Five Ingredients, Flour • 面(miàn), Sweets • 点心(diǎnxin)

Steamed Corn Buns: Wō wo tóu (窝窝头)

As a northern Chinese, I used to eat food made of corn flour a lot in my hometown. I remember my family from time to time made corn flour pancake for dinner or breakfast. And my grandma also used to buy the steamed corn-flour sponge cake to me and my cousin for desserts.

After I’ve left my hometown, I rarely had the opportunity to eat corn flour made buns/ cakes. And I’ve been missing them tons, because it used to be a big part in my life, as well it is an easy and pleasant way to involve more ingredient of coarse grain into my dinning habit.

Fortunately I found the corn flour in an Asian grocery store recently! And the first thing I could think of cooking is the steamed cornbread, aka Wowotou 窝窝头!

steamed corn bread 窩窩頭

Wowotou is a typical cornbread from the North China. Originally it was poor man food, however somehow the Qing Dynasty Empress Cixi liked it, so then Wowotou legendarily turned into a noble dish.

I remembered when I was young and immaturely picky about food, I refused to eat the Wowotou that my grandma made. And in order to convince me, my parents told me:

“You know what, this is a dish that only the Empress could eat in the old days!”


  • Corn flour and all purpose wheat flour (1:1)
  • Yeast
  • Salt
  • Sugar (optional)


  1. Add the yeast into warm water. When there are bubbles on the surface, it is ready to use.
  2. Add boiled hot water into the corn flour just to make the flour wet.
  3. Then add in the all purpose flour and a pinch of salt into the wet corn flour, and mix well (add some sugar if preferred).
  4. Add the yeast water into the flour mixture, and knead everything into a dough. Add in warm water if necessary.
  5. Rest the dough for 2 hours for leavening.
  6. The size of the leavened dough will not be much bigger than original. But you can still see there are “holes” inside the dough.
  7. Divide the dough into smaller size portions, then form each one into a cone.
    Note: Usually we leave a hole at the bottom. This was because traditionally we put some vegetable/ meat inside the hole while eating. Same concept as a sandwich.

  8. Rest all the buns for another 15 minutes before steaming. Steam for 10 minutes.

If you want to take a break from the everyday flour or rice, and look for recipe with coarse grains, give this one a try. The Wowotou, steamed corn bread, is a good option for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snack. More important, it offers a good nutrition balance. 🌽

steamed corn bread 窩窩頭steamed corn bread 窩窩頭<<<<

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