kinako swirl tangzhong mantou

kinako swirl tangzhong mantou

Browsing through the food section of Daiso at IMM Building a while ago, I found an interesting item. Kinako powder from Hokkaido. At S$2 a packet, it is cheap. I have not seen kinako powder at Japanese supermarkets in Singapore as yet, probably because I wasn’t actively looking. Kinako powder seemed to me to be used mainly for coating mochi.

hokkaido kinako powder from Daiso

My mindset was changed when I read through a cookbook I had bought but didn’t really scan through until recently. Okashi – Sweet Treats Made With Love by Ms. Keiko Ishida. In that book, there are a few recipes for cakes and other goodies using kinako powder.

Out of curiosity, I bought a packet to try. I had made a huge batch of tangzhong recently that needed using (hence the many recent posts of bread, bread and more bread using tangzhong). The thought of kinako swirled tangzhong mantou was born in my head and I thought to attempt to make it. I wanted a recipe yielding super soft mantou or pau which used tangzhong. I am happy to find it from Ms. Lily’s blog.


Kinako Swirl Tangzhong Mantou (adapted from Lily’s Wai Sek Hong – Super Soft Pau)

  • 480-500 grams HK flour (I used 500 grams Prima Superlite flour)
  • 75 grams sugar (I used 100 grams)
  • 1 1/4 tsp double-acting baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 30 grams shortening (I used Crisco)
  • 240 ml water (I used 150 ml)
  • 150 grams tangzhong (see below)
  • 20 grams kinako powder
  1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, dried yeast and tangzhong in a large bowl. Gradually add water until a soft dough is formed. 
  2. Add shortening and knead until dough is elastic. It will still be sticky due to the tangzhong so stop once the dough can be stretched without tearing easily.
  3. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and proof for an hour, or until double in size.
  4. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured board from a height of 30 cm. This will deflate the dough. Knead for 5 minutes.
  5. Divide dough into 2. Wrap one portion in cling wrap and set aside. For the other portion, add in kinako powder and knead until evenly distributed. This should take around 5-8 minutes.
  6. Roll the white dough into a rectangle around 20 x 50 cm. Do the same for the kinako dough.
  7. Stack the kinako dough onto the white dough and roll it up from the long side in a swiss-roll style.
  8. Slice evenly into 12 pieces, place on small pieces of non-stick paper and put on a large plate or a steaming rack. Cover and proof for 30 minutes.
  9. Boil around 1.5 litres of water in the steamer. Steam mantou over high heat for 15 minutes. Remove from steamer and cool on a rack.
  10. Serve warm.

To make an exact amount of tangzhong for this recipe is tough. From previous experiences, I know 25 grams of flour cooked with 125 ml of water will yield at most 120 grams of tangzhong. So going by this ratio, it should be somewhere around 31 grams of flour cooked with 155 ml of water.

Whisk flour with water until smooth and cook this over a low flame, whisking constantly, until it reaches 65 C. If you do not have a thermometer, cook until a light paste is formed and you can see line patterns from the whisk when whisking. Cool until lukewarm before using. Place a piece of cling wrap on the surface of the tangzhong to prevent a film from forming. Cooled tangzhong can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. Discard if tangzhong turns grey.

soft and fluffy
soft and fluffy

The trouble with making mantou or pau is, after they cool, the soft texture is gone and it becomes hard. To eat, one would have to reheat them. Because of tangzhong, which increases the water content in these mantou, they are reasonably soft even when cold. You can still reheat them if you like by steaming for 5 minutes. These will keep for 3 days at room temperature or a week in the fridge.

 The taste of kinako is subtle. It smells and taste a bit like roasted peanut powder. A delicious and healthy ingredient to consider using in baking!

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