Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Bear Manapua

Posted by todblog on March 6, 2008

When the Chinese came to Hawaii, they introduced locals to their char siu bao which is a bun filled with sweet barbecued pork. It was an instant hit with locals and was given the name manapua a shortened name derived from meaʻono-puaʻa, meaning “pork cake”. It is frequently seen in steamer baskets being wheeled around in Chinese dim sum restaurants. They are a real treat.

I got a hold of a recipe from my dear friends the Changs (also Hawaii islanders) and decided to substitute the pork with bear using the following recipe:

Bear Manapua

The marinade to use is Char Siu (Chinese Sweet Barbecue Sauce) which is sold in powdered mixes in the Asian section of the store (Safeway usually has it unless you’re in a small Eastern Oregon town like Enterprise!). Follow the directions on the package (which means baking the meat until cooked). Afterwards, cut up the meat into small pieces (dice).


Bear char siu finished baking in the oven- ready to dice for the filling.

1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound bear char siu, diced

Combine water, cornstarch, sugar and salt in saucepan.
Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Simmer 1 minutes.
Add bear char siu.

1 package active dry yeast
1 ¾ cups lukewarm water
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon salad oil
1 teaspoon salt
5 ½ cups flour
12 each 3” square oiled brown paper

1) Soften yeast in lukewarm water.
2) Add sugar, oil, and salt. Stir until dissolved.
3) Add flour, a cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Work dough with hands, if necessary.
4) Knead for 5 minutes on floured board.
5) Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl; turn dough over (greased side up).
6) Cover and let rise in a warm place free of drafts; about 1 ½ hours or until doubled. Punch down.
7) Cut dough into 12 pieces. Shape into balls and flatten to 3” circles. Place ¼ cup filling in center and bring edges of dough together, pinch to seal.
8) Place sealed side down on oiled paper. Cover; allow to rise 45 minutes or until doubled.
9) Place on rack in steamer. Drape a clean, dry dishcloth over steamer and secure with cover, bringing ends of cloth to top of lid.
10) Steam over medium heat for 25 minutes.
Note: The manapua are HUGE!!!

Important Tip: make late at night so you can stash some away for yourself to eat later.



The finished product- bear manapua right out of the steamer!


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