Using a Bamboo Steamer for the First Time?
Steaming food is a timeless cooking procedure. A bamboo steamer can be used to steam almost any food including veggies, rice, proteins, cakes and bread.
This cookware provides the easiest way to make any meal delicious without spending a fortune.
What is a bamboo steamer?
A bamboo steamer was first used in Chinese cuisine more than five thousand years ago. The baskets are made of bamboo sticks, though it’s possible to find other versions made of various materials such as metal.
The basket is a stack of interlocking baskets covered with a lid at the top. It is placed on a wok, pot or pan with boiling water, which allows steam to go through the openings on the basket’s bottom and steams the food inside.
How to Steam Food with a Bamboo Steamer
Put some water in a wok or a pan
To get started you have to boil some water in a wok or pan and then place your bamboo steamer in it.
A wok works better than a pan or pot because it is wide-rimmed but shallow. The water should not be above the steamer’s bottom rim th0ough sufficient to submerge it. This ensures your steamer doesn’t burn and that water does not reach your food.
Line your bamboo steamer
The next step is lining up your bamboo steamer basket. The best thing is that it has several levels, which allows you to steam a good amount of food at a go.
For foods such as dumplings or buns, you have to line the steamer because the food is likely to stick to the bamboo.
Some of the things you can use include cabbage leaves, layered cheesecloth, parchment paper or lettuce leaves.
Just make sure you line up your steamer with something porous because it will let the steam pass through and cook the
food. However, for foods such as marinated meats or veggies, you can use a heatproof bowl or plate to collect some juices or sauces.
Place the food inside the bamboo steamer
How you arrange your food in the steamer depends on its type. For example, if you want to steam dumplings or buns, you have to arrange each without overcrowding them.
Being your first time to use a steaming basket, you may not know that the food expands due to steam.
Do not line up your steamer if you will place the food on a bowl or plate. Confirm that the steamer’s lid is tightly closed to allow the rising steam to cook your food thoroughly.
A plate with a rim is better than a flat because it collects juices and sauces, resulting in flavorful food.
Some of the foods that you can steam in a plate or bowl are veggies, pumpkin or butternut, which can be used to make cakes, pies, among other desserts and some chicken recipes.
Place the bamboo steamer in a wok or pan
You can either wait for the water to boil before placing the bamboo steamer, or just do it while the water is still cold. But the best way to do it is the latter to avoid dealing with hot water.
This ensures you place the steamer properly without fear of getting scalded. Switch on your stove and leave the water to boil and steam your food.
Note that if you want to steam frozen food, you do not have to thaw it. Just put it in the steamer, and it will cook without any issues.
Leave the food to steam
Give your food time to steam, but watch the water levels because as it boils, it evaporates. Add more water and cook the food according to the recipe.
However, you shouldn’t add cold water as it stops simmering, which interrupts the cooking progress of your meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I leave my bamboo steamer in water after use?
No, you should not leave your bamboo steamer soaked in water. In fact, clean after use and leave it to dry for about two days in the open air before storing it away.
Also, do not wash it in the dishwasher and let it sit in the sink. If exposed to a lot of moist, mildew may form on it and eventually rot away.
Can a bamboo steamer change my food’s taste?
Natural bamboo steamer basket hardly affects how your food tastes. Also, with time it becomes seasoned and no longer releases any foreign tastes to your meal.
What Causes My Bamboo Steamer To Smell?
A bamboo steamer is made of porous material, which easily absorbs detergents and other strong smells. When cleaning it, use a mild detergent and rinse thoroughly. Avoid soaking it in soapy water and leave to dry in an airy place.