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If you wish to enjoy food without losing any of its nutritional value, one of the best ways to cook food is to use a steamer. Nowadays, steaming foods are one of the fastest-growing trends in meal preparation. Cooks, even professional chefs, are using steamers more and more for several reasons; steaming food is quick, it maintains much of the vibrancy of the ingredients and is a surprisingly adaptable cooking method. Whether you are looking to improve your diet, for a more convenient cooking option, or just a way to spice up your family meals, check out our tips below for inspiration.
This article is a guide on how to use a steamer for making meals.
Understand your Steamer: Steamer Basket vs Electric Steamer
Before learning how to steam, you should first have a general understanding of different types of steamer so you can choose the right one for your needs.
A steamer basket is what most people have in their kitchen. This is a simple houseware that you can place directly into a pot or pan and then cook with on your stove. There are various options to choose from but this useful guide can help you to choose the best one for you. As you start to boil your water, put the lid on the pot and the steam inside the pot will cook your food. It is a simple cooking method concept, but it takes a little patience and attention as you don’t want your ingredients to be raw or overcooked.
An electric steamer is an updated version of traditional steamer baskets but follows the same concept. Electric steamers are standalone cooking appliances, so you don’t need to attach them to anything. Electric steamers are great because they have built-in timer settings for each type of food. There are many types of electric steamers for you to choose from. If you wish to save time and plan to use it regularly, look for steamers with multiple tiers.
Just like any small cooking appliances, each steamer has its unique set of pros and cons, so make sure to read the reviews first before purchasing a steamer for your kitchen.
Steam Like a Pro
To make the best-steamed dishes possible, check out some useful tips that we’ve gathered below!
Use the Right Amount of Water
Using the right amount of water is vital when steaming food. For a traditional steamer basket, you want to start with one or two inches of water in the pot. Using too much water can ruin the ingredients whilst using too little can lead to your pan burning before the food is evenly cooked.
Boil the Water First
Many people make a mistake by throwing everything in the pot at the same time. But the more you use a steamer to cook food, the more you realize that the food tastes much better if you place the food when the water is already boiling. To boost the process, you can boil the water at a higher heat and reduce the temperature when you add the food.
Use Stock and Herbs to Enhance the Flavor
Instead of just using water to steam, be creative with stocks and herbs to infuse your food with flavor. Fresh herbs always produce more flavorsome and aromatic results. Even a bit of salt and lemon before the water starts to boil can lift your food.
Make Sure the Lid is Airtight
If your lid is loose-fitting, the steam can escape and your ingredients won’t be able to cook properly. Most of the time, this will just lead to longer cooking time, however, in some cases like if you are steaming a whole chicken, the chicken won’t cook properly all the way through. When steaming chicken it is worth getting a meat thermometer to check it is ready.
Prepare the Food in Advance
If you are tired of plain food, you can also try to spice things up by marinating or seasoning your food before steaming. For vegetables, you can add some herbs and spices to the mix instead of just sprinkling them into the pot. You can marinate your meat and fish with spices, lemon juice, or pre-prepared marinades or even roll your meat up in leaves before steaming for a healthier, tastier meal.
Steaming is one of the healthiest and tastiest ways to cook your food, but as when using any cooking method, it takes a bit of time and practice to get it just right. But once you get the hang of steaming, you will be able to create countless new healthy meals for yourself and your family.