I think I've unlocked one of the greatest achievements of my life - making Chinese Steamed Buns or mantou(馒头) from scratch, as a result of being miles away from home and super awesome deep fried mantou served at Chinese restaurants.You can have it steamed or deep fried. I prefer the deep fried ones but I'm going easy and settling for the steamed ones first. If there's anything I would eat everyday it would be mantou!
Having a break off exams gives me time to do all these extra stuff. Baking, cooking, gaming, dyeing hair, playing with makeup, etc. Catching up on sleep is one of the most essential things to do at this time.Anyway, I got my mantou recipe from here. I have never made mantou or anything close to it in my life, so this will be interesting.
Mantou recipes aren't that complicated (thank God). All I need is :
- 2 cups Self raising flour
- 3/4 cup Milk/Water
- 2 tablespoons of Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Active Yeast (recipe says 2 1/2 tsps)
- Steamer (I cooked it in my rice cooker)
The first step was to melt the sugar in warm water, and then mix in the yeast. Warm water is quite important to "activate" the yeast, otherwise, the buns will be an epic fail. Lol
I had no idea that yeast smelled so alcoholic. A bit alarming but that's probably because I haven't smelled/touched baking yeast ever. Mix well, and leave it aside for 5 minutes.
While waiting for that, I prepped my dough kneading station. I used my counter, because it is at the right height - at waist level. Wipe and clean it totally, then scatter some flour over it, so the dough won't stick.
After that's done, I prepared the flour for the buns. That's the flour I used.
2 cups (300g) of flour.
After the yeast/sugar has settled, I slowly mixed that into the flour with chopsticks. Swirling them around, getting every bit of flour I can. Super sticky though. After that, it's kneading time!
Kneading is probably the scariest part for me, because I hate stuff getting stuck on my hands and fingers. But I did it anyway. It's my first time kneading dough, it was terrifying. I thought it was going to be a fail because it didn't seem to harden or form properly.
After 8 minutes of kneading, getting some more flour into the dough as I kneaded, I could finally roll it into a ball. Phew. Can't tell you how relieved I was.
Next step is to put it into the bowl and cover it for 1 hour, letting the dough "grow" twice its size before it's ready to be steamed.
After an hour.
To check if it's ready, I poked holes into the dough. If it is ready, the holes shouldn't collapse, this is shown in the recipe anyway. One hole should do, but I poked more just because I was paranoid.
Then I took out the dough, punched the air out, rolled it into a log, and cut it into pieces.
Before chucking them into the steamer, I put some foil under the buns so they won't stick.
After 15 minutes, they turned out like this! The feeling was surreal.
They don't look very pretty, but the taste and everything was pretty good. Like real mantou good. Haha! I made two batches to go with the chicken curry I cooked while waiting for the dough to rise.
Dinner is served.
The flat smelled of curry and buns. I couldn't wait to dig in. Doug had this euphoric look on his face while eating the whole time, I've never seen him like that before. It felt quite nice.
We finished all the mantou, just the 2 of us. When I went back to the recipe, I read it said serves 4, but I think that's highly debatable.
Definitely gonna make more next time.