In China, they make Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou) as plain steamed buns with no fillings. Traditionally, they consume mantou in Northern China as a staple food. In contrast to rice as a staple food in Southern China. They normally eat these buns plain or commonly serve it as a side dish. Whereas they stuff bao or baozi with sweet or savoury fillings and make them rounded in shape.
Popularity of Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou)
Besides, Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou) and baozi are so universally popular worldwide that you can find them everywhere. From dim sums in a Chinese yum cha restaurants, to frozen ready-made packaged food in Asian supermarket. As well as all kinds of food stores and even as a street/hawker food. They usually eat these Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou) during breakfast, as a snack or meal on its own. Alternatively, they also eat them as an accompaniment for a dish. Like braised meat, meat stews or meat casseroles. As well as saucy dishes like Kung Pao Chicken or Singapore Chilli Prawns or Crabs.
Gluten Free Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou)
For my gluten free Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou) recipe, I made them with gluten free self-raising flour. Plus dry instant yeast, rice milk, agave syrup, salt and vanilla extract. This Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou) is recipe is not only gluten Free. But also vegan, low carb, dairy free, nut free, egg free, soy free, refined sugar free and allergy friendly.
History of Mantou
The origin of mantou dated all the way back to many thousands of years ago. During the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (771B.C.), whereby the people were consuming steamed fermented flour dough called “Yi” food. During the Han Dynasty, use of stone mills became popular for milling wheat flour for mantou and wheat noodles. Which became a popular food staple for the people of Northern China.
According to a famous Chinese folktale, a renowned Chinese military strategist invented mantou stuffed with meat fillings. His name was Zhuge Liang during the era of the Three Kingdoms (220–280 CE). At this time, they use stuffed these buns to replace human barbarian’s heads as a sacrifice to the river god. In order for the army to cross the raging Lu River. By the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127 AD), bao or baozi became the terms used for buns with filling. Although mantou still remains as the name used for steamed buns with no fillings.
Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou)
- Some gluten free flour for dusting work surface
For the dough:
- In a large bowl, combine and whisk all the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.
- Warm the rice milk in a small pot for around 1 minutes until lukewarm, between 40.5 and 43.3C (105 to 110 F) then turn off the heat. Add in the extra virgin olive oil, agave sugar and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Pour the warm rice milk mixture in step 2 into the well in the large bowl, stir and combine well with the flour using a spatula.
- Then use your hands to knead the dough until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough. Add 2 tablespoons rice milk if required.
- Divide the dough into 2 portions. Seal in ziplock bags and let the dough rest on the benchtop for 1 hour.
- Dust the work surface with some gluten free flour. Remove one portion of dough from the ziplock bag. Roll the dough into long log of 1½ inch thickness. You can also cut into any desired size.
- Cut each log with a knife into 1½ inch pieces around 50g (1.8oz) each.
- Line 2 large bamboo steamers with baking paper/parchment paper. Place each bun dough 1 inch apart onto the lined bamboo steamers.
- Heat up a wok with a steaming rack with some water and place the covered bamboo steamers on top of the steaming rack. Bring to a rolling boil and continue steaming the buns for 20 minutes on high heat. Ensure that there is sufficient water in the wok for the whole steaming process.
- Best served hot immediately after steaming.
- Reheat by steaming the buns on high heat until soft.