Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mantou!

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Many people have at least eaten mantou in their lives. But have they all made it at home by scratch before? Probably not!

We too, always used to buy mantou and then steam it at home to eat. On the spur of the moment one day though, came a thought in all of our heads. Why not make it from scratch? After all, there's now the bread maker, which makes the mess smaller as it's all confined into all area.

Click click goes the mouse. Light pops in head. Wrrrr goes the bread machine. Plop goes the dough, becoming little balls. Schhh goes the water in the steamer. And the sounds of muching come out, all within a afternoon.

Yes, we have made mantou. And it was a great experience!

We did it again a week later and it worked fine as well, although we reduced the entire recipe by half and also even further decreased the amount of sugar and yeast. However, we increased the resting time of the dough by a lot.

In addition to just making steamed mantou, the dough can be used for a wide variety of applications. Roll it out, add green onions, and roll it up like the pinwheel method for the green onion pancakes and then rolling it out again, and then cooking the product on the stove top gives you some exceedingly scrumptious green onion bread. Crispy, fat pieces of fried spam work perfectly with the steamed mantou; the saltiness and the fatiness of the spam is decreased, and yet the textures and flavors are still awesome.

Finished steamed mantou are also great to sop up sauces and juices from stir fries, curries, et cetera. Always works!

So many different uses, and yet so easy to make. No wonder why we have been making mantou so frequently these past weeks :).

Recipe below! And this time, I made a video on our bread maker which I hope you will find interesting. Twirl, twirl, twirl....


Mantou
For about 8 softball sized (probably bigger) buns, you'll need:

2 cups bread flour (or AP flour)
5/8 cup warm water
1 3/4 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1. Mix the warm water, yeast, and sugar together, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Like this if you have a bread machine:

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2. Pour the flour into the bread machine, or if you are making it by hand, make a well in the middle of the flour, and pour the liquid mixture in. Here's how pouring flour looks like in a bread machine:

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3. Combine everything together and knead! The bread machine kneaded for about 40 minutes or so, and then let the dough rest. It then kneaded it again for a minute or so and then let it rest for the rest of the process. Here's the video on the kneading for people who don't have a bread machine yet and would like to see how the bread machine does its work:



A good rest takes about 3-4 hours in a warm area (or overnight if you don't have time). You should be able to smell a fragrant scent from the dough. You also will want to punch the dough from time to time.

4. After resting, take the dough out onto a floured board. Roll the dough out into a log, and cut the dough to sizes which are the approximately the size of a baseball (they should look like a square-like cylinder). Right here, you can also change things by adding fillings or making your own fun design to the dough.

5. Prep your steamer! Oil the rack for the mantou. Or, use your broiling pan with the holes and oil it, and put it in a wok (make sure it is above the base of the wok so it is not touching water after pouring water in) if you don't have a special steamer mechanism. It works! Add about 2-3 cups of water to the base and start boiling!

6. Put the mantou on, keeping a good distance between each one. They will become bigger while cooking so that is why. It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook.

7. Do NOT take out the finished mantou yet after the first 15 minutes. Let it stay in the steamer for another 15 minutes, but with the heat turned off.

8. Take out and eat!

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13 comments:

Selba said...

Nica mantou!!!

Haven't eaten it for ages, hehehe...

EatTravelEat said...

Selba,

Thanks! I think they look even better now when I make them.

Passionate Eater said...

Homemade mantou!?! I bow my head in deference! I am sure they tasted better than any kind you can buy at a bakery!

Chubbypanda said...

I remember the first time I tried mantou in Taiwan. I must have been around 4 or 5. My mom took me around Taipei by bus, but after a day of sightseeing, I was hungry and cranky. She picked me up a mantou to eat. I remember how disappointed I was when I bit into it and found nothing inside.

When we got back to my grandma's place, grandma asked how my day had been and I indignantly blurted out, "Mom bought be a cha shao bao and there was nothing in it!"

Although I've grown to love mantou, to this day she still teases me about it.

Thanks for the recipe. I'm trying this one for sure.

EatTravelEat said...

Passionate Eater-
They definitely tasted better than premade mantou and bakery mantou as they were freshly made and ate right out of the steamer after cooking!

Chubbypanda-
For me the story you shared goes the other way around! I expect it to have nothing and then find it to have something added inside.

You're welcome! I hope you are successful with your results!

shavedicesundays said...

You sure are making good use of the breadmaker! Keep it up.

EatTravelEat said...

shavedicesundays,

Seems like it! But most of the time it just sits on the counter, as we are still eating stuff we had made earlier!

SinoSoul said...

holy cow. SO MUCH HEART!

now.. what did u eat with the mantou? straight sugar? stuff it with pork belly? etc?

EatTravelEat said...

SinoSoul,

Well, we did many thing with it :). We ate it with braised pork, stuffed it with crispy fried spam, made fried green onion bread, dipped it in sauces, wrapped it in seasoned seaweed, and I think that is about it. I now need to try it with sugar.

Emily said...

so how are you supposed to eat it? with your hands? i just recently tried chocolate-swirled mantou from the asain market in my town, and it truly is quite dry and i don;t know what to use as a topping...

EatTravelEat said...

Emily,
Did you steam the chocolate mantou? If not, it may be the reason it is dry, and also try not to oversteam. About 3-5 minutes in a steamer (or rice cooker if you have one) is enough, or about a minute in the microwave with water.

Since your mantou is chocolate flavored you could have it with nutella or condensed milk if you like for a sweet treat. Or any sweet dip. Mantou is basically used as a bread- use it just like you would with bread!

Emilu said...

wow thanks! i love nutella too! but anyways, thanks for the help(:

EatTravelEat said...

Emilu,
You're welcome!