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Pumpkin Mantou

pumpkin, mantou, pau, bun, steamed, Chinese bun, snack, tea time, toddler, kid, children, healthy, food 4 tots



Yields: 10-12 small mantou

110 grams pumpkin puree (note 1)
40 grams castor sugar (note 1)
250 grams pau flour or plain flour (note 2)
3 grams instant yeast (about 1 teaspoon)
3 grams baking powder (about 1 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon salt
15 grams olive oil (or salad oil)
50 – 60 ml water


  1. Prepare pumpkin puree (refer to PAGE 3) .
  2. Mix instant yeast with half portion of the water (about 30 ml) together. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine pau flour and baking powder. Sieve and add in sugar and salt to combine. Add in pumpkin puree to roughly incorporate.
  4. Add in oil and yeast mixture (from step 2) and knead. Add the remaining water bit by bit to the dough. You don’t need to finish all the water. The amount of water is subject to how concentrated the pumpkin puree is. When a rough dough is formed, transfer it to a working surface and continue kneading until the dough is no longer sticky, soft and smooth.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly oil bowl, cover with cling wrap. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes in room temperature.
  6. Lightly dust the working surface with flour. Gently punch down the dough to deflate and knead it for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Rough the dough into a rectangle (approx. 35cm x 20cm). With a pastry brush, remove any excess flour on the top surface and brush a thin layer of water on it. Starting from the wider edge, roll up the dough like a swiss roll.
  8. Roll the elongated dough out until it reaches a length of 45-50cm.
  9. Cut out both end and divide the remaining dough into 8-10 equal portions.
  10. Place each portion on a piece of baking parchment paper or muffin liner.
  11. Proof them for another 30 minutes until double in size. I proof the mantou inside the bamboo steamer with lukewarm water underneath. You can also proof inside an oven (without power).
  12. Starting from cold water and with medium high heat, steam the mantou for 18-20 minutes (depending on the size of the mantou).
  13. Once it’s done, open the lid slightly to release the heat for 5 minutes. Transfer the bamboo steamer away from the water and let it stand for another 2-3 minutes before removing the lid. With this, the mantou will not shrink after cooling down.


  1. I used local pumpkin which is not so sweet and the amount of sugar (40g) is just right for us. You canΒ  reduce the sugar to 30g if you prefer it to be less sweet.
  2. Pau flour is a special type of flour used for making Chinese steamed buns. It gives the mantou a softer and fluffier texture as compared to plain flour.
  3. Β I kneaded the dough wtih my hands as the size of the dough is small and easy to handle. You are free to do it with breadmaker or kitchen mixer (with a dough hook).
  4. You can steam the mantou with stainless steel steamer. Be sure to cover the lid with cloth to prevent water dripping on the mantou.
  5. Best to serve warm. If consume the next day, store inside an air-tight container and keep in the fridge. These mantou can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw them in advance and steam for 2-3 minutes.
  6. The diameter of my bamboo steamer is 12 inch.
  7. I bought my bamboo steamer from a local shop selling kitchenware (Pembekal Peralatan Dapur Gas – Lee Poh Wah) at Jalan Kepong, Kuala Lumpur.


step by step tutorial, pumpkin, mantou, pau, bun, steamed, Chinese bun, snack, tea time, toddler, kid, children, healthy, food 4 tots

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  1. These mantou look really soft and super!

  2. tigerfish says:

    Can something be dense yet soft? Yes! Cos I can see that the soft fluffy mantou is quite dense from the photos πŸ™‚

    • food-4tots says:

      Tigerfish: Thanks for your comment. Could it be due to the way I cut it? This mantao is actually soft and not dense but of course, it won’t be as good as bao. πŸ™‚

  3. food-4tots says:

    Yvonne: This recipe uses sugar, salt and oil. Thus, I won’t recommend it for babies below 1 year old. πŸ™‚

  4. jerlynn says:


    I intend to do a plain mantou. Can i just omit the pumpkin? Need to substitude anything?

    • food-4tots says:

      Jerlynn: Yes, you can but you may need more water for kneading. Add the water bit by bit and knead until the dough is smooth but not sticky. Hope it helps! πŸ™‚

  5. Sunnysu says:

    Thanks for your post with clear instructions and nice photos!
    I tried to make my own but realize the baking powder and yeast is a little confusing. My spoon indication is that if it’s 1 teaspoon volume, it should be 7.5g. So may I know which to follow ? A teaspoon or 3g?
    By the way, your dough looks so smooth! Thumbs up!
    Thanks in advance!

