Classic Manapua (Steamed Buns Hawaiian Style)

“Manapua or Baozi or Steamed Bun - whatever name you chose to call them, delicious they are!! Commercial versions have fillings like chicken mushroom, chicken curry, teriyaki chicken or beef, shoyu chicken, purple yam (ube), pork hash (bola bola), and lup choung. Some Hawaiian manapua makers offer pizza filled, turkey melt, ham and cheese omelet, teriyaki burger and spicy sausage. Imagine the flavors you could fill with your manapua. Have fun and enjoy!! NOTE: Times do not include proofing time for the dough.”
12 buns

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Sprinkle yeast over 3 tablespoons lukewarm water and allow to stand until yeast softens.
  2. To remaining water, add oil or shortening, sugar and salt, stirring until melted or dissolved. Cool. Add yeast mixture.
  3. Place flour in a large mixing bowl or a heavy-duty mixer and add most of the liquid. Combine until flour incorporates liquid and starts to become a ball.
  4. Add remaining liquid to make a very heavy dough.
  5. Begin kneading the dough in the bowl. Continue kneading 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double in bulk (about an hour in a warm room).
  8. Place the dough in the refrigerator and allow it to rise (3-6 hours). Punch it down again and allow it to rise again (3 hours).
  9. Proceed with the filling while the dough is rising. In a saute pan, stir cornstarch, hoisin sauce, dry sherry, oyster sauce, ketchup, soy sauce and brown sugar into the 1 cup water until dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add char siu and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat and allow to cool completely. Chill covered until 1 hour before you are ready to stuff the manapua. Allow to return to room temperature before using.
  10. When ready to cook, cut 12 (3-inch) squares of waxed paper and coat 1 side with very light coat of nonstick cooking spray.
  11. Punch down dough and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each into a ball.
  12. Make the dough as thin as you can and try to keep the edges thinner than the center.
  13. Place the circle of dough in the palm of your hand. Spoon in a couple of tablespoons of filling, cupping the dough around it.
  14. 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.
  15. Place the completed manapua on a square of greased waxed paper. Allow to plump up into a globe with a taut exterior.
  16. Heat a steamer with plenty of water or preheat an oven at 350 degrees F.
  17. If using steamer, fill steamer with manapua on their papers about 1 to 2 inches apart. Cover and steam vigorously for 15 minutes. Remove steamer from heat, let stand 5 minutes, then open. 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 while steaming.
  18. If baking, place manapua on their papers on a baking sheet about 1-2 inches apart. Brush top of buns with a little vegetable oil and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand 1 minutes. Serve hot.
  19. Manapua can be frozen. Frozen bau may be reheated by wrapping with a paper towel and microwaving for 1 minute.

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