In many restaurants, especially when the kitchen is visible to the customers, you might have noticed around trays made from bamboo fibers. These cooking trays are called bamboo steamers. These are mostly used in restaurants especially when it comes to preparing Asian cuisine. Bamboo steamers are not just used in steaming but also in other kinds of cooking. They come in different sizes and styles in order to fit the cooking needs.
If you wonder how a bamboo steamer is being used, or are wondering why you should get one, then here is a guide for you.
Steamed Veggies vs. Other Cooking Methods
Everyone knows that frying veggies are the worst option for your health. Sautéing is a little better, although it also involves the use of fats that many wish to cut out of the diet. Roasting, likewise, also requires the use of some fats to bring flavor to the party.
One common way to cook vegetables that people do to try and stay healthy is to boil them. Many people dump their veggies in a pot of hot water and let them boil away. This is not a good choice of way in boiling because some of the nutrients in the vegetables might escape. Nutrients are heat sensitive and can dissipate through the air.
A better way to prepare those veggies is to steam them in a bamboo steamer. A steamer confines the nutrients in the food and lessens the chances of nutrients escape. While boiling can make vegetables soggy and bland, a steamer makes them crisp–tender, helping them retain their color and flavor. Bamboo steamers also contain many sections to accommodate simultaneous cooking.
Not Just for Veggies
Bamboo steamers are not just for vegetables, although that is probably the best and most common way to use them. You can also steam delicate meats like fish, chicken breast or cuts of pork in a bamboo steamer. You can reheat your rice or pasta in the steamer and keep them warm for dinner. If you’re careful you can warm cold cakes or dried bread and pastries in the steamer to make them more palatable as well.
How to Use a Bamboo Steamer
In using a bamboo steamer, you need a utensil that will allow the steamer to fit in. Some people use a wok while others opt to use a deep pan. Whichever you wish to use, it doesn’t matter as long as the bamboo steamer snugly fits in. You need to place the wok or deep pan on the burner.
Use parchment paper to line each layer of the steamer. It is in the paper where you are going to place the food. Other people use lettuce leaves instead of parchment paper, you can do so as long as the leaves are enough to line the steamer.
When placing the food on the bamboo steamer, you need to decide which food cooks easily and the foods that are hard to cook. Place the hard ones at the bottom layer while the easily cook foods on the top. The bottom layer of your bamboo steamers is the first one to be placed inside the wok or deep pan.
Snugly fit in the bottom layer then pour in clean water up to the desired amount. It is enough to pour water before it reaches the rim of the bottom layer. You need to stack the remaining layers of the bamboo steamers.
Turn on the burner to medium heat or sufficient enough to boil the water. The length of boiling time and heating time will depend on what kinds of foods or recipes that you are preparing. You may check over your recipe book to know the desired boiling time and also the heat level.
When you are done, turn off the burner then allow it to cool for a minute or more then remove the steamer carefully. Open the lid then allow complete cooling before preparing the boiled foods.