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For those of you who crave manapua or Hawaii's version of char siu bao, this is a fairly involved recipe, but it is worth the effort if you miss manapua and can't get it in your local asian market or from Hawaii.

Posted By: Frank Abraham
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Prep Time: 60 | Cook Time: 75 | Ready In: 6 hours
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1 package dry yeast
3 tablespoons lukewarm water
2 cups warm water shopping list
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 
1 pound char siu, diced (see recipe below)
red food coloring (optional)

Char Siu
3 lbs boneless pork 
3 Tbsp warmed honey 


1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp Aloha shoyu 
4 tsp Finely minced ginger OR 4 thin slices Ginger 
3 Tbsp honey, warmed 
2 Tbsp sugar, white or brown 
1 tsp or more Crushed garlic 
3 Tbsp rice wine OR Sherry (NEVER USE cooking sherry!!!) 
1 Tbsp Chinese 5 spice powder 
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce OR oyster sauce 
2 drops red food color (more or none if prefered)

Order Manapua Online

Order Manapua Online

Cooking Process:

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 fully developed.
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.

If you are using store-bought char siu....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.

To stuff manapua:
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 spray.
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.
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.

Note: To bake manapua, brush top of buns with a little canola oil and bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees

Char Siu
Cut pork into 2-3 inch wide strips and place in 1 gal sized plastic bag
Heat Soy sauce, Honey and Sugar together in sauce pan til disolved
mix all other marinade ingredients together and add to soy mixture
pour over pork and marinade for 6+hrs or overnight, turning occasionally.
Marinading up to 24 hrs is fine.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare roasting pan with 1 inch water in bottom of pan.
Place pork strips on wire rack over pan w/ water and place on mid-rack of oven
roast 20-25 mins basting with 2-3 Tbsp warmed honey
turn and baste other side for 25-30 mins
honey should nicely char edges
slice accross grain in chunks or fine slices

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Reviewed on: Jun 7, 2017 By
Best food ever