Pumpkin Chinese Steamed Bun 金瓜馒头

– Recipe by Cai Li Blakeman, our expert culinary instructor on Chinese cuisine- 

This is what I call the Chinese version of dinner rolls and it can be an easy and healthy breakfast option as well. The golden yellow Chinese Steamed Bun or mán tóu, are made with fresh pumpkin. It has a mild sweet flavor with soft and fluffy texture. You may make lots of these pumpkin mantou ahead of time and freeze it. To serve, just steam it again until softened.

 Yields about 20 Buns (Mantou)

  • 220 g             pumpkin flesh (peeled and sliced) 新鲜南瓜 for making pumpkin purée
  • 1½ tsp        yeast 酵母
  • 2 tbls            lukewarm water (40°C)
  • 250g             plain flour 中筋面粉
  • 40g               caster sugar 白糖
  • 1½ tbls         cooking oilingredients.JPG


  1. To make pumpkin purée, remove the skin and seeds, thinly slice it then cover the bowl with cling wrap and put in microwave in high heat for 4 minutes. The Use a spoon to smash the pumpkin to make the purée. Cool it off.IMG_0619.JPG
  2. Resolve the yeast in 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water in 40℃.FullSizeRender.jpg
  3. Mix together plain flour and caster sugar. Add in resolved yeast and cooled pumpkin purée, mix well. Add in vegetable oil, mix into a dough. Knead the dough for about 6 minutes, until the outer is smooth. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If your dough is drier, add in a bit more water. If it is sticky, lightly coat hand with flour when kneading.IMG_0620.JPG
  4. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.IMG_0594.JPG
  5. Divide the rested dough into 2 equal pieces.IMG_0595
  6. Roll out one dough into thin rectangular shape dough, then roll up tightly into a rod shape. Cut into 10 portions using pastry knife.IMG_0623.JPG
  7. Arrange them on a parchment paper-lined bamboo basket. Leave some space between each as the buns will expand when steaming. Repeat the process with the other piece of dough. If you do not have the bamboo basket, any stainless steamer will work fine. Just make sure the lid has a hole as the hole helps prevent the condensation water from dripping onto buns, Cover the bamboo baskets and let them proof for 20 minutes. This is we call the second proof/rest.IMG_0604.JPG
  8. Fill a steamer pot or wok with water and bring the water to a boil. Place onto the stack of bamboo baskets or any the stainless steamer you would have. Cover the steamer. Turn to the high heat and cook for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat. Don’t open the lid yet. Let it rest for 2 minutes then open the lid.IMG_0606.JPG
  9. Enjoy your fluffy and chewy Mantou!results.jpg


Contributor Credit:
Cai Li Blakeman
Cai Li Blakeman

Cai Li Blakeman works for Spoonful as the Chinese Cooking instructor. Cai Li was born and raised in China and has lived in Beijing, Washington DC and Singapore. She received her culinary training at the Le Cordon Bleu in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2014.  She is also a food consultant and blogger. She shares easy recipes and stories on homemade Chinese and Asian food on the Facebook page #sentosadough and her blog of www.lets-playdough.com.

Prior to pursuing her passion for cooking and culinary education, she was a PR and Communications professional and had held management positions in global firms including United Technologies Corporation (UTC), NEC, Edelman, Johnson Controls and Kimberly-Clark.