Rika’s Vegan Steamed Purple Potato & Chia Buns (Mantou) from Vegan Miam – Breakfast In Bed-Fest entry #11

 2014 'Breakfast In Bed-Fest' on Canned-Time.com

My ‘Breakfast In Bed-Festival’ this year is really just a sneaky way of sharing my favorite Vegan bloggers best breakfast recipes with you all and having a bit of competitive fun all the while.  As I have said too many lots of times before, I leave out for work in the pre-pre-dawn hours, more like the middle of the night for some, I’m sure. I don’t get the luxury very often to enjoy a wonderfully fresh home made breakfast to enjoy in the comfort of my home.  So I’m hosting a little monthly highlight this year of the best of the best in healthy breakfast ideas for days when I am able to spend more time enjoying breakfast. I’ve asked 12 of the most creative, health conscious and economically minded  bloggers to each share 1 breakfast that highlights both their own website and their own ingenuity for eating healthily, kindly and creatively.  At year’s end, we’ll have a little vote on which month’s posting you all enjoyed the most and congratulate the winner with a few kind words and some prizes.  There’s a Pinterest board you can follow to see how the event unfolds each month with all the recipes and news about my Breakfast In Bed-Fest and it’s participants.  

Rika creator of  Vegan Miam has entry #11:

I’m thrilled to be a part of the November edition of Angela’s year-long Breakfast in Bed event. The event focuses on inexpensive vegan breakfast recipes that require less than $20 for ingredients. I would like to thank the lovely Angela for organizing this event.

One of the most common and least expensive breakfast options you’ll find in Taiwan are steamed buns (known as mantou in Chinese). They are available plain, filled or subtly flavored in colorful varieties of doughs. Typically paired with a warm glass of soya bean milk, these buns often make a quick, hearty breakfast or snack for people of all ages. Mantou are available at vendors on nearly every street corner in Taiwan along many parts of Asia with a Chinese population.

Vegan Steamed Purple Potato & Chia Buns Mantou

If you’ve ever tried Chinese filled buns (baozi) at a dim sum restaurant, then you’ll notice that these mantou have the same texture and consistency since it’s virtually the same dough. Mantou are often recognizable for their puffed cloud-shaped appearance and may be available in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common varieties of mantou are plain, taro and scallion. My recipe uses seasonal potatoes to provide an added vibrancy and unique flavor.

Traditional buns are something I have made for years, the filled and the unfilled versions, and I hope to share more recipes for buns on Vegan Miam.

Steamed Purple Potato & Chia Buns Mantou

The buns I’m sharing with you today are my Vegan Steamed Purple Potato & Chia Buns (Mantou) – they are homemade, delicious, light, fluffy and filling. I added chia seeds for a bit of added texture and nutrition. Warm up some freshly made nut or soy milk for dipping and you’re good to go! You can also find frozen mantou at your local Asian supermarkets, just be careful since most of them contain dairy (i.e., whey or milk powder).

Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes

I used the non-GMO Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes from Frieda’s Inc for this recipe, but any type of sweet potatoes, winter squashes or Japanese yams will work. Grown in California and in season through the winter (November & December), these mildly sweet potatoes provided a bold color to my buns.

Now, I’m not the most skilled when it comes to working with my dough and shaping it. I attempted to give my buns a bit of a flower shape but I think my flowers are a bit abstract. Fortunately whether or not they look like flowers won’t affect the flavor. Do your best and enjoy twisting this dough into delicious buns.

Vegan Mantou

Vegan Mantou

Tip: I used a bamboo steamer basket for the recipe. It should sit snugly in a wok or a pot. Add a bit of water, about 2-3 inches deep. Stainless steamer pots or steamer insert (that fits in your pot) will also work great if you don’t have a bamboo steamer basket. I’ve never tried a gluten-free flour for this recipe, but if I do, I will let you know how they turn out. Or if you have already attempted to make gluten-free mantou, I would love to hear about it.

Vegan Steamed Purple Potato & Chia Buns Mantou


Vegan Steamed Purple Potato & Chia Buns (Mantou) – by Rika, Vegan Miam


Summary:    I used a bamboo steamer basket for the recipe. It should sit snugly in a wok or a pot. Add a bit of water, about 2-3 inches deep. Stainless steamer pots or steamer insert (that fits in your pot) will also work great if you don’t have a bamboo steamer basket. I’ve never tried a gluten-free flour for this recipe, but if I do, I will let you know how they turn out. Or if you have already attempted to make gluten-free mantou, I would love to hear about it.

