Topher Jacob, aka the Hawaiian Alchemist, is a culinary cannabis chef based in Honolulu, Hawaii. He believes the plant is for “more than just smoke” and creates refined, infused dishes and desserts utilizing every part of the plant.
For Lunar New Year, Topher shares his family’s ancestral history and an infused pork and shrimp siu mai.
Chef’s Note: “My Cantonese heritage stems from my father’s, father, which already made it challenging to understand anything about our families history as it was the one side we weren’t particularly close with, and he passed away when I was much younger. Before the passing of my grandmother, and with the help of the Chinatown preservation society, I pieced together my background. Starting from the US military occupation during WW2, from my grandma’s sewing circles in the underground gambling houses that would smuggle in illegal ingredients to the Chinese apothecaries directly from the docks, to the barber shop my grandfather once owned that had a secret passageway connecting it from one end of the block to the main square, that is now known today as “Maunakea Marketplace.”
Siu mai is a Cantonese dish that is one of the most popular items at yum-cha / dim sum. They translate to “cook-sell” as these dumplings are said to get their name from being so delicious they are sold as soon as you cook them. My family celebrated Lunar New Year much more than the traditional new year, although in Hawaii, both celebrations are taken quite seriously to bring in the new year of every culture. But what always remained was our gathering of families at yum cha or dim sum. Yes, yum cha/dim sum was nearly a weekend excuse to gather and converse about our week with other family members but it was during the Lunar New Year that our dim sum parties seemed much bigger, and I always felt a stronger bond to family during those times.
These are rather labor intensive to make, and the recipe is rather long. But we are combining some old-world techniques to maintain some traditions and marrying it with new ones.
Your work will be well rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing you can accomplish making this popular dim sum dish at home. They also freeze really well, so make a big batch, gather the family and have a Siu mai wrapping party!” – Topher Jacob
Infused Siu Mai Dumplings Recipe
Infused Oil Ingredients
- 3.5g cannabis (you can adjust the amount to your preferred potency)
- 1 cup canola oil
Infused Oil Directions
- Decarb cannabis using the A1 setting in the Ardent FX, or if you are using a Nova, press the start button.
- Add your oil into the Ardent FX or Nova and start the infuse cycle.
- If you are using an FX, place your infusion press into the FX, and slowly push the plunger down. Pour into a jar/container with an airtight lid and cool. If you are using a Nova, simply pour your oil through a strainer or cheesecloth and place into your container. Store in the fridge for 2 weeks or freezer for 3 months
Siu Mai Ingredients
- 400g skinless pork belly
- 200g raw peeled shrimp, (Deveined & deshelled) meat, roughly chopped. This recipe used 51/60 shrimp
- (Optional) 1 shrimp for topping each shumai made
- 25-35 Round wonton wrappers (yellow egg pastry)
Chef’s Note: If you can’t find round wonton wrappers, you can use a large glass or round pastry cutter that fits just inside of the square wrapper and use a butter knife to cut out the circles.
Shrimp Marinade/Wash Ingredients
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, soaked in hot water and finely diced
- 2 tbsp reserved shiitake mushroom liquid
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp chicken bouillon
- 1/2 tbsp white pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp MSG
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 ½ tbsp Infused Canola Oil
- (Optional) flying fish roe, crab roe or finely diced carrot
Chef’s Note: If you dislike or don’t have access to MSG, just swap it with an even amount of chicken bouillon powder.
Cannabis-Infused Siu Mai Dumplings Prep & Directions
Shrimp Prep Directions
- In a bowl combine the shrimp with the shrimp marinade/wash, mix to coat all of the shrimp, and let sit for 5 minutes
- Wash shrimp under cold water, till they no longer feel tacky, and you’ll feel the textual difference between them when they were marinating to when they are fully washed.
- Rough chop to get them into a similar size as your diced pork and dry them thoroughly with a towel. Set aside.
Chef’s Note: This process and “wash” removes the glycol protein from the shrimp and will help the shrimp retain that bounce and texture
Pork Prep Directions
- Slice the pork belly in 1cm wide slices, then cut across the slices into 1cm pieces. Roughly chop the pork with a cleaver. There should still be large pieces of pork visible, rather than a mince.
- Soak the diced lean in cool water for about a minute. Once the water’s got a bit of color to it, swap the water and soak again. Repeat this process about five times, or until the pork lean turns a ‘white-ish’ color and the water runs clear.
- Add the pork, along with the baking soda, water, salt, sugar, ginger, MSG, white pepper, soy sauce, and chicken bouillon to the bowl of a stand mixer with the beater attachment, for about 10-15 minutes on med-high
- Add the shrimp and mushroom and mix through the pork at low speed.
- Add your shiitake water and mix on low
- Add your infused oil and mix on low till combined
- Transfer meat mixture into another bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins to an hour
- Take a wonton wrapper and with a butter knife or small spatula, place a small amount of filling in the center of a wrapper. Gather the pastry around the filling and continue adding more filling with the knife or spatula, pushing the filling down tightly to ensure there are no air bubbles.
- Once the wrapper is gathered into a filled cylinder shape, tap the base against your board to flatten it, and place it onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Top each dumpling with a shrimp and little roe or a small piece of carrot.
- Rest the dumplings in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Repeat until all the filling is used up.
- Set a steamer over boiling water and steam the siu mai for 8-12 minutes.
Serve with hot mustard, or if you want an extra boost, serve with some of Wendy Zeng’s infused chili oil for the perfect condiment pairing for these Siu Mai Dumplings.