BBQ Pork Manapua

Classic (BBQ Pork) Manapua Recipe

Ingredients for insides:

4 Cups finely chopped charsiu
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp dry sherry
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp catsup
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp 5 spice powder
1 small yellow onion; minced
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 Cup chicken stock


Heat ~1/2 Tbsp oil and saute the chopped onion until almost transparent, brown on the edges and soft. (If you don't cook them completely, they will be crunchy in the final product.) Remove from heat and place in a small bowl.

Heat remaining oil in a large pan and stirfry chopped chasiu until soft.

Meanwhile combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir until mixed. Add sauce and onion to sauteing charsiu. (Warning: quality/taste of sauce in almost completely dependent upon the individual ingredients.)

Heat and stir until homogeneous and bubbling.

Combine the 1/2 Cup chicken stock with the cornstarch in a jar, shake to completely dissolve.

Add to the hot meat mixture, stir until thickened.

When the mixture is thickened, remove from the heat.

Set aside to cool, then refrigerate or use immediately. Don't fill bau with hot or cold meat mixture! Use it at room temperature for best results.

Ingredients for the Bau part:

1 pkg Rapid Rise yeast
1/4 Cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 Cup room temperature milk
1/2 Cup sugar
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Cups cake flour


Take 1/4 cup warm water, a pinch of sugar and yeast package, combine in a small bowl and allow to stand until foamy.

In a large bowl place sugar and pour in room temperature/warm milk. Mix with wire whip until sugar is dissolved.

Add two cups of cake flour and mix well.

Add salt, baking powder and canola oil and mix well.

Add yeast mixture and mix well.

Slowly add the remaining 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Combine well, but do not knead excessively to avoid gluten formation.

Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. (It takes me ~2 1/2 hours in a closed microwave with a jar of boiling water.)

Punch down, cut into ~24 pieces and form dough balls. Allow dough balls to rest for about 15 minutes.

Roll out each dough ball to a disk ~4" in diameter. (Mine look like an albino sunny side up egg. There is a large lump of dough left in the center to compensate for all the dough gathered on the bottom when closing the disk around the meat.)

Place ~1 heaping Tbsp of filler into center of disk, pinch closed and twist.

Set filled dough ball on 2" square of waxed or parchment paper, twist side down. Place bau in large bamboo steamer. (Mine takes 6/layer, 2 layers steamer.)

Place in a warm, moist place to rise for about 30 minutes. (Again, I do this in a closed microwave with freshly boiled water in a jar.)

Place the covered bamboo steamer over a wok with about 1" of boiling water. The water should be about 2" from the bottom of the steamer.

Steam for 15 minutes, then remove from heat. (I do not remove the bau from the steamer immediately. I wait for about 1/2 hour to allow the bau to cool and "set" before exposing them to room temperature. This reduces the thermal shock and seems to prevent the formation of "divots" on the surface of the dough.)

Stamp top center gently with rubber stamp and red food coloring.

Serve hot or freeze to retain freshness. Frozen bau may be reheated by wrapping with a paper towel and microwaving for 1 minute.

Recipe source:
Manapua Research Labs


Jas said…
Do you sell these in your store? Are they hard to make?
Ane said…
We sell Pork Manapua. No, just getting the flavor right.
Jas said…
Well, I may just have to come in and get some! Love them. :)
Anonymous said…
Bless you for having this site. i'm a hauli married to a Tongan and thanks to you i can make him the food he loves and grew up on! know that you are my culinary crutch for all food Polynesian. please please don't ever go away:)
arlene_lemoine said…
i used to buy this when i live in hawaii now i live in california.... thanks to you i can try and make manapua god bless you..arlene