Recipe Swap: Rabbit Manju!

by Shumaila

Dedication: en route on vacation and typing this blog post.

Appreciation: the good people at PocketChange recognized the hard work and dedication put in this site and were kind enough to award the blog with their Be@Home Award! 🙂 (Do check out their site)

A completely unexpected high: winning August’s Daring Bakers’ chocolate challenge for my white chocolate, malibu & blueberry dipped chocolate. More so, because every candy I saw on the forum was drool worthy awesome! 🙂 🙂

Life’s lesson: a failure can be turned into a prize winning success, if you don’t give up too soon (the winning chocolate was a result of a failed recipe- for the whole story read here)

Now, elaborating the first statement (don’t I sound all business-like. Look, papa I am putting my MBA to good use!).

Well, the reason why I am writing this post en route Grand canyon to Vegas is two-fold (and papa, you thought my MBA degree is going to a waste, ha!).

One, the scene outside is not so exciting anymore and the radio is not playing my favorite songs. V and my mom are asleep and the driver, my dad, is busy driving. So, I am bored and so the post (love my iPhone ‘notes’).

Two, (which is the actual reason, else I would have followed suit to mom and V) since I love leaving things to the last minute, I had no option to work on it to meet the swap date and time posting requirements.

*Update: Thanks to the non-functioning complimentary wi-fi of our hotel, the post is being posted later than it should have*

The first Sunday of the month is the reveal date for the Recipe Swap Club. And even though Christianna clearly stated that it will fall on labor day weekend (and me being fully aware that V and I would be out of town then), I procrastinated (aren’t you glad I didn’t use that MBA degree and become a manager!). I procrastinated till the very last hour before we left to make my dish (and when I say very last hour I MEAN the very LAST hour).

Now, like a true Capricornian, I have to justify my procrastination and find someone/ something to blame (on second thought I would have been a great manager!). So, I blame the rabbit, the place we live in and V (yes, the poor husband is always at fault).

This month’s recipe swap asked us to modify the recipe for Wild Rabbit with Vegetables from Christianna’s vintage cookbook.

Now, V and I both aren’t hunters. V wouldn’t even hurt a fly. He wouldn’t even kill the cockroach in the house, if I am not on his head shouting, kill it! Kill it. If left on his own, he would swipe the cockroach on the dustpan and throw it alive outside the house. Yup so killing a rabbit was out of the question.

Nor was ordering one from the local butcher a viable option- something about the place I live in.

In fact, V being mostly a vegetarian (with chicken and select lamb preparations being the only exception), there was no way rabbit meat was coming anywhere near him.

Plus, with my parents’ visit and other stuff, I just didn’t find time to think about what I would substitute for the rabbit (well, with V’s inflexible food preferences it was a no brainer that it had to be chicken, but how I would modify chicken for the recipe was something I didn’t find time to think about). Basically, I forgot about the challenge.

Then, on Thursday night, a day before we were leaving for our trip, it struck me that I had completely forgotten about the challenge- and since we were going to be out of the house for the next few days I had to make something that would finish in one sitting and would probably use my mom’s to-go chicken fajitas from the previous night at the motel too.

I remember seeing these rabbit manjus on FoodGawker and thought it would be a perfect interpretation of the challenge.


The word manju is derived from the word mantou, the Chinese word for the treat which was originally a sweet mochi based bun from China. It was then brought to Japan in the 1300′s. Manju is also called chukaman in respect of it’s Chinese origins: chuka (Chinese) -man (manju). The Japanese took to the sweet confection and it’s since evolved into a savory or sweet wheat flour bun favored by the masses in the cooler months. Well, I wouldn’t mind eating these bunnies anytime of the year. My parents, V and I loved them!

Of course, look wise they aren’t as perfect as the original. (I think the original were either finished off in the oven as they have a brownish tinge on top or were torched after steaming) But, do keep in mind these were made while also making breakfast, making homemade galouti kebab kathi rolls for lunch and packing for the three day long weekend trip- in between, throw in washing dishes and bathing. Considering that and how good they tasted, I think the lack of good looks can be excused!

Traditionally Manjus (at least the Japanese ones) are stuffed with anko (sweet red bean paste) but I saw a savory version here and decided to make them stuffed with leftover chicken fajitas. Since the fajita was from a to-go box there isn’t a recipe here but feel free to use a stuffing of your choice.

Adapted from here and inspired from here.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tbsp b pdr
  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Pinch salt
  • filling of your choice (I used leftover chicken fajitas with bell peppers)


  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Add the sugar and mix well.
  3. Add oil and then gradually add milk, stirring.
  4. Knead dough until smooth. Let rest 15 min.
  5. Divide dough into 4 pieces.
  6. Make smooth shaped balls n flatten them. Put a spoonful of filling in the center of dough.
  7. Wrap the chicken filling by stretching the dough and making it round. Place each piece on parchment paper. Make the ears and you could add a tail as well.
  8. Place the buns in preheated steamer and steam 10 min (I used idli stands and a pressure cooker since I don’t own a steamer)

Do check out the Recipe Swap page to see what wonderful creations the other swappers whipped up this month!