First off, thanks for the responses to Bo Gia's ginseng seed giveaway! I know that he is totally tickled and for the first time, is participating in VWK's conversation in the post's comments.
Earlier this year, I posted a photo of a vegetarian shu mai dumpling that I whipped up using filling leftover from a consulting gig. Someone on Instagram asked if I’d used quinoa, the ancient seed that’s super popular now. No I had not but what a great idea. Quinoa has protein and a good chewy texture to mimic meat. I’ve eaten quinoa since the mid-1990s and enjoyed it in side dishes and stuffing for roast squash. What would it be like as a dumpling filling?
I made a double batch of quinoa one night and saved the leftover for experimenting. When I cook quinoa, I toast it in first in a pan over moderate heat until it’s toasty/roasty smelling. This gives the quinoa a little extra character.
Then I briefly cool the grains, then rinse them in a fine mesh strainer and add water. Usually it’s a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt for every 2 cups of water. The actual cooking resembles cooking a pot of rice, but I just bring it to a boil, stir things around for 1 minute, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes on low. Rest then fluff, then rest again before eating.
I had a blend of quinoa that night, purchased from the bulk bin at the health food store. The reddish brown seeds imparted more personality to the filling. (Quinoa is technically a seed, though many people think of it as a grain.)