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Purple Sweet Potato Rose Mantou - Steamed Buns # 2

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

25/6/2019 Updated: New Instructional Video below recipe

I've been looking for new ways to form my steamed buns or mantou and this is one of them.

If you want to make a heartfelt low cost present for your loved one, try making this and form it into a bouquet. Every bite of it sure comes full with sincerity and bliss :p

My girls refused to take the regular shaped ones (croissant shaped), but were all over my rose buds. But these were quite time consuming to form, as to form 2 buns, I had to roll 6 pieces of dough. It comes to 1 bun 3 dough. so, triple the work. But if it's for some one you love, all the work and sweat, when returned with a kiss... what work? what sweat? It's nothing.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Mantou
Recipe source: Wendyywy
Shaping technique adapted with modifications : ziyumamajiayou

250gm steamed purple sweet potato
200gm water
500gm pau flour
1 tsp baking powder
100gm sugar
50gm shortening/Crisco
1/4 tsp salt
11gm instant yeast

1. Mash sweet potato, or blitz sweet potato with almost all the water to get a fine paste. Purple varieties tend to be firmer than orange ones.
2. With balance of water, mix with yeast.
3. Combine everything except shortening and mix to form a dough.
4. Put in shortening and knead until dough is smooth. Add slightly more flour is dough is way too sticky to handle. If the dough is sticky but can retain its form, like not slacking down, just continue to knead, the gluten just hasn’t form, there’s no need to add extra flour.
5. Cover and let dough proof until double, about 1 hour.
6. Punch down dough and knead for 1-2 minutes.
7. Divide dough into 50gm portions and form as you wish. For rose bud formation method, please read instructions below.
8. Cover and let the formed dough proof until doubled for another 45 minutes.
9. Steam on high heat for 12 minutes.

Rose Shaped Buns.
1. Make small dough balls of 15gm each.
2. Flatten each ball and roll out flat.
3. With fingers, press the sides of the circle to make them flatter and to create ripples (uneveness) .
4. Arrange 6 pieces of flattened dough, half stacking on top of each other.
5. Start rolling from the first piece on the bottom.
6. With a chopstick, saw the roll, it will roll while you saw, creating a fatter center than the sides. Eventually it will break into 2.
7. Place rose buds upright on a piece of paper.
8. Let buns rise to double and steam on high heat for 12 minutes.

*Tip : Flatten out enough dough balls for one round of steaming before flattening out the rest. Keep dough in fridge to prevent over proofing while you slowly form the rose buds. And keep the formed rose buds in the fridge(covered) to slow down the 2nd proofing while you shape. This method does take time to complete.

*Tip #2 (7/10/13):
Form small balls of dough (15gm), right after kneading, before the first proofing, at Step 5. Let them proof as small balls. After proofing for 1 hour, just roll them flat to shape into rose buds.

Looks easy? Yes, but a bit time consuming.

***Take note that when fresh from the steamer, the colour is brighter. It turns pale to a magentaish colour after cooling down. Colour will return bright when steamed again.***

The first pic is 1st attempt, the day before I delivered Reuben
2nd pic is from 2nd attempt, after Reuben's full moon, which was more than a month ago

103 lovely notes:

ai wei August 17, 2011 at 11:28 AM  

it's really pretty!!! thanks for the technique!

2Big August 17, 2011 at 11:32 AM  

Looks too pretty to eat! Thanks for the recipe. My son is allergic to wheat, eggs and dairy. Do you think I can substitute to rice flour?

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more August 17, 2011 at 11:36 AM  

Thanks and u're welcomed

No. Rice flour has no gluten. Making steamed buns is just like baking bread. It needs gluten for structural support during the rising.
If you know how to bake bread using wheat substitutes, go ahead and use the same type of flours for this, but plain rice flour won't do

June August 17, 2011 at 11:50 AM  

thanks for sharing ~!

yummylittlecooks August 17, 2011 at 11:57 AM  

Wah, so pretty!Gorgeous man tou :)

Nur Misnan August 17, 2011 at 12:02 PM  

hohoho... look awesome..
tak jadi makanlah... cantik sangat

Ah Tze August 17, 2011 at 12:02 PM  

This mantou looks so gorgeous!! thanks for sharing the steps to make the rose buns.

Amelia's De-ssert August 17, 2011 at 12:13 PM  

wow, pretty rose mantou, too pretty to be eaten.

