This is a gentle moist heat method that encloses foods in steam until cooked. You can use a double boiler, bamboo stacking steamers over a wok or a steamer made by fitting a rack in a pot with a tight cover. A small amount of boiling liquid is used, and more can be added during the steaming process, if necessary. Good liquids to use include water, stocks, beer, wine and court bouillon and may contain herbs, spices and other aromatics which transfer additional flavors to the steamed food. It is important that the food is positioned above the liquid and not in it. Often, lettuce leaves or other natural wrappings are used under or to completely wrap delicate foods such as fish or dumplings to retain moisture and keep them from sticking.
This is an excellent method for producing delicately flavored foods with a minimal loss of nutrition, moisture and flavor. Additionally, this method does not require the use of fats. Steaming is a great technique for vegetables, any shellfish or crustacean, most fish, lean meats, grains and dumplings.
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