• Desiree Burns

6 Tips To Using A Steamer Basket

1. Don’t Add Too Much Water

First things first, the most important component of steam cooking is the water. Of course, adding the right amount of water is where the key lies.

When you are using a steam basket, you’ll want to start by adding about one or two inches of water to the pot. You do not want the water to go above the steamer basket once it is placed in the pot.

However, you do not want to put too little water, as this could lead to you burning the pan if the water boils up before you are done cooking your food.

2. Boil the Water First

As you start to learn how to steam vegetables, it is pretty common to want to just throw it all in the pot at the same time and turn it on. However, you might find that the final dish is better when you first bring the water to a boil, and then add your vegetables or other food items.

Once the water is boiling, simply add all your veggies, close the lid and allow the steaming process to start. You may also want to experiment with turning the heat up or down while your food is steaming.

3. Don’t Steam For Too Long

One of the most difficult tasks is to get everything on the table at the same time while keeping everything hot and tasty.

Steamed vegetables take just a few minutes to cook, so they make a great last item on the to-do list. However, there are still times where you might find that your vegetables or other food have completed steaming before you are ready for them.

If you find yourself in this scenario, simply turning off the steamer or heat source will not be enough. Rather than leaving them in the pot where they will slowly continue to cook, becoming soggy, place them in a bowl filled with ice water. This will help keep your veggies crisp.

4. Enhance the Steam By Using Stock & Herbs

Although the most common way to steam food is by using water, but don’t limit yourself to this. Get creative. Infuse your food with a slightly different flavor.

Instead of using just plain ole water, try using chicken or vegetable broth. Perhaps add some salt or lemon to the water before it starts to boil. If you feel extra adventurous, add some herbs to the water, such as rosemary sprigs, sliced garlic, dill sprigs or lemongrass.

You will get a hint of flavor, but it will be less than if you used the herbs directly on the food. Just keep in mind as you experiment, that these may change the amount of time it takes to get to a boil, which might impact the overall cooking time.

5. Make Sure the Seal is Air-Tight

For your food to properly cook with a steamer, the steam must actually touch the food. If you have a loose-fitting lid, then a small amount of the steam will escape and you’ll find it more difficult to cook your food.

In the majority of instances, this may just be an inconvenience that lengthens the process or slightly alter the way the food tastes. However, in more severe cases, such as if you’re cooking chicken, you might end up with under-cooked food. A meat thermometer is the best way to prevent you from serving ill-prepared food.

If you’re using a steam basket on a stove, a loose fit will sometimes occur. When you see this, try adding a tea towel between the top of the steamer and the lid. If your electric steamer has a loose lid, then you should not use it at all.

6. Prepare the Food Before Steaming

Another way to create a delicious meal with steaming, is to prepare your food before you start the cooking process.

For vegetables, you might wish to add some herbs, spices or garlic to the mix. Rather than just sprinkling the herbs in the pot, roll the vegetables into a bowl that has some olive oil and herbs mixed together. You can also sauté garlic and olive oil and add to the vegetables at the end.

You can also do the same when you cook fish or chicken. You may also want to consider allowing your meat to marinate for a short period of time.

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