Food Dreams August 17, 2011 at 12:49 PM  

so creative lah... no heart to eat it cos so pretty.. :D

Mel August 17, 2011 at 3:05 PM  

Aiyo....so beautiful colour as well as the shape! It is really sooooo beautiful. You must have spent quite some time of completing the whole process. Now, Valentine can give mantou instead of real roses! :-)

Cheah August 17, 2011 at 4:08 PM  

They look so pretty. Thanks for sharing the steps to create them.

アンゼエリン August 17, 2011 at 4:23 PM  

The mantou looks so pretty! u are creative wendy!


edith August 17, 2011 at 5:15 PM  

Wendy def loaded with love on this one.

Cuisine Paradise August 17, 2011 at 5:18 PM  

Wendy!!! It is indeed awesome!!!!! I love the ideas!!! Thanks for sharing and yours is sooooo beautiful!!!!

Janine August 17, 2011 at 6:29 PM  

WOW wendy this is so so so so so pretty - I love how the purple sweet potato can appear in so many different colors! And it really is a wonderful gift for anyone - in fact I think I'm gonna make this as part of my mom's birthday present. Amazing!

Mary Chey August 17, 2011 at 7:04 PM  

Wendy, just found your blog. Thanks for sharing. I'm sure anyone see this will like. I will try on this this coming potluck in my house.

HomeKreation August 17, 2011 at 7:32 PM  

Wow Wendy, such a creation. Saw something like rose buns in DG's house earlier & been in my to-do list but never get materialised. Seeing yours put more fire in my desire to try. Problems is sometimes I'm a bit lazy to put extra effort...hehe

ICook4Fun August 17, 2011 at 8:40 PM  

Oh this is so pretty!! No wonder your kids like having this. I always like purple sweet potatoes but it is hard to come by here. I have to go all the way to chinatown to get it and it very expensive. $2.00 a pound.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more August 17, 2011 at 10:28 PM  

You're welcomed


Nur Misnan,
Jangan tak makan, nanti berkulat, habis la!

Ah Tze,
Hope u try to make some

Must eat, if not wasted :)

food dreams,
It's not my idea, I only modified the method to my prefernce


small kucing,

cherry potato August 17, 2011 at 10:32 PM  



lena August 17, 2011 at 10:36 PM  

wow!wow! i would be so thrilled if someone hand me a bouquet of these, not going to eat them, i will just display them until they get moldy!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more August 17, 2011 at 10:37 PM  

I only made 6 and the rest were shaped like a croissant. Which was why my kids were grabbing them for themselves

No problem, hope you try this method out :)

Hohoho, not my idea.
I just modified the method

:) Yeah, my kids ate all my love. LOL

Cuisine paradise,
I hope you try this method out :)

If you've tried photographing purple or anything that is naturally dyed with anthocyanin, you will understand how difficult it is. It appears differently under different lightings and it never appears in its real colour. I just couldn't edit it to make it look like the real thing.
Hope ur mom loves this

Mary Chey,
I can imagine the 'wow' look on your guests' faces :)

Oh her method is different. That is for wrapping fillings, this is plain bun.
Don't wait.. make for sahur!

they are girls.. and haha, you know la girls. It is 2nd nature to them to love flowers.
Wow that's expensive, buy only if u happen to bump into them. :)

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more August 17, 2011 at 10:39 PM  

cherry potato,
LOL.. good song, good song!

If you make these for ur hubby and he grow mold on them.. hahaha, will u 'strangle' him?

美鸟 August 18, 2011 at 5:14 AM  

wow! its amazing i'm going to have to give this ago. thank you for posting. I love your blog, always posting great stuff.

Zoe August 18, 2011 at 8:37 AM  

They are so pretty and elegant! Very nice!

Pete August 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM  

Wah, so pretty..... I am not good at food art....lol!

Little Inbox August 18, 2011 at 12:49 PM  

Lovely rose shape mantou! Very beautiful!

Swee San August 18, 2011 at 1:38 PM  

After seeing this picture for so long on your msn, it's finally up!!

Fong's Kitchen Journal August 18, 2011 at 1:39 PM  

very pretty, like dims sum served in the restaurant.

Wai Kitt August 18, 2011 at 3:35 PM  

wow!wow!wow! Like your paus very much! I mean the roses pattern! A piece of art!

