Hawaiian Manapua Recipe
Manapua is the Hawaiian version of char siu bao,
the Chinese steamed buns filled with barbequed pork.
Manapua became popular in Hawaii when families
of the plantation workers from China started selling
char siu bao on the streets in Hawaii. You will
see Manapua trucks parked on the side of the road
in Hawaii, and today manapuaare available with a
variety of fillings.
-1 package dry yeast
3 tablespoons lukewarm water
2 cups warm water
1-1/2 tablespoons cooking oil or shortening
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups sifted flour
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
-1 cup water
-2 tablespoons cornstarch
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1/2 teaspoon salt
char siu/a>, diced
-Few drops red food coloring, optional
BUNS: Sprinkle yeast over 3 tablespoons water and allow to
stand until yeast softens. To remaining water, add oil or shortening, sugar
and salt, stirring until melted or dissolved. Cool. Add yeast mixture.
Place flour in a large mixing bowl or a heavy-duty mixer and add most of the
liquid. Begin kneading. Add remaining liquid to make a very heavy dough.
Continue kneading or mixing until you have a smooth ball that is beginning
to show signs of long strands on the outside, indicating that the gluten has
Remove dough from bowl and rinse out bowl. Pour sesame oil into bowl, return
dough and turn it around until covered with a thin layer of the oil. Cover
with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double in bulk -- about an hour in a
warm room. Placing the dough in the refrigerator and allowing it to rise
there, 3-6 hours, develops the flavor. Proceed with the filling or gently
deflate the dough and allow it to rise for a second time, which will further
enhance the flavor.
FILLING: In a pot, stir cornstarch, sugar and salt in water until
dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add char siu and, if desired, red food coloring.
ASSEMBLY: Heat a steamer with plenty of water. Cut 12 (3-inch)
squares of waxed paper and coat 1 side with 1/2 second coat of nonstick cooking
Punch down dough and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each into a ball. Flatten
into a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Make the dough as thin as you can
and try to keep the edges thinner than the center.
Place the circle of dough in the palm of your hand. Spoon in a couple of
tablespoons of filling, cupping the dough around it. Then, with the thumb
and finger of the other hand, pinch the edges of the dough as if you were
making a fluted edging on a pie crust. Pinch the folds together, twisting
them as you do so.
Local manapua are usually served fold-side down, and Vietnamese manapua
with the twirl of dough on top. Place the completed manapua on a square
of greased waxed paper. Allow to plump up into a globe with a taut exterior.
Place in steamer on their squares of paper about 1 to 2 inches apart.
Cover and steam vigorously for 15 minutes. If using a metal steamer,
place a folded tea towel across top of steamer, holding it in position
with the lid. This will prevent steam from dropping onto manapua. If
using a bamboo steamer, this is not necessary. Remove steamer from heat,
let stand 5 minutes, then open. Serve hot. Makes 12 buns.
NOTE: Tradionally Manapua are steamed, but they can also be baked.
Brush the tops of the buns with a little canola oil and bake
20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
More Hawaiian Pork Recipes
Hawaiian Appetizer Recipes
Alphabetical Index to All Recipes
Hawaiian Food Recipes
Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii for Visitors