Make Ahead

Curry Chicken, Kale and Green Apple Manapua

September 28, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Makes 12 large or 16 medium baked manapua
What You'll Need
  • For buns
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided (plus more if dough is extra sticky)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup all-vegetable shortening (I used Spectrum brand)
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil for greasing bowl
  • 1 large egg combined with a splash of water and pinch of salt for egg wash (not necessary if steaming)
  • For filling
  • 1 1/4 pounds chicken breast, cut into pea sized pieces (easiest if partially frozen)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large scallions, finely sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 cup small dice Granny Smith apple
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  1. For buns
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 2 cups flour, salt and shortening. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Turn out coarse flour mixture into a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup warm water with yeast packet and 2 T sugar, gently stirring. Let it soften for 5 minutes.
  4. Combine milk and ¼ cup warm water, and then stir in the yeast mixture. Add this liquid plus 2 T honey to the flour mixture and mix well.
  5. Add remaining 1 ½ cups of flour and stir until dough forms into a sticky mass. Turn out onto a well floured board and knead 5-8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Grease a large bowl with sesame oil. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm draft free place for about an hour, or until doubled in bulk. I have had good results by heating one cup of water in a microwave for one minute and then placing the covered bowl in the microwave with the warm water.
  7. When you are about 15 minutes away from filling manapua, remove filling from refrigerator and set aside. Cut 16 pieces of parchment, about 2” x 2” and lay out on a baking sheet. Set aside.
  8. Divide the dough into 16 portions. Flatten each dough ball into a circle by pulling out the sides of the circle with the tips of your fingers. You want the very center of the circle to be thicker than the edges – imagine a sunny side up egg. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling onto the center (the thickest part of your circle). Gather up the edges around the filling and pinch and twist to seal the bun. Gently transfer bun to prepared baking sheet with parchment paper, pinched side down. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Let the buns rise for 30 minutes.
  9. While filled buns are rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gently brush tops with egg wash (unless steaming, in which case you should just load them up in the steamer after rising and steam vigorously for 15-18 minutes) and bake for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy immediately or allow buns to cool and then either refrigerate or freeze. NOTE: As shown in the photo, all 16 will fit on one baking sheet, although most likely the manapua will puff up and fuse to the one next to it. While I thought they might leak, I used a knife to separate them without any problem.
  1. For filling
  2. In a medium skillet, cook cut chicken in olive oil until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and scallions, and cook until fragrant. Add kale, curry powder and Chinese five spice. Stir to combine. Add salt to taste (I added ½ t). Remove from heat and stir in green apple. Set aside.
  3. Make sauce for filling by combining water, cornstarch, honey, tamari and apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, constantly whisking to incorporate cornstarch (use a spatula to get at clumped cornstarch at bottom of pot if necessary). Once thickened, remove from heat and add chicken/kale/apple mixture and stir to combine. Allow to cool before using. Can be made ahead, transferred to a bowl with a cover and refrigerated. Let mixture sit out for 15 minutes to take chill off before using.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Horto
  • fiveandspice
  • Midge
  • kmartinelli
  • boulangere

Recipe by: gingerroot

My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love. Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.

