Soft, fluffy and incredibly fragrant, these Mugwort Steamed Buns with Sweet Mung Bean Paste Filling are inspired by mugwort songpyeon, a type of Korean rice cake I grew up with and still enjoy making with my mom as part of the Mid-Autumn Festival tradition. Made with bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder, mugwort powder, olive oil and water, this recipe requires NO eggs, milk or butter, and also has in it a healthy serving of mashed sweet potatoes which not only boosts up the fiber and nutrition, but also helps keep the steamed buns keep their tender texture for much longer.
Why I love this Recipe
- Soft and fluffy
- Easy to make if you have a stand mixer
- No eggs, no milk, no dairy needed!
- higher in fiber, to keep you fuller longer
- lower calorie and lower carb, thanks to the sweet potatoes
- makes the best breakfast and snack
Ingredients Used to Make Korean Sweet Potato & Mugwort Steamed Buns
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Bread Flour - I used bread flour for this recipe (I use King Arthur Bread Flour most), which I prefer and highly recommend for the best texture and structure. Please read the note on the substitution section below if using other flours.
- Instant Yeast - you can find instant yeast in the baking section near the flours. My favorite is SAF Instant Premium Yeast, which works quickly and consistently produces great results. I recommend using instant yeast over active yeast for this recipe since active yeast (unlike instant yeast) needs to be activated in water, which we don't add until the very end.
- Sugar - I used raw cane sugar, but you can use regular granulated white sugar, or healthier alternatives like coconut, date, or maple sugars which are less processed and more natural. I also sometimes like to use honey powder.
- For yeasted breads, I would not recommend using sugar-free substitutes such as monk fruit sweetener or stevia powder since they can cause the bread to not rise properly. If you prefer a lower sugar recipe, you're welcome to leave out the sugar. The bread might taste slightly plain, but it will not significantly impact the shape or texture of the bread.
- Salt - Pink Himalayan salt is what I have at home, so it’s what I use, but you can use any kind for this recipe.
- Baking Powder - helps to puff up the dough during the steaming process.
- Mugwort Powder – For this recipe, I used the powdered mugwort powder that I purchased on Amazon (here). While it’s always better to cook with the fresh herb, mugwort isn’t available in all seasons, so using the powder is a great way to make these recipes without having to go to wait for the spring.
- Asian Sweet Potato – You’ll need Asian mashed sweet potatoes for this recipe (also called Japanese Sweet Potatoes ). While you're welcome to use other kinds of sweet potatoes, orange and purple sweet potatoes are not suitable in this recipe because their colors would affect the final color of the mugwort buns. If you don't have white or Asian sweet potatoes you can also use regular white mashed potatoes.
Note: While you can steam or bake the sweet potatoes, I used the microwave to cook the sweet potatoes in just about 10 minutes! Here's the shortcut microwave method.
- Olive Oil - I like using light olive oil since it has a neutral flavor, but you can also any cooking oil of your choice like coconut oil, or avocado oil instead
- I used a KitchenAid Stand Mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough. You're also welcome to use a bread machine, or knead the dough by hand.
More Sweet Potato Recipes (HERE)
What I Used for the Filling
- Mung Bean Paste - Mung beans are not commonly sold in stores in the paste form, so, unfortunately, you do have to start from the dried beans—but I think it’s worth the extra time and effort. Homemade mung bean paste is easy to make and so much healthier than storebought bean pastes or lotus pastes since the homemade kind uses less sugar and is also free from preservatives and other additives. Dried mung beans are readily available in Asian grocery stores and also online (Amazon link here)
- To make the mung beans: Here’s my recipe for the 2-ingredient sweet mung bean paste (link to recipe)!
- If mung beans are unavailable to you, you're welcome to use other bean pastes for the filling such as Koshi-An (Red Bean Paste) or Shiro an (white bean paste). More ideas are listed in the filling variation section, below!
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Korean Sweet Potato & Mugwort Steamed Buns
Cook sweet potatoes until soft and tender. I used the shortcut microwave method here
Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder, and mugwort powder ) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
Add the mashed sweet potato and the water to the dry ingredients
Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute, until all the ingredients are mostly combined. Add the olive oil next, and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth, supple ball.
