Classic Manapua (Steamed Buns Hawaiian Style)

Recipe by Broke Guy
READY IN: 55mins
YIELD: 12 buns




  • Sprinkle yeast over 3 tablespoons lukewarm 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. Combine until flour incorporates liquid and starts to become a ball.
  • Add remaining liquid to make a very heavy dough.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • When ready to cook, cut 12 (3-inch) squares of waxed paper and coat 1 side with very light coat of nonstick cooking spray.
  • Punch down dough and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each into a ball.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Heat a steamer with plenty of water or preheat an oven at 350 degrees F.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Manapua can be frozen. Frozen bau may be reheated by wrapping with a paper towel and microwaving for 1 minute.