Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Mantou - Steamed Buns # 2

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


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

  2. 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?

  3. Aiwei,
    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

  4. wow~!excellent~!
    thanks for sharing ~!

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

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

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

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

  9. 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! :-)

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

  11. The mantou looks so pretty! u are creative wendy!


  12. Wendy def loaded with love on this one.

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. June,
    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,

  19. 玫瑰,玫瑰,最娇媚...玫瑰,玫瑰,最艳丽...


  20. 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!

  21. Mel,
    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. :)

  22. 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?

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

  24. They are so pretty and elegant! Very nice!

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

  26. Lovely rose shape mantou! Very beautiful!

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

  28. very pretty, like dims sum served in the restaurant.

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

  30. 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 !!!

  31. 哎哟!!真的好佩服你咯!!做得很美!!

  32. 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?

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

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

  35. Very pretty colour, you're very creative :)

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

  37. 美鸟,
    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 :)

  38. 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.

  39. 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

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

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

  42. Twinkie,
    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

  43. 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!

  44. Hi,,

    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!


  45. Jo,
    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.

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

  47. Yum yum!

    Nice look!

    Well done!

    Can i try?

  48. Hi

    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!!


  49. 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!!

  50. Peggyanagi,
    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.

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

  52. 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*

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

    nice blog. :D

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

  55. Denise,
    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.

  56. Denise,
    oh yes, half the yeast as well.

  57. 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

  58. Hi Wendy,

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


  59. Yen,
    Yes, just regular baking powder

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

  61. 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 !

  62. 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:)

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

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

  65. MH,
    the croissant shaped ones had more "gluten strands".

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

  67. 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.

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

    Thanks for sharing.

  69. 苹果妈妈,
    Your rose buns look beautiful.
    I'm glad you liked it

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

  71. stellahoh,
    thanks for the feedback

  72. 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.

  73. Nicole,
    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.

  74. oh my, too beautiful to eat them.

  75. They look amazing! Want to make them now.

  76. 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

  77. reen,
    Did your buns rise before steaming?

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

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

  80. 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!

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

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

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

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

  86. 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?

  87. Mary,
    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.

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

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

  90. 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!

  91. Natalie,
    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.

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

  93. Nathallie,
    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.

  94. 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.��

  95. Hi can I use bread flour?

  96. Alice,
    Plain flour with 9% protein will be a better choice

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

  98. 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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