Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

keke pua'a (samoan steamed dumplings)

Recipe by
Kristin D
Clearfield, UT

My best friend in the world is Samoan, and this is an authentic Samoan specialty! I made these, along with some other Samoan dishes, as a surprise since he was feeling homesick. He said "My mama would be so proud!" When a Samoan talks about food like that, that is most definitely a compliment. :)

yield 8 serving(s)
prep time 1 Hr 45 Min
cook time 15 Min
method Steam

Ingredients For keke pua'a (samoan steamed dumplings)

  • 2 Tbsp
    active dry yeast
  • 1/4 c
    warm water
  • 1 Tbsp
  • 1/2 c
    warm milk
  • 1/4 c
    butter, melted
  • 1/4 c
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 2 lg
    eggs (be sure they are at room temperature)
  • 3 1/2 c
    all-purpose flour
  • 3 lb
    pork, cubed (use whatever cut of meat you prefer. make sure it's tender)
  • 1 md
    onion, chopped
  • 4 lg
    cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 c
    cold water
  • 1/4 c
    dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp
    ginger, minced
  • 2-3 Tbsp
    sugar (optional; for sweeter dumplings)

How To Make keke pua'a (samoan steamed dumplings)

  • 1
    FOR FILLING: In a large, deep frying pan, saute the pork cubes and onion for about 5 minutes. Add in garlic, sugar, and ginger and stir, cooking about 3-4 minutes. Be sure not to let the garlic and ginger burn. Add in the cold water and soy sauce, stirring well. Let the mixture simmer until the pork cubes are cooked through, but still tender. Remove from heat and cover. Set aside until dough is ready.
  • 2
    FOR DOUGH: In a large bowl, mix yeast, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and water. Let stand for about 5 minutes until it's frothy.
  • 3
    Mix milk, butter and the rest of your sugar, salt and eggs. Add this to the yeast mixture and mix until combined. Add 3 cups of flour and gradually mix it together until it forms a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it's smooth, about 10 mins, working in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.
  • 4
    Grease the bowl you just used with a bit of oil, place the dough back in, cover and let rise until it's doubled in size. While dough is rising, cut out 16, 4-inch pieces of wax paper. Set up your steamer. Get your filling to room temp. [Maybe do some dishes. ;)] When dough has doubled, punch it down then divide into 16 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then roll or press into a 4-inch (10 cm) circle, dusting with flour if necessary.
  • 5
    Spoon a generous amt of filling into the center of each circle, being careful not to get liquid on the edges. (Wet edges are hard to seal.) Pleat the edges together over the filling and close the top by pinching and twisting the dough together. Place each bun on a piece of wax paper, pleated side up if your pleats are pretty, or down if you prefer a smooth top surface. Put your buns at least 2 in apart from each other to rise. Let them rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes) and then steam them on the full steam setting for 15 minutes.
  • 6
    IF YOU DON'T HAVE A STEAMER: You can also bake the keke pua'as in the oven. 350 F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush the tops with melted butter as soon as they come out to keep the tops moist.