One of the healthiest ways to cook food, especially vegetables, is to steam them. There are no additional fats or oils required, and more nutrients are retained than when the food is cooked.
When food is steamed, it stays still, which helps delicate fish fillets and tender young vegetables keep their attractive appearance and texture. Hob steamers are the most commonly used piece of equipment for steaming foods at home; they are inexpensive, simple to use, and durable, and they can also be used as a stock pot.
Separate the stockpot portion from the hob steamer insert(s). Separate each insert tier if your hob steamer has them.
Fill the stockpot portion of the hob steamer with about 2 inches of water. Replace all or part of the water with broth, beer, bouillon, or another liquid for added flavor. Aromatics such as fresh herbs, garlic, onions, or mushrooms can also be added to the liquid.
Over high heat, bring the liquid to a boil. Prepare your food for steaming as directed in the recipe you’re using while the liquid is heating. Unless your recipe specifies otherwise, vegetables should be cut to a uniform size and shellfish should be left in the shell.
Place the food in the hob steamer insert on the stovetop, but don’t overfill it. Food should not completely obstruct the ventilation holes in the insert. Place the insert in the steamer’s stockpot section, add the tiers (if desired), and cover tightly.
Steam over high heat for the amount of time specified in your recipe, or until the food is done to your liking. Remove from the heat and serve right away.
If you steamed with aromatics or liquids other than water, the liquid can be used to make a sauce. Simply add 2 tablespoons flour to the liquid, along with an equal amount of water. Heat until thickened over medium-low heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and pour over your steamed dish.
With a few tweaks, hob steamers can be used to cook almost any dish. It’s even possible to make bread in one of these machines. The majority of raw grains, however, cannot be steam-cooked.
How to Use a Steamer
Steaming is an excellent way to cook food without sacrificing nutritional value or flavor. It’s also one of the most straightforward ways to prepare vegetables after a long day at the office. Despite the nutritional benefits of steamed vegetables, many home chefs are stumped as to how to use a food steamer in their day-to-day routines.
The solution is straightforward: boil some water and allow the steam to cook the food.
While it may appear to be simple and self-explanatory, mastering this style of cooking requires patience and practice. Don’t let the fact that you’ll make some mistakes and probably ruin a few dishes deter you. You’ll quickly notice that your vegetables taste better as you learn to cook with steam, and the process will become simple.
Let’s take a closer look at different types of best electric food steamers, as well as some of our favorite tips and tricks for learning how to steam your veggies like a pro, to get you started.
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The Takeaway on Steam Cooking
Steaming is a simple way to cook, especially once you know how to use a food steamer. Cooking with steam is a simple process once you’ve learned how to use a food steamer. Learning to use it, like learning to use any new appliance, may take some time. But once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be able to whip up a flavorful bowl of vegetables or a juicy chicken breast in no time, all while maintaining the full nutritional profile of your food.