin bun... ( oh btw, I substituted purple sweet potato for pumpkin, and reduce the water as advised by you, n the pumpkin bun turned out GREAT!! Bright yellow rose - beautiful color!!!! Loved it!!)

    This pandan bun calls for total 250ml of liquid for the same amount of 500gm flour... N sugar in the yeast mixture for frothing...

    I am wondering, how should we tweak recipe and when can we simply substitute ingredients? Is there marked difference or reason why sugar is required in this yeast mixture and not in the other recipe?

    Last but not the least, I use coconut cream... That's ok?

    Many many thanks!! (n i loveeeeeeeeeee ur new kitchen, particularly, the new KitchenAid! Drool...)


  19. Arhhhhhh... Hope u get to read my post in time! Am proofing my dough now... 5mins into it, thought however the dough felt rather sticky n heavy... Quite unlike the rose bun dough... Anything wrong w it?... Keeping fingers crossed...


  20. Jo,
    sticky? knead it longer.
    If you used coconut cream, I assume liquid?
    so, total amount of liquid plus coconut cream is still 250ml?
    If you put some sugar into the yeast mixture, u're feeding it to make it grow faster.
    Actually put or dun put it's fine, but with some sugar, you get to see more action from the yeast in the initial stage.
    How to tweak? Understand the ingredients and its function, then you can tweak as you like.

  21. They look so good. I just finished a work out, and they look sooo desirable. :-)

  22. Hi Wendy,

    I tried making this bun few days ago. The dough was too sticky after I added in the pandan juice, so I added more pau flour to form into a manageable dough. I steamed it at 8pm and when I tasted it at 11pm, it tasted weird (like coconut milk turning bad)..I ate a few of them thinking that the taste of coconut powder could have caused it. I kept them in air tight containers and the next morning, all of them turn bad with foul taste (taste like coconut milk had turn bad). I was wondering what could have went wrong :(

    Best regards,

  23. Chilliqueen,
    It is slightly sticky in the beginning, and you will be tempted to add in more flour, but don't. Knead on and once the dough stops being sticky, the gluten has been formed and the buns will be soft.
    I have to admit, sometimes the coconut milk taste funny here. I also don't know why. I've made this a few times, and if I have really concentrated pandan juice, I use fresh coconut milk.
    But some of my (real life)friends have tried this recipe and the buns turned out wonderfully fragrant(i've tasted them). And they told me, they use pandan paste(in place of the pandan juice) with fresh coconut milk (to make up the liquid amount). And my friends have made this a few times.
    If it still taste awkward to you, change it to fresh milk.

  24. Chilliqueen,
    Jane tried this out before.

  25. Hi Wendy..

    Thanks for your advise, I actually added pandan paste into my pandan juice because I added water to it due to insufficient. Perhaps the next time I should use coconut milk instead of powder. Do u use mixer to knead?

    Best regards,

  26. Chilliqueen,
    this recipe was made back in those days when I only owned a hand mixer.
    Manually kneaded. My real life friend also manually kneaded.

  27. Hi Wendy. Just wondering y u mix pau flour & all purpose flour and not using all pau flour? What is the difference?

  28. Nicole,
    You can use either one if you want.
    I think that time, I was left with only 250gm pau flour, but I wanted to record the real thing that I did, so, that's why both flours are here.

  29. Ok. No wonder lar. I remembered u said pau flour texture is finer than all purpose flour. Anyway I folo exactly ur recipe and the outcome still good n sooo nice. Next time I will try all pau flour. Sure nicer. By the way how long this mantou can be kept in the freezer? I planned to make some for daily breakfast. Eating this better than eating outside. Thanx alot Wendy.

  30. Hi Wendy. My daughter like this alot. Just wondering whether can change this to cocoa flavour? Subs the coconut powder with cocoa and juice with milk? Kids always like food with cocoa flavour.

  31. Nicole,
    Coconut cream powder and cocoa powder's texture is not the same.

  32. This was my second attempt at mantou. The first time i followed a recipe that said you could use all purpose flour as i did not have pau flour. That was a huge mistake and all those were thrown out.

    This time it worked out rather well. I skipped the coconut powder as i didn't have any and i used some pandan essence instead.

    I may have added a bit much essence as i split the dough into 2 and added ube essence to the other but forgot to reduce the essence accordingly. Next time i'll add less.

    That said, the texture was amazing. So soft and fluffy and only needs half pau flour (it is expensive here compared to normal flour as it is imported).

    Eager to try this again and the other versions with sweet potato etc. :)

  33. Kenny,
    what was the problem with the 1st batch?
    Pau flour and all purpose can be used interchangebly with no problems at all when it comes to making pau. Take note that pau flour here is not the same as vietnamese pau flour that comes with lots of baking powder in it. Ours is just a fine grade all purpose.

  34. The first batch i made was really tough and not soft. I noticed when plain flour is used that the paus are never as soft and are quite yellow looking (although that is just cosmetic).

    I think the plain flour i get here in scotland is not very refined. Even when i use it to make cakes which call for cake flour i find it often fails and is quite heavy.

    I tried fine grade plain flour here once to make xibans and they turned out very gel like. =x

    I dunno why this is. But i have a couple of questions.

    1) When ever shortening is needed in a pau recipe, can it just be substituted with vegetable oil?

    2) If i used all pau flour instead of half pau and half plain flour, what would be the effect?

    I'm eating the last of the paus today and then going to try another attempt. :)

  35. Kenny,
    do they provide information on % of protein?
    I go with 9.8% for paus when I choose to use all purpose.
    1. Can, any fat will be fine.
    2. Can also, no problem. That time, I was left with only this much of pau flour, so I subbed with plain flour, and I wrote the recipe as it is :p

  36. Yeah the flour here tends to be 11% protein. I notice the pau flour is abour 7-8%.

    But thanks for answering my questions. Now i know for future so i don't have to buy some shortening especially as i don't use that for anything else.

  37. Kenny,
    Wow, 11% is quite high, almost like bread flour over here.
    Here, all purpose is available with 9%, 9.5% and 9.8% protein content.
    There is another type of pau flour here, which is bleached called Hong Kong flour, and that is used to make dimsum style steamed buns that are super fluffy and white. I am not sure of the protein content because those are usually sold repacked from large sacks. I don't use this hong kong flour because of it being bleached and the mouthfeel is way too light.

  38. Tbh i love the hong kong flour and the light and airiness of the stereotypical hong kong style char siew bun.

    I can't buy it here so i just settle for the low gluten flour from china which is 7-8%.

    If you ever make these again please take a picture of how you shape the dough. I can never manage to get them in such pretty spirals. lol

  39. Kenny,
    Hehe... I haven't been making these for a long long time. But the next time I make spirals, I'll shoot it

  40. Hi Wendy, may i know what can i substitute with for powder coconut milk & shortening? Thanks

  41. Doreen,
    Use oil or butter or coconut oil to replace shortening, any fat will do.
    As for coconut powder, just use fresh coconut milk in place of the water. Or if not, just skip it if you wish

  42. Sorry, is me again. May i know the coconut powder as stated in your recipe means is in powder form or liquid form? Can i use 50gm of fresh milk to substitute the coconut powder milk? Thanks

  43. Doreen,
    Coconut powder is powder form, dry powder form.
    Use fresh milk to replace "coconut milk powder + water" and increase the fat to 50gm


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