Elin August 18, 2011 at 4:09 PM  

It is beautiful..worth all your effort when the kids eat them :) and kisses from all of them in exchange for the hard work shaping the mantou dough into roses...worth it !!!

annann August 18, 2011 at 6:47 PM  


Theresa August 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM  

Amazingly beautiful! Have been a silent reader and been pretty amazed with all that you can accomplished, just cooking, esp even during confinement. Tried some of your recipes too, easy to follow and thanks for sharing! 

Seeing these made me want to reattempt making pau. Last time I tried it was a gooey mess! And I told myself never again! But seeing your roses, wow. Wondering if I can substitute shortening cos I don't have it?

Jeannie August 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM  

Very pretty buns! Impressive work, you are so patient!

Ellie August 18, 2011 at 8:21 PM  

Okay, those are beautiful. I never saw anything like that. I am afraid to attempt it, but I might have to!! :)

Anncoo August 18, 2011 at 9:48 PM  

Very pretty colour, you're very creative :)

oilai August 19, 2011 at 12:00 AM  

Wah so beautiful for me just like a mission impossible .I 'm not good doing this kind of things.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more August 19, 2011 at 3:33 PM  

I hope you like the recipe


Get ur kids to do this :)

Little inbox,
Ur purple potato buns shaped like a knot also nice :)

Swee San,
LOL, yawoh, queue up ma. what to do?

Yes, Wendy's restaurant :)

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more August 19, 2011 at 3:38 PM  

Wai Kitt,

they were fighting for them! LOL


xie xie ;)

Paus shouldn't be that hard.
My pau recipes are concocted by myself and they aren't slacky, should be easier to handle
BTW, I only cooked a few dishes during confinement, kekeke.
Use butter if you want, it's alright

I only made 6 cos i was impatient! LOL

Please go ahead!

I derived the idea elsewhere... innovative could be, creative, not so, kekeke.

Try. You won't know. Just try a few roses and shape the rest as you like it. You'll make Chin melt if you give him this. LOL.

Twinkie August 20, 2011 at 4:24 AM  

This is incredibly pretty and cute! Don't even know if I can do it but will have to try!

Thank you very much.

I am a happy follower! XD

Jes's Deli Corner August 20, 2011 at 10:47 PM  

Wow, u also make it...i saw other bloggers made it. thks for sharing the steps.

DG August 21, 2011 at 12:28 AM  

Beautiful mantou in shape and colour too, thanks for sharing all the steps :)

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more August 21, 2011 at 1:29 AM  

thanks for following

I did these buns about 3 months ago, but never got the first batch posted until I did the 2nd batch. I guess those bloggers you meant are Chinese language bloggers, and I think we got the technique from the almost the same people in China. but then I didn't follow the source's recipe and changed a bit on the steps to my preferecne.

You're welcomed

kirbie August 26, 2011 at 7:21 AM  

These are so beautiful. I definitely want to try out this technique. They look almost like they were made in rose cake molds, but you did it by hand. So pretty!

Anonymous,  August 29, 2011 at 9:40 PM  


True gorgeous!!! Am game to try this soon... But how many buds did u yield from this proportion?

And if I substitute shortening with butter as u had earlier advised, how much butter should I use then?




Thank you!


wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more August 31, 2011 at 12:57 AM  

Same amount of shortening as to butter.
How much to yield.. hmm.. do some calculations then you will know.
One piece of dough-15gm
For 2 pieces of rose buds - 6X15= 90gms, meaning 45gm each bud

total dough weight/45gm =total amount of rose buds that you will get

I never did it all in rose buds form, as I do not have the time for it.

Blessed Homemaker September 6, 2011 at 1:16 AM  

Wow! You still have time to do this! Applause!!

CH Voon September 6, 2011 at 3:04 AM  

Yum yum!

Nice look!

Well done!

Can i try?

Anonymous,  September 20, 2011 at 10:52 AM  


Just want to share that I have made this in various portion a couple of times since (its really not difficult!)... n its my boys' favorite! Somehow they like this Man Tou better than cakes, dinner rolls etc.

And most of all, everyone is impressed with the Rose!!

Kudos to you, Wendy! Keep your recipes n tips coming!!


