How to prepare the mantou, the Chinese steamed buns – Italian Cuisine

How to prepare the mantou, the Chinese steamed buns

They look like little clouds! An oriental recipe to try immediately to amaze!

Perhaps you have seen some Chinese restaurants and takeaways that offer Asian streetfood small, soft and white sandwiches to be consumed empty or filled of frayed meat or vegetables.
It is about mantou and if you have tasted them and liked them, we will explain to you how to prepare them at home.

What are the mantou

The mantou, typical of Chinese cuisine, are prepared with a mixture similar to that of a focaccia and then steamed.
Their characteristic, in addition to the particularly clear color, almost white, it is the consistency that is really very soft.
Traditionally they are enough little ones and empty spaces are consumed instead of bread.
Once stuffed with meat and vegetables they are called baozi and I'm a typical one Chinese streetfood.

The history of steamed sandwiches

According to one cines legendand, in the period of the three kingdoms, the strategist Zhuge Liang led the army of the kingdom of Shu to invade the lands of the south. After subduing the barbarian king Meng Huo, Zhuge Liang wanted to return home, but he faced a major obstacle, a raging river. A local man told him that the barbarians used to sacrifice 50 men and throw their heads into the river to placate it and to satisfy the spirit of the waters, but Zhuge Liang did not want to sacrifice any man and then killed cows and horses that traveled with the army and filled with their meat some sandwiches that had the shape of human heads and threw them into the river. Once crossed the river gave these sandwiches the name of "barbarian head" that is mantou in his language.

The recipe for the mantou

200 g of flour 0
120 ml of water
2 g of dry beer yeast
1 tablespoon of seed oil
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar

To prepare the Chinese rolls mix first yeast and water.
Then slowly add the other ingredients and work everything with your hands or inside a planetary with hook.
Let the dough rise for about an hour, then divide it into six parts and form balls or muffins more flattened. Let them rise again and then cook them inside a bamboo steamer covered with parchment paper and placed on a pot of boiling water.
The steamer must be closed with the lid and the sandwiches must cook for about 20 minutes.

Spiral procedure
Once ready the dough and leavened a first time you can roll it out with a rolling pin and then roll it up creating a sort of sausage. Cut some balls and let them rise. In this way, a sort of spiral will be created inside.

How to fill and store the mantou

Better not to keep them because they dry up easily.
Prepare and serve immediately, still warm and very soft.
You can stuff it with meat the frayed pork or with the vegetable or even with something sweet if you put a little salt in the dough. The ideal accompaniment if you prepare them as a dessert is with condensed milk and in this case you can use the same dough and fry it instead of steaming it.

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