55 Reviews

Horto March 25, 2014
thinking of subbing butter for shortening.thoughts?
fiveandspice April 19, 2011
I am making these to bring to a potluck - it's not until this weekend, but I already can't wait! (I'm distracting myself from my work by thinking about it, in fact!)
gingerroot April 24, 2011
Hi fiveandspice! Hope these worked out for your potluck...apologies that I am only responding now (it was an unexpectedly busy work week).
fiveandspice April 25, 2011
They were perfect (and so easy to transport!). I also made a batch of a sweet version, stuffed with a cream cheese filling and raspberry jam. Love how versatile the dough is!
gingerroot April 25, 2011
So glad! Your sweet version sounds delicious. Coming up with a sweet version is on my to-do list...thanks for letting me know.
Midge April 4, 2011
These sound fantastic. Can't wait to make them!
gingerroot April 4, 2011
Thanks, Midge!
kmartinelli April 3, 2011
I love the flavor combination. These look absolutely fabulous. I can't wait to try to make them myself!
gingerroot April 4, 2011
Thanks so much, k. The green apple is my favorite part...I would love to hear your thoughts about them if you try them.
boulangere April 3, 2011
A Hawaiian friend of mine makes these often. You make them look do-able!
gingerroot April 4, 2011
Thank you, boulangere!
Burnt O. April 3, 2011
Oh! I remember these as a little girl growing up on Oahu when we were stationed there in the Navy in the 60's. Will try them soon!
gingerroot April 3, 2011
Thanks, Burnt Offerings! I do hope you'll try them. : )
Jean |. April 3, 2011
These look wonderful! And I know just when I'll make them -- when my cousin comes to visit with her two adopted Hawaiian daughters! She likes to keep the girls in touch with their heritage. And it's a new way for me to use kale -- I just love kale!
gingerroot April 3, 2011
Thank you so much, Jean! You'll have to let me know how they go over with your cousin's daughters - the filling is quite different from traditional pork manapua, but my two little ones love it.
artsycella February 6, 2011
This sounds absolutely wonderful. I moved away from Hawaii a couple of years ago after spending about half a decade on Oahu, and I miss it terribly. Especially the food! I definitely want to give these a try, but I'd like to try making the dough in my stand mixer. I'm an amateur baker at best, so before I just dive in I wanted to ask if you have any suggestions. I think I can eyeball the final kneading, but what about mixing things up to that point? Will I shoot myself in the foot if I don't cut the shortening in with the food processor?
hardlikearmour February 6, 2011
I use my KitchenAid to make this dough. I mix it with the paddle attachment first, then switch to to dough hook. It has worked well for me the 3 times I've made it.
artsycella February 7, 2011
Thanks, hardlikearmour! That's just what I needed to hear. Can't wait to give these a try.
gingerroot February 7, 2011
Hi artsycella, first, thank you so much for your comments! I'm sorry I did not respond sooner, but you are definitely in good hands with hardlikearmour. In fact, I would definitely defer to her tips and suggestions - I am a novice baker myself (the food processor step was a shortcut for me since I don't have a stand mixer). In any case, I would love to hear your thoughts about these if you try them.
guinnesssug December 27, 2010
I am also completely addicted to these, and I'd be interested in any other fillings folks have enjoyed. I tried a tofu/kale version, they turned out okay but not as good as the curry chicken/kale.
gingerroot January 1, 2011
So glad you are enjoying them! I'm going to try a sweet filling soon...will let you know the results. Happy New Year!
hardlikearmour November 8, 2010
I am completely addicted to these! They are a perfect portable lunch. Thanks for a great recipe. I really appreciate the idea, and plan on using the bun recipe with multiple fillings. Have you ever done any sweet ones?
gingerroot November 10, 2010
Thanks for your thoughtful comments, hardlikearmour! I recently made them for a breakfast potluck and they were gobbled up. I have not tried a sweet filling yet, but I'm thinking of a spiced apple filling. Let me know if you make a sweet version!
melissav October 4, 2010
I made these yesterday and they are delicious. I'm eating one right now for lunch while sitting at my desk. I made half with the filling exactly as directed in the recipe. For the other half, I sauteed mushrooms with the chicken, didn't use the apple and curry powder, and added oyster sauce and hoisin sauce to the glaze. Both were huge hits in my household. As a matter of fact, I am sure I will be making your filling again and again and serving over rice when I'm for pressed for time and can't make the buns. Thank you for a fantastic recipe.
gingerroot October 4, 2010
You're welcome, melissav! I am so happy they went over so well. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. Your mushroom-chicken-oyster/hoisin sauce manapua sound delicious. I love that these are so versatile, you could fill them with whatever suits your taste.
JWB October 3, 2010
I made these today and they are fantastic. The recipe is written perfectly, with really useful tips sprinkled throughout (putting the dough in a warm microwave, the sunny side up egg analog). The quantity seems large, but it's actually just right given you'll want leftovers for the freezer. But the best thing about gingerroot's entry is how delicious these little guys are. AntoniaJames is right - this is why we log in to food52. Thank you!
gingerroot October 3, 2010
Wow, thanks so much for your comments JWB! I am so thrilled that you made them and enjoyed them!!
lapadia October 3, 2010
Supberb, sumptuous, rich, grand!!! I totally missed this recipe until today; already printed it, and can't wait to make it! I've made these a very long time ago, don't even know where the recipe I used it, thanks so much for sharing yours!!
gingerroot October 3, 2010
You're welcome, lapadia! Thank you for your enthusiastic comments!! : ) One thing I've noticed as I have been eating them for lunch is that if you want a more pronounced sweet/tart green apple flavor, you should cut them a little bigger. Let me know what you think when you try them.
melissav October 1, 2010
Beautiful recipe. When you freeze them, do you freeze before baking and then bake as needed or do you freeze after baking and then defrost and heat up? Thank you.
gingerroot October 1, 2010
Thanks, melissav! I have only frozen them after baking. They are a bit fragile when filled before baking - even just transferring them to the baking pan made me a little nervous. They heat up nicely, wrapped in a paper towel, in the microwave for about a minute.
mklug October 1, 2010
Oh, WOW. I'm not a very experienced cook, and this looks a little harder than what I normally think I can do, but sound so good that I am definately going to try them this weekend! Thank you for making me want to challenge myself!
gingerroot October 1, 2010
Thanks mklug, I hope you do try them! I am by no means an experienced baker and usually have trouble with dough but these are pretty forgiving. Plus, you do not have to roll them out (another of my trouble spots with baking) just pull out with the tips of your fingers. I have been defrosting them individually in the microwave all week for my son's lunches (I have even eaten them for a quick breakfast for myself).
halfasiangirl September 30, 2010
Thanks for sharing this recipe! I'm saving it.
gingerroot October 2, 2010
You're welcome, halfasiangirl. Let me know what you think if you try it.
Ann M. September 30, 2010
Do these ever get stuffed with tofu or cheese? My daughter's a vegetarian and this strikes me as a great thing to put in her lunch.
gingerroot September 30, 2010
In my opinion, the sky is the limit in terms of what you could stuff in these. I do not think you would ever find a traditional manapua with kale or green apple either, so tofu and cheese sound great!
testkitchenette September 29, 2010
Oh my, these look great (envisioning smell right from oven).
monkeymom September 29, 2010
These look amazing!
gingerroot September 29, 2010
Thanks, monkeymom. I would love to know what you think if you try them.
AppleAnnie September 28, 2010
Green apple, kale, curry, and chicken--all of my favorites in one tasty package! Thank you.
gingerroot September 29, 2010
Thanks AppleAnnie! My favorites too, and thankfully, on my son's "will eat" list. BTW, your Sesame Soba looks delicious!