Peggyanagi September 22, 2011 at 10:42 PM  

hi wendy! your blog has been most inspiring and all steps are easy to follow! i just want to ask whats the different in steaming and boiling the sweet potato?will it affect the color/texture? and can i substitute shortening with normal margarine? thanks alot!!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more September 23, 2011 at 9:49 AM  

can use margarine, no problem.
If you steam them, the potatoes will less wet
If you boil them, don't peel the skin, but the problem is,they might break open from their skin,colours will leak out. The boiled potatoes are wetter than steamed ones.

lina October 11, 2011 at 10:17 AM  

hi wendy i'm following ur blog...All ur recipe awesome...wanna try this recipe puple sweet potato rose...looks lovely! well done.

MamaFaMi October 13, 2011 at 12:40 PM  

Thank you Wendy for sharing this lovely technique of shaping pau. I used your technique on your redbean spiral pau. Though mine turned ugly, but I am quite happy with it. Practise makes perfect, hopefully! *wink*

Tijah October 24, 2011 at 7:53 PM  

omg cantiknya. btw...gonna finish all ur n3 1st before trying.

nice blog. :D

Anonymous,  October 28, 2011 at 11:46 PM  

Hi Wendy, just to check with you, can I keep the dough in fridge after first proof then shape it next day? Thanks.- Denise. :)

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 29, 2011 at 10:13 AM  

If that is so, do not proof it at all, throw it straight into the fridge to shape the next day.
Let it do the first proofing in the fridge.
Try not to leave it more than 12 hours, if not the dough might break down. Once I left a piece of dough(not this one) at 17 hours and it broke down.

Farah Rahim November 15, 2011 at 11:43 AM  

Thank you wendy for this recipe.
Very inspirational. I tried it without using sweet potato and put coconut filling but same technique. My daughter was beyond words when she saw it hehehe

Anonymous,  November 17, 2011 at 3:58 PM  

Hi Wendy,

Ur recipe use baking powder, not double acting baking powder right?


Anonymous,  November 17, 2011 at 10:43 PM  

Thank u! I like this technique very much..thanks for sharing!

Mag,  November 28, 2011 at 12:09 PM  

this is wonderful ! I always make ordinary shape (twisted one) and never though can turns into rose, will definitely give it a try soon! thanks for sharing the technique !

carie,  January 4, 2012 at 4:21 PM  

Hi Wendy,
I've done this lovely roses. My whole family love it so much.
Where should I keep my balance shortening? In room temp. or in fridge?
Thx again for sharing:)

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 4, 2012 at 4:24 PM  

room temp. It stores very well and can last u for a long long time.

Anonymous,  March 8, 2012 at 1:37 AM  

Between the rose buds and croissants, any difference in texture since both are shaped differently? MH

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more March 8, 2012 at 10:30 AM  

the croissant shaped ones had more "gluten strands".

Linnh April 15, 2012 at 7:37 PM  

Thank you Wendy for sharing this easy technique.I like you blog.

Hesti HH. April 18, 2012 at 1:42 PM  

Hi Wendy, greeting from Indonesia.

Love your blog, always handy with step by step tutorial. Now I can make it on my own...thanks so much for sharing.

苹果妈妈 May 12, 2012 at 3:02 PM  

Hi Wendy! I tried this recipe too, love it very much!
I posted my photos here

Thanks for sharing.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more May 12, 2012 at 5:36 PM  

Your rose buns look beautiful.
I'm glad you liked it

stellahoh June 11, 2012 at 4:38 PM  

i do it on last sat, d rose shape are very beautiful i like it very much, thx for u tips

Nicole Wong,  August 27, 2012 at 12:27 AM  

Hi Wendy. Made half of this too but I ter bought the wrong potato. Bought the japanese type potato which is yelo in colour. It was nice and soft but cant really taste the potato at all.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more August 27, 2012 at 1:09 AM  

The potato usually comes with a sticker, if the background of the sticker is white, that is the yellow one, if the background of the sticker is purple, then it is purple.
It doesn't have much taste one la, just very nice soft texture and colour only.

Caca September 28, 2012 at 4:27 PM  

oh my, too beautiful to eat them.

Chinese Bookshop October 1, 2012 at 4:35 AM  

They look amazing! Want to make them now.

Anonymous,  October 10, 2012 at 1:25 PM  

Hihi, those roses looks pretty! I did them myself but turn out to be hard n starchy, do u know why? Pls help me, thanks

Regards, reen

Cindy,  November 18, 2012 at 12:13 AM  

dear wendy can I make bread dough and shape into this rose shape...?

