Recipe: Auspicious Cow Mantou For A Happy Niu Year!

Have a moo-vellous time making these snacks.

By Olivia Lim      11 February 2021

With this Lunar New Year being a more intimate occasion, it’s the perfect time for doing something fun together as a family. Gather everyone and make these adorable cow mantou, from a recipe shared by reader Simin Ong. Have a contest and see who makes the cutest cows!

Ingredients (Makes 4 mantou)

150g all-purpose flour
1.5g instant yeast
15g caster sugar
85g milk
5g cooking oil
Natural food colourings: red yeast rice powder, charcoal powder, cocoa powder


1. Mix all ingredients together except for the food colourings, and knead till fine and smooth.

2. Colour 5g of dough pink with red yeast rice powder, 5g of dough brown with cocoa powder, 10g of dough red red yeast rice powder, and 2g of dough black with charcoal powder.

3. Take 45g of white dough, flatten out to eliminate air pockets, then shape it into a ball. Then, shape it into a teardrop.

4. Take a pea-sized piece of brown dough and place between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Flatten and stick it to the white dough to make spots. Apply some water onto the white dough before sticking. Repeat until you have done enough spots.

5. Take 0.5g of pink dough and roll it into a 1cm rod shape. Place it on the top portion of the white dough to make the nose. Take 2 green-bean sized pieces of pink dough, roll them into balls, then use a chopstick to make indentions for the nostrils. Use a cut-up straw to imprint a mouth shape.

6. Cut 1.5cm x 1.5cm squares of red dough and place in the middle of the body.

7. Take 1g pieces of brown dough, form into spindle shapes and cut into half to make the horns.

8. Take 1g white and 0.5g pink dough and roll into spindle shapes. Place pink dough on top of white dough, flatten and cut into half. Use a toothpick to form the folded ears.

9. Take 0.5g x 4 white or brown dough and roll into rod-shapes for the legs.

10. Roll out pea-sized black dough to make the eyes.

11. When dough is proofed and has risen to about 1.5 times its original size, steam on medium to high heat for 10-12 minutes, starting with boiling water. After turning off the heat, keep the lid on for 3 minutes before removing the mantou from the pot.

12. Write auspicious words using dissolved charcoal powder on the red couplets.

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