7 Tips to Use a Steamer
Steaming food is one of the easiest ways to cook food. A healthy option that doctors suggest for many patients. It is expected to increase the lifespan upon a regular intake of steamed food items. Just what the Japanese do in their tradition. But, steaming may not be a worthy option if you practice it wrong. Here are a few tips to avoid those mistakes and steam them to perfection.
1. Never add too Much Water
Indeed water is the major component of steam cooking. But, it has to be at an optimum level. If you go in another way, adding too little water won't help you either. You will face trouble in the middle of your cooking.
If you use a steam basket on the stove, add at least a couple of inches of water to the pot. The water level must not cross the steamer basket or else it can ruin your steaming. Direct contact with hot water will boil your food completely. That limits the advantage of steam cooking.
Too little water on the other hand will burn up easily. So, you get the heat without any steam. That is one major cause of uneven cooking and under-cooking. Besides, most brands have an instructional manual for that. Read the manual and fill water to an optimum level.
2. Start with Water Boiling
Most beginners don't understand the importance of water boiling and start cooking. If you do not start with water boiling, then it will consume a lot of time. Not only that but also the final dish produce may not be cooked evenly. It is the steam that cooks your food, not the heat you produce.
Without producing steam, it can also burn the food to some extent. The best practice is to boil the water first and then put your dish. This will eat up less time and cooks food evenly. Steam does surround all over the food and no real chance of undercooking. Make sure you take that extra couple of minutes to boil water beforehand of cooking.
3. Never Steam too long
Most people want steaming food hot and fresh before serve. In doing that, they keep steaming while preparing other items for the meal. Steaming too long makes the food soggy and you lose the important vitamins and minerals from it. If the steamer lacks any beep, then you better stay close to it. Steaming takes only a few minutes.
What if you steamed the veggie beyond its limit? How do you overcome the problem? Well, in that case, you have to turn off the steamer and take your food out to a bowl filled with ice cubes. This will help to crisp a bit from sogginess. On another note, you better not cut your food into large pieces. That takes a long time to steam.
4. Steam with Stocks and Herbs
No wonder steaming food is solely dependent on water. But you can be creative by infusing water with herbs and stocks. This is a creative idea that brings slightly different flavors to your food. Experimenting with herbs and stock can also alter the time need to steam your food.
Not all herbs are suitable but a few you can choose for your experiment. Try sliced garlic, lemongrass, dill sprigs, or rosemary sprigs for your cooking adventure. Besides, you can also try vegetable broth or chicken broth for added taste. Along with that, you can add a pinch of salt or lemon juice for more variation in taste.
5. Seal it Air-Tight
What happens when the lid of the steamer is loose-fitting, it allows a small amount of steam to escape. So, the food you are cooking does not get the steam it required. That results in uneven steaming meaning uneven cooking. Even if you cook, it will take a longer time than usual.
In case you are preparing chicken or fish, try a meat thermometer to get over the problem of under-cooking. The temperature reading what exactly the condition is. Make sure you seal the container air-tight so that you don't lose any steam from it. Not only steam but also its flavor to some extent. Yes, steam traps the flavor inside. So, hold steam unless you are done with your cooking.
This is not unusual to find a steam basket loose fit on the stovetop. For that, you can add a tea towel between the top of the steamer and its lid. Remember, a steamer is no expensive appliance. You better not use any loose lid and ruin your dish.
6. Marinate Before Steaming
For fish and chicken, it is so important to marinate before cooking. If you sprinkle spice just on a steamer then there will be a limitation in taste. Yes, spices need a bit of time to get into the flesh. Marinating is what completes your flavor and taste for any steaming process. Even if you try veggie, adding a bit of olive oil and garlic beforehand would give you a better result after steaming.
7. Try one dish at a time
One of the major problems that people complain about is the mix of flavors. That happens due to different food items steaming in the same gadget. Steaming only one dish at a time avoids this problem. No mix of flavor and no harm to the taste.
The other great problem of steaming multiple dishes is timing. Steaming chicken and cabbage never takes the same time. So, there is a chance of one item getting overcooked in order to cook the other one. However, steaming food never takes too long. Trying one at a time brings more perfection for appetite.
Nothing is healthier than the steaming process. The ancient cooking tradition is still making its mark while increasing life expectancy. It is a few common mistakes that grew negative ideas about steaming. Follow the above-listed tips to get the best streaming experience at home. Steam it, steam food for a better life.