Note: Additional 1-2 Tablespoons of water (or additional bread flour) may be necessary depending on the protein content of the flour, the water content in the sweet potatoes, as well as the humidity and temperature of the kitchen.
Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Let rise for 60-90 minutes until doubled in size.
It's best if the bowl is put in a warm place, for example, inside an oven that's been preheated for just a quick 10 seconds and spritzed with some water. Or, inside a microwave with a cup filled with hot water
When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and divide into 10-12 pieces.
Prepare filling by rolling prepared sweet mung bean paste (or other filling of choice) into 2-3 Tbsp sized balls
Wrap the dough pieces around prepared filling, and place on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper.
Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
Transfer the buns to the steaming pan, and steam for 15 minutes
Gently remove from steamer pan with a spatula (tongs are not recommended since they ruin the shape of the buns).
Serve when warm. Enjoy!
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
- Instead of mugwort powder, you can also use matcha powder to flavor the buns. Do note that mugwort and matcha do not taste the same. Mugwort has a more delicate, sweeter fragrance that is different from the earthy, bitter flavor notes of matcha.
Different Filling Options
If you want to enjoy these steamed buns with a variety of fillings, there are many fun and delicious filling options to choose from. Here are some ideas!
- Shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste) – on Amazon, here, or here's a Shortcut White Bean Paste Recipe I make when I’ve run out of Shiro An
- Koshi-an (sweetened red bean paste) - on Amazon, here. You can also make your own using the blender method here
How to Store Korean Sweet Potato & Mugwort Steamed Buns
- These steamed buns can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours, or in the fridge inside an airtight container for 3-5 days.
- For longer storage, place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To reheat, re-steam buns in a steamer for about 10 minutes.
NOTE ON SUBSTITUTIONS
- Unfortunately, gluten-free flours cannot be substituted for bread flour in this recipe.
- All-purpose flour can be used instead of bread flour, but will produce softer, less chewy steamed buns.
- Weigh your flour for the best results. 1 cup of bread flour = 120 grams / 4.23 oz. This is recommended since scooping the flour directly from the bag can can pack the flour into the measuring cup, and this means you’ll end up with more flour than what’s called for in the recipe. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can measure the flour by spooning pre-sifted flour into the measuring cup, then using the straight end of the spoon to level the flour across the top to sweep off the excess.
- To make this recipe in the bread machine: add all the dry ingredients into the machine, stir briefly before adding the wet ingredients. The machine can be set for basic. Check the dough for consistency and adjust by adding additional water (or flour) before the end of the first kneading cycle. If you want to add additional nuts or dried fruits, leave them aside, and only them 3 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle.
Korean Mugwort Steamed Buns with Sweet Mung Bean Paste Filling
- 4 cups bread flour (480 g), sifted and leveled*
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar , read notes** for substitutes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp mugwort powder
- 1 ½ cups mashed sweet potato (330 g) , about 2-3 medium cooked sweet potatoes***
- ⅔ cups water
- 1 Tbsp light olive oil , or melted coconut oil or avocado oil
- 500 g MUNG BEAN PASTE FILLING , click on link to see recipe for homemade mung bean paste made in the food processor
- Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder, and mugwort powder ) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Add the mashed sweet potato and the water to the dry ingredients
- Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute, until all the ingredients are mostly combined.
- Add the olive oil next, and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth, supple ball.
- Note: Additional 1-2 Tablespoons of water (or additional bread flour) may be necessary depending on the protein content of the flour, the water content in the sweet potatoes, as well as the humidity and temperature of the kitchen.
- Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place in a lightly greased bowl.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes****
- When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and divide into 12-14 equal sized pieces.
- Wrap the dough pieces around the prepared filling (sweetened mung bean paste, ed bean paste, black sesame, etc), and place them on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper.
- Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil water and prepare the steamer
- Transfer the buns to the steaming pan and steam the buns for 15 minutes
- Note: You can store these steamed buns, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 1 day. For longer storage, you can place them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container and freeze up to 3 months, then defrost them at room temperature or steam them again for just 10 minutes to enjoy them just like fresh.