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more November 19, 2012 at 1:12 AM  

should be fine, but the colour of the rose will be brown :p

Miss B @ Everybody Eats Well in Flanders June 3, 2013 at 5:00 PM  

Hi Wendy,
I recently made a batch of your purple sweet potato baos with both red bean fillings and kaya fillings, and I shaped them into porcupines, rabbits and roses. The recipe was lovely, thank you!

Anonymous,  September 4, 2013 at 1:09 AM  

Hi Wendy, how do you retain the purple colour? Mine turned grey. Pls advise. Thks.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more September 5, 2013 at 11:23 AM  

Mine has never turned grey.
I just made mine as how I wrote the instructions.
Usually sweet potato turns grey if there is egg.

Ying,  October 7, 2013 at 5:32 PM  

Hi, I tried your shaping method with another recipe and it turned out fantastic :D I used 2 diff colour dough (green and white) and came up with bi-coloured roses XD But after trying this recipe - shaping them into croissants - I think the yeast I added (1-3/4 tsp which i assume is around 5.5g, after halving recipe) is a bit too much cuz my dough doubled in size in 20 mins during first proof and 15 mins during 2nd proof... Ended up with wrinkled skin mantous and with some 死面 at the bottom layer :( gonna reduce the yeast next time and see how it goes.

Mary,  November 21, 2013 at 9:46 AM  

hi, i made this mantous and they are fabulous.
But i would like to know why the mantous cracked after steaming.
Thnks for your advice.

WendyinKK November 22, 2013 at 1:02 AM  

U mean the petals split? Did u cover the buns as they proof for the 2nd time?

Mary,  November 27, 2013 at 9:27 AM  

As i made those mantous during winter here, I let them prove in the preheated oven without covering.
The oven temp was at 40c. The petals split was due to this?

WendyinKK November 27, 2013 at 2:48 PM  

Yes, the warm dry oven dried the surface of the buns. When you steamed them, the surface won't expand as well as the moist inner dough, that's why it cracked. Put a saucepan of hot water into the oven could be better.

Memorable Moments April 22, 2014 at 9:26 PM  

Hi, can i skip the shortening? I just start to learn how to bake. Dun have some many ingredients in my kitchen :)

WendyinKK April 24, 2014 at 10:59 AM  

Memorable Moments
You have to replace it, cannot skip the fat content.
You can either use butter or oil

Natallie May 7, 2014 at 1:46 AM  

Just learning how to bake as well. What actually is shortening?? We go to baking shops and ask for shortenings as an ingrediant? If I were to substitute with oil, how much oil to use ya?

I tried making pumpkin mantau earlier and it became hard very fast. Have to eat it quickly after steaming or else it'll become a 'rockbun' :( any idea why its like that ya? Thks!

WendyinKK May 7, 2014 at 11:04 PM  

shortening is a common baking ingredient. I'm sure the baking shop will have it. If you choose to use oil, use the same amount.
If your mantau was properly kneaded, properly proofed and properly kept, it stays soft for 36 hours minimum.

Natallie May 8, 2014 at 11:13 AM  

Oh ok.. thks!If i were to use the bread making machine to knead the dough, any how long should it be kneaded?

WendyinKK May 8, 2014 at 2:10 PM  

I don't own one, I won't know. Maybe you can read up the instructions from your maker.
Manual kneading takes around 10 to 15 minutes.

Pamela Tan June 11, 2014 at 4:32 PM  

Thank you, Wendy for this pretty recipe.
Made mine yesterday and impressed everyone. The mantou texture is soft n fluffy. Tasted good on its own. Even better when it's piping hot with some butter on top.��

Alice BG Lee July 23, 2015 at 9:47 PM  

Hi can I use bread flour?

WendyinKK July 23, 2015 at 10:06 PM  

Plain flour with 9% protein will be a better choice

Pei Wong September 19, 2015 at 7:10 PM  

Can I use gluten free flour instead if pau flour? As my daughter has allergy only eat gluten free diet.

WendyinKK September 21, 2015 at 10:08 PM  

Pei Wong,
I have no experience dealing with gluten free flours.
sorry, can't help you with that.
But if the same flour can be used to bake bread, then it should be alright

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