    • food-4tots says:

      Sunnysu: Different ingredients carry different weight even though they may fit into the same teaspoon. Thus, for more accurate amount, I would prefer to use gram instead of teaspoon. Thank you for your wonderful compliment! Hope your mantous turn out perfect too! πŸ™‚

  6. Sunnysu says:

    Thanks for the tips!
    My mantou looks awesome despite it’s a little dense
    Overall I’m happy that a newbie like me can follow your instruction step by step to yield such wonderful output
    Thank you once again

    • food-4tots says:

      Sunnysu: Thank you for the feedback!! In your next attempt, try to add some more water or need to knead a bit longer. Maybe it will help. πŸ™‚

  7. Hazel says:

    Hi! Can i do away with the baking powder? Thank you.

  8. Miffy says:

    Thank you for sharing. My bun taste yummy and soft. I made two batch, one with original recipe and the other modified the steps 7 from brushing a thin layer water to brush a thin layer of pumpkin purΓ©e instead. Tastes so good. Wanted to share with you guys a photo but don’t know how to do it. Cheers.

  9. LG says:

    Can you provide me the shop selling bamboo steamer address? (Pembekal Peralatan Dapur Gas – Lee Poh Wah) at Jalan Kepong, Kuala Lumpur.

  10. Imelda says:

    Hi, I’ve made this yesterday for my family.. It’s soft n fluffy while warm. Love the bright yellow color too. My 1,5 year old son loves it so much. I’m using low protein flour because I’m run out of pau flour. Maybe next time I’ll going to use coconut milk instead water for richer taste. Thank you so much for the recipe

  11. […] I modified the Mantou recipe I have been using for 15 years. However, I used the method from food-4tots. […]

  12. Kimmy says:

    Thanks for sharing this lovely mantou recipe. I made a double portion with various shapes. They are so fluffy and light. Its a keeper.

  13. susann says:

    Hi.. I tried n its delicious! My little niece loves it! Thank you for sharing!

  14. sueann says:

    tried this recipe today, and it is delicious! family and friends all love it. thanks for sharing!

  15. LYNN STEFANUK says:

    What is plain four or pau flour? I’m in the US and I do not know if you meant All Purpose flour or Bread flour. Thank you so much. I love mantou but never think that we can make with pumkin.

    • food-4tots says:

      Lynn Stefanuk: Plain flour is medium protein flour. It is also called All Purpose Flour. Pau flour is a special low protein flour. Hong Kong flour is another similar type that you can use to make Chinese pau or dim sum. οΌšοΌ‰

  16. MaRecipes says:

    Pumpkin Mantou is my favourite! Never get tired making this πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing

  17. Estella says:

    Can I use glutinous rice flour instead?

  18. Jeannie says:

    I just made them. But after steaming, mine really fluff up and it tastes more like steam cakes than mantao. =(

    • food-4tots says:

      Jeannie: Perhaps you have added too much water. It would be more accurate if you can use a digital weighing scale to measure the yeast and baking powder. πŸ™‚

  19. Angie says:

    If after 30 minites proof the mantou still remain the size instead of double up the size, what should i do?

    • food-4tots says:

      Angie: Maybe the yeast you used was not active anymore. Try to google and do a yeast test. Another possibility is the temperature. Proofing need to be done around 26C-30C. Hope it helps! πŸ™‚

  20. Susanna says:

    Hi, can u advise whether it’s the same time for steaming for 2 bamboo tiers? The mantous in the below tier is cooked the same time as the top one?


  21. Susanna says:

    Thanks for the tip

  22. Casey Chong says:

    Hi, I’m using bamboo steamer to steam the mantao also but the water tends to drop on the mantao and it became wrinkle the surface πŸ™
    Could you pls advice what went wrong?
    Thx ~

    • food-4tots says:

      Casey Chong: Make sure to place your mantao away from the side rim of the bamboo steamer. Also try to leave a little gap (btw the cover and the bamboo rack) to allow steams to escape from the bamboo steamer. Hope it helps! πŸ™‚

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