The appearance of these steamed buns, which were inspired by Betty Liu's purple sweet potato mantou, is very dramatic, but the flavor itself is sweet and subtle.
This is a recipe for plain mantou, with instructions on how to color it using pumpkin (step 9), beet (step 10), matcha (step 11), and cocoa powder (step 12). Since the pumpkin and beet add extra moisture to the dough, you'll want to have a little additional flour on hand in case you need to adjust the dough's consistency.
For swirl buns, you'll need to make two different colors (doubling the recipe!), then roll each one out. Brush the bottom dough (this will be the outside color) with water, then place the other dough on top. Roll them together, like you're making cinnamon buns, and cut into little chunks, about 3 inches wide. You can either steam them like that, so that the swirl will be on the side, or turn them over, so that the swirl is on top (as pictured). —Sarah Jampel
This recipe is featured in the story, Stunning Steamed Buns Are Impressive to Look at but Simple to Make, sponsored by Miele. In step 7 of this recipe, you can steam a bunch of buns at once by using a combi-steam oven instead of using a steamer basket and a stock pot. —The Editors