Steamed food is inarguably one of the best ways to cook the food we eat. There’s nothing better than the smell and taste of freshly steamed food be it fruits, veggies, meat, or meals like dim sum.
Food steamers are technological blessings in disguise, as they provide the means for us to steam food, even from inside the house. Here are some more factors to consider when purchasing the best food steamer.
Steaming Food: The Basics
Food steaming is a method of cooking that relies on moisture and heat. Food in a closed environment is surrounded by vapor, effectively cooking it.
- This is a very healthy method as food such as fruits and vegetables retain most of their nutrients.
- A healthier way to cook, steaming is preferred to roasting, sautéing, or simmering in water, as nutrients can actually come out.
- Steaming is also more efficient and affordable, as not even oil or fat is needed to cook food.
Electric or Stovetop?
Food steamers have two varieties. You can either choose a stovetop steamer or an electric steamer. Both have their different perks and benefits.
Stovetop steamers are more or less “accessories” that are placed atop a pot or a saucepan that has about two inches of simmering water in it.
- The food is then placed inside the insert, with the base allowing the steam to heat the food.
- Some stovetop steamers have collapsible or folding platforms that can be placed on the base of the top of the pan.
- Stovetop steamers can also come in the form of pans on top of saucepans similar to a double boiler.
- Other stovetop steamers consist of bamboo baskets that can be used with woks.
Electric steamers are stackable or divided trays that allow different batches or types of food to be steamed at the same time.
- There is a chamber for adding water, with a heater that allows water to simmer.
- Some multi cookers have a similar function.
This means your steamer of choice is a matter of personal preference. If you already have a pot or a wok, then it might be best to use a stovetop steamer as it can be more handy and cheaper.
However, if you want to have your own steaming appliance, or if you tend to cook large, complex meals, it may be helpful to cook steamed food in batches meaning an electric steamer might be up your alley.
Best Food Tips
When choosing a steamer, it’s important to know which foods cook best in them; for instance:
- The best foods for food steamers include things like chicken and seafood or most meats that are tender. These include filleted fish, chicken breast, and boneless chicken.
- Nearly all fruits and vegetables cook well using a food steamer you’ll just need to remember that different types of produce will require different steaming durations.
- Try to arrange pieces of food of the same type in a single layer, cut with the same size. Try to add room so the steam can circulate evenly around the steamer.
- If your food seems bland, you can add ingredients for spicing up your food. Leeks, tea, onions, and herbs can add that kick to make steamed food more appealing.
When you’re dealing with water, always remember that the sensitive nature of the steam may ruin the authentic “steam” quality of your food because of constant tinkering. Remember:
- Just add the right amount of water in the steamer so it will be sufficient for steaming your food but won’t make it droopy or watery.
- A higher temperature means that more water will be required. If your steamer is boiling dry, it can damage the pot.
- Don’t remove the lid too frequently as this can help drop the temperature. Try to buy a steamer that has a glass lid so you can see your food.
- Should you need to open the steamer, open it away from your hands and face. The steam can be extremely hot and can cause burns.
While it’s helpful to have the advice of an expert Appliance Reviewer, choosing an appliance for your home is more or less a matter of personal preference which means that the best food steamer for you is the one that works with your situation best. Thanks to the speedy nature of steamers and their portable designs, a lot of steamers on the market are handy additions to your kitchen, and these tips will help you add the right one to your kitchen appliance collection.