Manapua Recipe

Manapua Recipe

 In the island of Oahu, everyone is familiar with manapua recipes. Once in NY, I met a friend and he mentioned manapua or steamed pork bun. After so many years, this dish made me so nostalgic that I instantly went to the kitchen to prepare it. I had also invited my friend to have some, and he loved that. So, I thought of sharing the recipe with you guys. 

Hawaiian Manapua Recipe

This is a super easy recipe if you have a stand mixer. I have divided the ingredient list in order to learn about the measurements separately. The written recipe is provided below. 

Ingredients we need: 

 For the Dough

  • 2 tsp of instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup of lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp of canola oil
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour

For the Filling of Steamed Pork Bun:

  • 3 cups of dried BBQ pork 
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 2 ½ tsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of corn starch mixed with 2 tsp of normal water
  • 3 or 4 drops of food color(red) 

How to Make Manapua Step by Step:

Making the Dough with Stand Mixer: 

Step 1: First of all, take out a small bowl. Put 2 tsp of instant dry yeast with 1 cup of lukewarm water. Wait 1 minute to let the yeast soften. Now pour 2 tbsp of canola oil to blend along with dissolve the yeast, and set aside. 

Step 2: In the bowl of mixer, add 2 tsp of baking powder, 3 cups of all-purpose flour, and 2 tsp of brown sugar. 

Step 3: Using the dough hook, combine the dry ingredients at a low speed for 3 minutes. 

Step 4: Add the yeast mixture into the mixer bowl, allow to knead it until it forms a large ball-like shape. Here you can keep the speed on medium. 

Step 5:  When done, brush a glass bowl with oil, and place the dough. Cover the glass bowl with a plastic, and put it in a warm place. Keep it like that for at least an hour. 

Note: If you are kneading it by bands, it will take time. Yet the dough has to be soft and smooth. That’s why I prefer stand mixers. 


To Make the Filling:

Step 1: We’ll start preparing the filling, while the dough is proofing. Take a large frying pan, add 3 tbsp of any type of cooking oil. Add the chopped onion, and saute until the onions become translucent. 

Step 2: In that frying pan, add 3 cups of dried BBQ pork, stir until they are well mixed with the onion. 

Step 3: Then one3 by one, add 1 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, and 2 ½ tsp of sugar into the frying pan. 

Step 4: Mixing finely, add the cornstarch water mixture. Cook until translucent. You can add more if you want it thicker. Remember, the traditional filling has to be in bright red color. 

If done, set the filling aside. 

For Char siu Manapua: 

Step 1: Place the dough over a lightly floured surface, and divide into 16 equal pieces. 

Step 2: Use a rolling pin to form the dough into the 5-inch round ball shape. 

Step 3: Place 1 tbsp of filling in the center of each bun, closing the edges of the dough circling together. 

Step 4: Prepare a steamer ready with 2 inches of water, adding the filled dough to the steamer. 

Step 5: Steam the prepared manapua over high heat for about 15 minutes to 17 minutes. 

Step 6: Turn off the steamer, and open the lid to let the inside steam escape. 

Step 7: Let it sit for 5 more minutes before moving the buns out of the steamer. 

Serve with roasted broccoli or mashed potato if you wish. Best way to enjoy the flavour fullest is to have them warm. 


Whether as a side dish or as a snack, manapua can be a one of the best low carb dishes. So, don’t bother to waste your time on oily dishes and have the special Hawaiian manapua at home just within 40 minutes.

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