Some foods are more nutritious when steamed, and this cooking method is easy to implement. You can prepare fish and chicken without the use of oil. This reduces their calorie count, and vegetables keep their nutrients and remain crisp-tender.
Eating steamed vegetables is a terrific method to incorporate more plants into your diet while keeping more of the nutrients intact. However, steamed vegetables can also be a bit monotonous and tasteless. Adding something extra to your steamed veggies in terms of freshness, texture, crunch, or spice will not hurt anything.
Here are some tips you can follow when boiling or steaming food.
Add flavorings to the steaming liquid
Fish goes well with both dill sprigs and lemon peel. Rosemary sprigs and garlic cloves taste great in mashed potatoes or chicken that have been roasted.
Lemon juice, thyme, white wine, parsley, and onion slices go great with steamed lobster, clams, fish, or mussels. Add a dash of sesame oil to the cooking liquid to give veggies, chicken, or fish a subtle but distinct sesame taste.
You can use this or the preceding suggestion to transform the bubbling liquid into a sauce. Reduce it by boiling it until it’s thicker, and the flavor is more concentrated.
Cook it on parchment
A dish does not necessarily need to be cooked in liquid in order to be steamed. You can use parchment paper to wrap food. Greens, thin fish or chicken fillets, shellfish, and other vegetables work very well. When you pass it through heat, the steam the food creates in the packet cooks it gradually. Flavors are preserved in this manner as well. You can substitute aluminum foil for parchment paper if you have none.
Rub it down with some spice
Steaming chicken or fish fillets after letting them marinate in a rub of ground spices for an hour or so yields the best flavor.
To make a rub with an Asian flavor:
- Combine equal parts of cumin, garlic powder, Szechuan pepper, and black pepper.
- Apply a thin layer of flavored vinegar or lemon juice to the dish.
- Pat the spices lightly on all sides to ensure they stay.
You might also use a rub made of ground oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, and dry mustard for a Southwestern flavor.
Soak it in a marinade
Meat and fish can be tenderized and given more flavor with the help of a marinade. It’s best to steam food after marinating. Just a few suggestions: Fillets of fish can be marinated in a blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Spice up your steamed carrots and onions by coating them in olive oil, ground cumin, ground coriander, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper.
Skip the Water
Foods steamed over flavored liquids like broth, beer, or wine can absorb more flavor from the liquid without adding any extra fat or calories to the dish. You should stay away from liquids that are murky or thick, such as tomato sauce. You can use a dash of vinegar with a fruity flavor, like raspberry or fig.
Important tips for using a steamer
Here are some guidelines for starting your new steamer and creating delicious meals every time.
Get the food ready to steam
Preparing your food before steaming is another technique to make a tasty meal.
Garlic, spices, and herbs are all good additions to food. Instead of scattering the herbs over the veggies in the pot, roll them in a bowl of herbs and olive oil. Olive oil and garlic can be sautéed separately and added to the vegetables.
Similarly, you can season chicken and fish with lemon and pepper before cooking. You could also make the meat taste better by marinating it briefly.
Start by boiling the water
When first learning to steam food, it’s tempting to pour everything in at once and get it going. On the other hand, if you bring the water to a boil before adding your veggies or other foods, you may end up with the best-finished meal.
When the water comes to a boil, throw in all the vegetables, cover them, and let the steaming begin. While your food is steaming, you can also try varying the temperature.
Add herbs and stock to the steam for extra flavor
If you want to steam your food, you do not have to stick to the tried-and-true water method. Find a way to think outside the box. Add a new twist to your meals by using a different seasoning.
Make use of veggie or chicken broth instead of plain water. Before the water boils, add some lemon juice or salt to it. Add lemongrass, chopped garlic, rosemary, or dill sprigs to the water if you want adventure.
You’ll taste something, but it won’t be nearly as strong as if you’d sprinkled the herbs on top. As you experiment, keep in mind that these variables may affect the time it takes to bring the water to a boil and, hence, the total cooking time.
Limit Your Time Spent Steaming
This is a delicate process. Getting everything on the table at the same time while keeping it hot and appetizing is one of the hardest things you can face.
Vegetables cooked in the steamer take only a couple of minutes to be ready for serving. This makes them ideal as a last-minute addition to the to-do list. But there will still be instances where the veggies or other food items have finished steaming before you’re ready to consume them.
If this happens to you, shutting off the steam source or steamer won’t solve the problem. You should transfer them to a dish of icy water instead of leaving them in the pot. Here they will continue to cook and become mushy. As a result, your vegetables will retain some of their crispness.
To get the most out of your steamer, make sure the food makes direct contact with the steam. If your cover doesn’t fit snugly on your pot or pan, your cooking time will increase somewhat.
The best defense against serving undercooked meat is a meat thermometer. This may merely be an annoying minor setback that lengthens the procedure or marginally alters the flavor of the food in most cases. But in more extreme circumstances, such as when cooking chicken, you could end up with raw chicken.
Sometimes, using a steam basket on the stove may not fit quite well. If this happens, you can place a tea towel between the steamer’s lid and the top. It would help if you didn’t use an electric steamer whose lid is loose.
Use less water
Water is an essential component of the steam cooking process. Of course, the trick is to add just the correct amount of water.
Start by filling the pot with water to a depth of about 2 inches before placing the steam basket on your stove. One of the quickest ways to ruin your supper when using a steamer basket is to fill the pot with water higher than the basket.
A good rule of thumb is to add water until it reaches about an inch above the bottom of the pan, but not so much that it will boil over before the meal is done cooking.
Choose between a stovetop and an electric steamer
The best way to master a food steamer’s intricacies is to become familiar with the device. Here’s a quick rundown of the two food steamers you’ll probably buy.
Like the steam basket, an electric steamer uses steam to cook food. But it is a separate device on your counter and does all the work for you.
To steam veggies, fill the appliance with water, add the product, cover it tightly, and cook them using the appliance’s steam function.
There are as many varieties of steamers as small kitchen appliances. With the multi-level design of some food steamers, you may prepare a complete meal on a single device.
Some of them are quite small and can only prepare a single dish. Electronic rice cookers are the most typical example of this type of appliance.
All food steamers, regardless of brand, have advantages and disadvantages. Checking customer reviews is usually a good idea before purchasing a new household appliance.
Vegetables are often steamed in a steamer basket. This easy-to-use kitchen tool is put straight into a pan or pot in the oven or microwave.
Basically, you just put some water in the pot, a basket full of vegetables, and a lid on it. Keep the steam from the boiling water confined to cooking the vegetables.
The time you require to prepare vegetables depends on the veggies and the quantity you want to cook. Vegetables should be cooked so that a fork may readily pierce them, but they should still retain firmness. Vegetables that become soggy after cooking have been overdone.
Steaming beef presents a few further challenges. The fish will flake away from the thickest area when it is done. The internal temperature of the chicken should always be at least 165 degrees.
The Takeaway on steam cooking
Once you learn the ropes of using a food steamer, steaming becomes a straightforward preparation method. It may require some trial and error to get used to, just like any other new piece of equipment. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to make healthy meals quickly and easily without sacrificing the taste or nutritional value of the ingredients.