Steaming is perhaps the oldest form of cooking – even before the cave man discovered fire. It is said that food was softened over hot springs or stones in ancient times. Steaming is a moist method of cooking that combines hot air and moisture to soften and cook ingredients.
Steaming is a preferred method of cooking for the simple reason that it retains the nutrient factors when compared to other forms like baking or frying, retaining color, flavor as well as texture. Research has established that steamed food only showed a loss of 40% vitamins in vegetables compared to 70% that is lost when the same is boiled. All the essential goodness is retained and there is lesser requirement for fat too. Food is not exposed to intense heat as in other methods.
To get the optimum results while steaming:
Choose ingredients and ensure that they are of good quality and not rotten or stale. The reason for this is steaming enhances flavors and any ‘unwanted’ aroma or flavor will only get accentuated.
Ensure that you have proper gadgets for steaming and the appliances are in order. If steam escapes or the lids are not proper it will delay the cooking as well as prove uneconomical
Make sure that the vessel containing the ingredients is placed well above the water and there is no chance of the outer liquid entering the substance.
While dicing vegetables or meat or poultry ensure that they are of the same size so that they are evenly cooked in the specified time
Ensure water levels are adequate to complete cooking.
If you are cooking more than one item in a steamer make sure there is some space between containers to allow circulation of steam to ensure faster cooking
To save on fuel bring all frozen foods to room temperature before steam cooking.
Place juicy foods in the bottom so that they don’t drip liquids and spread their flavor on to other foods