Homemade Manapua

Manapua is one of those delectable treats that I never would have thought I’d attempt to create in my own kitchen. That is, until a friend shared an easy recipe that uses common ingredients that you can find in nearly any local grocery store. It’s totally non-authentic and doesn’t even use char siu filling, but it’s quick and tasty — and you can’t knock that.

1 can corned beef
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup water chestnuts, minced
2-3 tbsp char siu powder mix (I used 2 tbsp of the NOH brand)
4 cans refrigerated Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits (yield: 40 manapua)

1. Mix corned beef, minced water chestnuts, and chopped green onions.
2. Add char siu powder.
3. Sprinkle sugar on cutting board.
4. Flatten biscuit on sugared surface to form 2-inch rounds.
5. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the biscuit.
6. Pinch edges and place pinched side down onto 2-inch square of wax paper.
7. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees OR steam for 15 minutes

You may also place a red dot of food coloring on top of each manapua, but I notice that when steaming, the red dot tends to spread and look messy if you’re not careful. Use the food coloring VERY sparingly.

The photo she showed me of her manapua looked like regular steamed manapua, but mine seemed to be a little more brown and had more indentations. I think it’s the type of Pillsbury dough that I bought. Since they didn’t have the regular buttermilk biscuits, I ended up buying Pillsbury Grands homestyle buttermilk biscuits. The texture of the dough wasn’t smooth and contained little chunks of something (buttermilk?) which contributed to my pockmarked manapua. Nevertheless, the taste was good and that’s all that matters to me.

I steamed all of the manapua tonight and will likely microwave them about 30-60 seconds before serving tomorrow morning at our family potluck.

I also made Lindy’s famous Sun-dried Tomato Dip. (You can order the recipe card at her site. Every single one of her recipes are winners and it’s my go-to collection for potlucks as well as everyday dining.) Tomorrow morning, I’ll make the Swiss Chicken Casserole, another Lindy’s ono recipe that I’m sure the family will love.

Hungry yet?

Originally posted on my (now private) blog, in February 2008.


  • James Groover

    Char Siu Sauce recipe
    1/3 cup hoisin sauce
    1/4 cup honey
    1/4 cup dark soy sauce
    3 tablespoons dry sherry or 3 tablespoons chinese shaosing wine
    1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
    Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

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