How to Use a Food Steamer – Ultimate Guide
In today’s world, it has become extremely important to eat healthy. And eating healthy at times means avoiding food which requires a lot of oil to make. This is where steamers come in handy as they will cook your food perfectly without using oil; therefore, it is a good option to have at home.
However, since not all of us are as accustomed to cooking with a steamer, we might need a little push in the right direction so that the food comes out looking and tasting good. So, how to use a food steamer? Let’s find out.
Which Steamer to Use? Electric vs Stove Top
There are two types of food steamers you can use for the task in hand, one is using a stovetop, or we also call them steamer baskets, and the other is an electrical steamer. Bother will essentially do the same thing, but with one, you are required to do a bit more work than with the other.
The steamer basket has been used for centuries, and this is what people commonly use when steaming vegetables at home, you can steam different types of meat in these as well in these steamers. But doing so can be a little tricky because different meat has to be cooked in a different way.
How to Use a Steamer Basket
Let’s get to know the process of using a steamer basket.
Step 1: Prepare The Water
When using a food steamer, the very first thing you have to do is pour water in a pot, the amount of water you’re supposed to put inside would be determined by the quantity of food you have to steam and how you want them cooked.
So if you have a lot of vegetables, then you would have to use more water, but if you have less, then use less water.
Step 2: Boil Water
Some prefer to first let the water start boiling before adding in the steamer basket, whereas there are others who prefer to put it in before. With the second option, you will need to wait a little longer, but the food will be cooked more evenly.
Step 3: Put in the Streamer Basket
Now in either of the cases, you have to put the basket inside the pot along with the vegetables for the cooking process to start. But you have to keep in mind that the lid has to go on the pot or else the steam created from the water will escape, and you won’t get properly cooked food.
Step 4: How Long to Steam
As for how long you should let the food steam, it depends on how soft you want them to be. You would ideally want them to be cooked properly enough, so your fork goes through easily, but you also do not want to overcook them.
With meat, it is a little more difficult. When fish is done, the flesh will start to flake, but with chicken, you have to make sure it is perfectly cooked on the inside or else you might encounter some uncooked bits.
Nowadays, almost everything has become electric, and our lives have become significantly easier as we have to work less. The process is pretty much the same thing.
But the main difference here is that the electric steamer is a different device entirely and won’t take up space on your stove, so you can make other things at the same time.
There are different types of electric steamers you can find, they will do the same job, use water to cook your food. But there’re some which only have one tier whereas there are others which have multiple layers so you can cook different food items at the same time.
How to Use an Electric Steamer
Here, we’ll detail the process in the easiest manner.
Step 1: Take Precautions
As for how to use an electric steamer, the task is not very difficult. But as you will be working with an electrical device and water, you need to be a bit careful because you might end up in an accident if the plug or cord is in water. So, read the instructions properly and then start working.
Step 2: Assemble the Steamer
Now, before you can actually start using the steamer, you have to make sure the parts are put in the right place. For that, you can take help from the instruction manual provided with the electric steamer. The parts should consist of the base unit, diffuser plate, a basket to place the food in, and a vent.
Step 3: Pour Water in Reservoir
When everything is placed in the correct order, you have to fill the reservoir with water; this will steam the food. Just as you would with the steamer basket, the amount of water will depend on the amount of food and how you want to cook them.
Step 4: Cook the food
The next thing you have to do is place the vegetable or the meat on the basket. Evenly cut food will also cook properly all the way through and make sure you don’t heap them together as they won’t cook properly if it’s all in a lump. All you have to do is turn on the steamer and set the time.
Either of these would give you great results. Now which one you end up buying depends on what is the most accessible to you and which you prefer. Because at the end of the day the food will have the same taste. You could buy BPA free food steamer as well.
Tips for Using a Steamer
Even though the process is very easy, you can still make a few mistakes. So, here are a few tips for you, which would make things a little easier.
Avoid Adding Too Much Water
Water is the primary ingredient needed for you to steam your food. So you need to be mindful of how much of it you need to put in the pot or the reservoir of the electric steamer.
Do not flood the pot with water, fill the pot about 1.5 inches if you are steaming a small amount of food, more water should be added based on the quantity of food.
Adding too much water will lead to overcooked and soggy food.
Use Stock and Herbs for More Flavour
Ideally, we are to use water for the steaming process, but you will be able to add plenty of flavors if you replace the water with some type of stock. You could use vegetable stock or chicken stock.
Another way to enhance the fragrance and taste of the food would be to add herbs along with the food. The aroma will be much better, and you will enjoy your meal far more.
Make Sure the Steam Stays Inside
The steam is what cooks the food in the steamer. So it is essential to make sure the steam remains inside and cooks the food properly. When cooking in a steam basket, make sure the lid of the pot it closed properly.
This is also applicable for the electric steamer; sometime, we might forget to tightly close the lid. This would allow all the steam to escape so the food inside will not be cooked properly. It would be problematic mostly for meat.
For a healthy lifestyle switching to steamed food is a very food option. And hopefully, you will be able to do the job correctly and make good meals using the device at home!