Rose 'Mantou' Buns

When I was researching Asian recipes to do for Valentine's Day, I didn't think there would be too many recipes that weren't just pretty and cute cookies and cakes. To my surprise, I came across these rose mantou buns. They remind me a lot of another "trendy" recipe this year, which were the apple rose tarts. Anyhow, I knew this recipe and technique would be both fun to make and fun to eat.

I went with beet root powder to be my sweetener and color, but a drawback of using natural food coloring is the color does change after the buns get cooked. What was once a brilliant purple, pink color turned more into a deep salmon orange. I loved how both colors looked, but if you want a different colored rose or just one that looks the more similar before and after steaming, then maybe going with food coloring is the better choice.

270 5
270 6
270 7
270 8
270 2
270 3

If any of you are interested, you can glam up this recipe by sprinkling scallions throughout the layers. Or if you want something less savory, then a light layer of sesame paste or even some cinnamon in the layers might be nice.

Rose Buns

(Makes 10 buns)

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons beet root powder + 1 tablespoon sugar OR couple drops food coloring + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil


  1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the warm water, yeast, beet root powder and sugar. If not using beet root powder, add in the food coloring and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes until bubbles begin to develop.
  2. Mix in the flour and salt. Then add in the coconut oil.
  3. Knead until a smooth dough forms, about 2-3 minutes. Cover and let sit in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 25 balls. Roll the balls into 4-inch diameter disks, with one disk being slightly bigger.
  5. Take 4 disks with the largest at the end and overlap them so that each successive disk's edge is in the middle of the former circle. Take the last disk and roll it up. Place this at the other end and beging rolling all of the disks into one large roll.
  6. Take a dough cutter and cut down the middle width-wise of the roll. Tuck the bottoms to form the bottom of the rose. Using fingers, open the petals of the roses.
  7. Place dough roses onto a steamer basket lined with parchment.
  8. Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes.
  9. Steam the roses on medium high heat for 12 minutes. Then turn off the heat without opening the cover and let the roses sit for 2-3 minutes.

Copyright © 2021 - Christina Ng