Curried Manapua Minis

Curried Manapua Minis

This Lunar New Year I made these little gems to go with my baked, salt-crusted fish and green tea noodles. I enjoy using my bamboo steamer basket for many things because it’s super easy and it’s a great way to cut down on using oil in my cooking. The funny thing is, I started making these manapua minis a while back because I’ve been known to occasionally get the larger grab-and-go version at a gas station. I know. It sounds bad. It really isn’t terrible for you if you skip the preservatives and what-ever-else, and make it healthier by creating your own. You can switch out the shitake mushrooms for tofu, shredded chicken, or pork. I generally like to keep mine vegetarian when serving it with a whole fish so the flavors don’t compete with each other. The vegetables can also be easily switched with other vegetables to suit your taste, such as carrots, cabbage, onions, kale, watercress, and sweet potato. The possibilities are practically endless. These can be served with a spicy dipping sauce, shoyu, soy sauce, or eaten just plain.

Curried Manapua Minis

  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
  • Print

A freshly steamed batch of manapuas made yellow by the addition of curry powder and turmeric. Perfect for pupus or as an accompaniment to steamed fish or beef short ribs.


    For the buns:
  • 1 packet of instant yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup warm water (100-105 degrees F)
  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt, curry and turmeric powder
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • For the filling:

  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 3 small, dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and diced
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 1/4 diced red or green bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper- or to your own taste


  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let sit for ten minutes or until foamy. Add oil and stir until incorporated.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, combine flour, salt, curry powder and turmeric powder. Slowly pour yeast mixture into flour mixture, mixing together until it forms a soft ball of dough. Work dough for 5-7 minutes or until smooth. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes.
  3. In a skillet over medium-low heat, sauté shallot, garlic, and ginger in coconut oil, stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes until soft. Add mushrooms, shredded carrot, bell pepper, sesame oil, curry powder, salt and pepper, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Line two tiers of a steamer basket with parchment paper for the manapua.
  4. When dough has risen, punch it down and knead for about five minutes into a smooth ball. Turn the dough ball onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into twenty even-sized pieces. Using your hand, shape and flatten the individual pieces into little circles about 2 1/2 inches wide. Place about a tablespoon of filling in center of each circle. Grab the sides of the circle and pull dough to meet in the middle and make a little ‘purse’. Gently do this with the other sides of the circle, and tuck everything underneath, flipping over the bun so the seam side is down.
  5. Depending on how large your steamer is, you will want to give each manapua some room to expand. My steamer holds about ten manapua minis on each steamer tier. I switch steamer tiers about halfway through cooking, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Cook at a rolling steam for about 15-20 minutes.

%d bloggers like this: