3 1/2 cups
all purpose flour, divided (plus more if dough is extra sticky)
all-vegetable shortening (I used Spectrum brand)
packet active dry yeast
sesame oil for greasing bowl
large egg combined with a splash of water and pinch of salt for egg wash (not necessary if steaming)
1 1/4 pounds
chicken breast, cut into pea sized pieces (easiest if partially frozen)
garlic cloves, finely chopped
large scallions, finely sliced
finely chopped kale
Chinese five spice powder
small dice Granny Smith apple
salt to taste
extra virgin olive oil
apple cider vinegar
In This Recipe
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.