Steaming food with bamboo steamer basket is an excellent method of making low fat recipes in a pot. Recipes steamed in bamboo steamer are vegetables, chickens, meat, fish, dumplings, it may seem complicated to use, but it is actually very simple. This article is about the ultimate guide to the best bamboo steamer basket, recipes and how to use it.
Ensure to put in a pot that can contain the bamboo steamer. Seasoning is ruined when steaming so avoid using a seasoned wok.
Bamboo steamers are made of interwoven bamboo which has holes at the bottom to allow steam pass through. They originate from China, the recipe which takes more time to cook is placed at the bottom section before placing the one that takes less time at the top, bamboo steamer maintains the taste and nutrients in foods. it maintains the flavor of food keeping it moist and tender, maintain taste when warmed.
WHAT IS BAMBOO STEAMER?
Bamboo steamer basket is a round shape kitchen appliance used for steaming food which is made of interconnected bamboo arranged on top of each other with a lid cover. Bamboo steamers are placed in a pot of boiling water and the steam passes through the holes in the basket to cook the food inside, you can use meat broth, vegetable broth instead of water. For instance, when vegetables are boiled most of the nutrients and taste are lost but steaming retains its nutrients and natural taste. Bamboo steamers are cheap and mostly found in Asian markets, cooking supply stores and it has many tiers which enable you to cook many recipes at the same time.
REASON FOR USING BAMBOO STEAMER BASKET
Bamboo steamer basket is inexpensive and easy to use even though it takes up space.
1)Bamboo steamers help to steam food without losing any of its nutrients and vitamins making it a healthy way of cooking.
2)It helps maintain the natural tastes and appearance of food.
3)It cooks a large variety of recipe at the same time and saves time.
4)Bamboo steamer basket can be used to cook different varieties of food such as; vegetables, chickens, meat, dumplings and fishes.
5)It can be used to warm previously cooked food without losing its taste.
6)Reduces the rate of burning food which leads to the creation of carcinogenic chemical compounds, thus it prevents the formation of toxic compounds.
7)It helps in dieting to reduce the consumption of butter and oil.
HOW TO USE BAMBOO STEAMER
Bamboo steamer is very easy to use following the steps below:
STEP 1; LINE THE BAMBOO STEAMER BASKET
Steamer has many layers, when using it some foods such as dumplings need some lining on the steamer bed to prevent the food from sticking to it. There are different types of liners you can use depending on the recipe you want to steam such as lettuce leaves, parchment paper, soft nappa cabbage leaves, and so on. Parchment paper can be used to line the steamer when steaming dumplings, banana leaves or grape leaves can also be used as liners while adding a little flavor to the food.
STEP 2; PLACE FOOD IN THE BAMBOO STEAMER
Some food takes time to cook. For instance, when using a 3 level basket, line the baskets based on the type of recipe you are steaming. and place the afford by putting the one that takes the most time to cook at the bottom. place the one with least time at the top. When steaming vegetables and dumplings, place the vegetable at the top layer, since it takes 6-8 minutes to cook while dumplings take up to 10-15 minutes. By doing this the recipes placed in the bamboo steamer basket is cooked evenly without one recipe being overcooked or undercooked. When cooking different varieties of vegetables, such as carrots and sliced broccoli, carrots are placed at the bottom layer cause it to take more time to cook than sliced broccoli.
STEP 3; FILL THE POT WITH WATER
The water that is put in the pot or wok should be about one-third of the pot, if little water is used the water may start boiling and if much water is used the water may enter the food being steamed. The water in the pot must enough to soak the bottom rim of the steamer to prevent it from scalding and the bubbling water must not enter the bottom of the steamer and the food in it. A pot with wide rim and less thick is advisable to be used with a bamboo steamer basket because it is easier to maintain the temperature of the water and can occupy steamers of different sizes, also a skillet can be used big enough to occupy a steamer can be used.
STEP 4; PLACE THE BAMBOO STEAMER IN THE POT
When placing the steamer in the pot, ensure that the water is not fully boiled but put on medium heat for the water to simmer or you can put it in cold water before turning on the heat to increase the temperature. For instance, when you want to steam a frozen dumpling there is no need to unfreeze it but place in the steamer still frozen and start steaming, the dumpling will unfreeze after some time and start cooking.
STEP 5; STEAM FOOD AND MIND THE WATER LEVEL
Ensure that the water in the pot is not too much or little. since the water in pot after simmering will start to decrease. add as much boiled water needed to complete the cooking, do not add cold water since it disrupts the cooking. check from time to time to ensure the water does not enter into the steamer and get into the food. and check if the water is too little and burn the bamboo steamer. It is normal for some of the liners to wilt when steaming. For removing food from the steamer, you can use tongs or spoons. because the food will be very hot and the heat coming out of the steamer will be hot too.
Here are some foods that can be cooked using a bamboo steamer basket ;
1)VEGETABLES: Vegetables are best cooked by steaming since most of the nutrients drain away when boiled. For instance, when using a three-tier bamboo steamer basket in steaming different varieties of vegetables, first wash and cut the vegetables into small sizes then arrange them singly in each tier depending on the time each variety of vegetables take. Put vegetables of the same size that take much time to steam such as potato and beets at the bottom tier since they usually take about ten minutes to steam, followed by the vegetables which take less time than beets such as broccoli or cauliflower in the middle tier then place the vegetable which takes the least time such as asparagus in the top tier.
Vegetables do not need lining since they do not stick to the steamer. After arranging the steamer baskets, pour water about an inch in a pot and bring to a simmer. make sure the water is not too much, or it will enter the vegetables and scald it. Add fresh herbs between vegetables for flavor without using salt.
2)FISH AND MEAT: When steaming fish, line the steamer to prevent the smell of the fish from getting absorbed by the bamboo steamer basket, cook fish until it is tender and easily picked apart with a fork. Steaming of meat keeps it moist, and don’t make the meat soft to cut like when boiling, it is best to cut the meat into small sizes before steaming. Leave space around each piece of meat or fish for the steam to circulate, which helps the meat and fish cook evenly. When steaming fish and meat, place them on a small plate inside the steamer to prevent their juice from running.
3)DUMPLINGS: Dumplings can be steamed a day ahead then frozen before steaming again, to do this place them separately on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover and transfer to an airtight container and there is no need for thawing before steaming. Dumplings can lightly touch each other when steaming, but should not be placed to the extent they are lying on each other or they will stick together once cooked. If you want a thin, dry and easily broken dumpling, after steaming the dumpling put the dumplings in a frying pan and fry with a few tablespoons of oil with high temperature until they turn lightly brown on the sides and bottom. We advise that the time of frying should be short and check from time to time to prevent them from getting burnt.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BAMBOO STEAMER BASKET
Clean your bamboo steamer basket by washing them by hand with moderate soap dish and water. Do not soak in the dishwasher or sink because they can damage the bamboo, after that, let the steamer to dry completely to prevent mildew before storing in a dry place.