Yield: 15 buns


11½ ounces (325g) purple sweet potato

2 ¾ teaspoons active dry yeast

½ cup + 2 tablespoons (150mL) unsweetened dairy-free milk, at room temperature

½ cup organic cane sugar (granulated)

2 cups all-purpose flour (250g), plus more for dusting 

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)

2 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing

  1. Peel the potatoes and rinse well. Cut the potatoes lengthwise in half and peel some skin off. Proceed to chop the potatoes into approximately 1-inch cubes. Put the potatoes in the rack of a steamer over boiling water and steam for 15 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, cut out at least fifteen 4-inch squares of parchment paper for your steamed buns. Drain the potatoes and mash finely in a bowl or put potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer for a finer mash.



  1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, milk and sugar. Stir until thoroughly blended and set aside to proof the yeast for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the yeast mixture into flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add mashed potato and the (optional) chia seeds. Continue to knead until well combined and form into a ball. Add more flour if dough is to sticky to work with. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and brush it with oil. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm area until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.


  1. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into logs, then cut each log into 3 equal pieces (about 50g each). Roll each piece into a ball. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and allow them to rest and rise for 30 minutes.




  1. Working with one piece at a time, flatten one ball with the palm of your hand, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough in an oval shape about 1/4-inch thick. Using a soft pastry brush or fingers, rub a thin layer of vegetable oil over the rolled dough.  With a sharp knife, make several vertical slits but not all the way to the edges (about 1/4-inch apart), then pick up the dough and gently twist into a knot. Form the knot into a ball, tucking the ends in underneath. Then place your finished ball of dough on one of the pre-cut 4” squares of parchment paper you prepared earlier . Cover with plastic wrap and form the rest of the buns. Let the buns rise for an hour.





  1. Meanwhile, set up a steamer on the stovetop and get the water to boil over medium high heat. Working in batches, steam the buns for 10 minutes without overcrowding. Allow them to cool on a wire rack before serving.


Keeping:    To freeze the buns, place them in sealable plastic bags or airtight containers and ensure the parchment paper is attached to the buns. Freeze for up to 6 months. To reheat frozen buns, let the buns thaw for several minutes and steam for 2 to 3 minutes until warm and soft. Keeping the parchment paper attached to your frozen buns will make it easier and cleaner to reheat them. 


Thank you Rika!  

Rika is the recipe developer, food blogger and part-time photographer behind Vegan Miam. She runs a vegan food and travel blog with her photographer and partner Doni. They are based in Oregon, but living elsewhere as often as possible. The term ‘miam’ is just a way of saying yummy in French and represents their desire to discover decadent vegan cuisine and recipes around the world together.Vegan-Miam
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14 thoughts on “Rika’s Vegan Steamed Purple Potato & Chia Buns (Mantou) from Vegan Miam – Breakfast In Bed-Fest entry #11

  1. Ally

    These buns are absolutely stunning. That purple colour is intoxicating and I’ll definitely have this recipe in mind next time purple sweet potatoes are in season here 🙂 Thank you for sharing Rika’s recipe!

    1. Angela @ Canned Time Post author

      Oh my Ally! How right you are and all thanks go to Rika on these beauties…LOVE purple anything that she makes and I know these are just scrumptious 😛 Be sure to let us know if you do try them and thanks so much for your comments.

  2. The Vegan 8

    These look gorgeous, stunning, amazing!!! I’m just dying over that color Rika! I love purple potatoes and put them in my veggie soup but never baked with it. I’m fascinated and want some now!! I love all of your action photos too, amazing girl!

  3. michelle

    I just made these (with orange sweet potatoes, so not as spectacular) and they are super tasty! I’m wondering what you are brushing on them in step 4? I guessed oil so I used sunflower seed oil – that seemed to have worked!

    1. rika

      Whoospies! I forgot to add the step to add oil (yes you can use any type of unflavored oil, I use sunflower seed oil, too) – but it is definitely optional! Thank you for pointing this out! I’m happy to hear that they turned out pretty tasty, thank you for trying my recipe, Michelle! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  4. Pingback: Steamed Purple Potato + Chia Buns (Mantou) | Vegan Miam

  5. Sarojini

    Wonderful! Such a brilliant colour they would even tempt my kids! We can get purple ordinary (not sweet) potatoes from timer to time here in the UK so maybe I could try them with those.

  6. Lovlie

    The colour of these buns is awesome! I like the taste of these purple potatoes too. They are quite rare to find in my local store. I am going to make these buns if I find any. I think the blue potatoes might work too.

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