Steaming refers to the method of cooking food over boiling water in a covered pot.
Steaming is one of the most nutritious ways to cook, as steaming preserves the most nutrients in the food of all the cooking methods. Steaming can be used to cook meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, dumplings, and rice. It used to be done in a bamboo basket that was placed in a wok and heated by the steam from boiling water. Now, wire steamers are placed in a wok or deep pan - producing the same results as the original bamboo steamers. However, the bamboo method has come back in recent years, and lends a unique flavor to the food.
- The water should be boiling at a brisk pace before setting the steamer basket with the food over top. This will help prevent over-steaming.
- The water used to steam should never touch the food! You should leave about 1/4" between water and food.
- Make sure the steam has enough room to circulate freely. This ensures the food will be cooked evenly.
- Always make sure that the steamer lid is closed tightly. Otherwise, the steam will escape and slow down the cooking process.
- When steaming vegetables, be careful not to over-steam. Once the vegetable becomes wilted or soggy, not only does it not taste good, but most of the healthy nutrients have been cooked out. For best results, steam until color brightens and vegetables are still slightly crunchy.
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