09 Jan Steam Cooking: The Technique of Moist Heat Cooking
You are on a diet and what you have in your refrigerator is a chicken breast. Alternatively, maybe you are looking to balance out a hearty meal of steak or maybe roast with something healthier as a side. Either ways, the first thing that comes to your mind is to either steam cook that chicken breast or add in steamed veggies alongside your roast.
What is Steam Cooking/Steaming?
Meanwhile, steaming is a way of cooking food by using steam. If you date back to ancient years there have been historical evidences of using this cooking method then, it is said. One of the earliest mention of this, according to recorded history was during AD. 75, in Alexandria. Even, in ancient China, especially and even to this date, the Chinese also make steamed food using bamboo baskets. In this type of cooking, mainly the steam helps to conduct heat to cook the food. Moreover, the first thing you will reach out for is the food steamer (traditional or modern/ electrical).
The Technique behind it
Basically, you normally use high temperature to steam cook your food, much more so than in poaching or braising, apparently. Once water is put on high heat, it will go past a certain temperature (100 degree C) and then convert to steam. This technique helps to lock in the nutrients of the veggies and other poultry or seafood items that you are steam cooking. It also cooks the food evenly.
Tips to do Steam Cooking
Well, now that you have heard me talk about steam cooking, you would be wondering how to go about it? What you need is a steamer. You can also use an idly pot for this. Nevertheless, if you do not have a steam, you can even make do with a steam inset or a steamer basket and a deep pot. Mainly what you need is a small strainer (or chalni) with holes that will let the steam to reach the vegetables or food you are cooking. In addition, the cooking time will vary for the food items used.
How would you do steam cooking?
So, let us put that pot and steamer basket on the stove. First, fill the pot with water. Ensure that the water level does not touch the steamer basket. Then keep the steamer basket or inset with the vegetables or fish/ chicken on the top of the pot and close the lid. The hot steam from the pot of water below reaches out through the steam basket and cooks the food quickly. The Bamboo steamer is also equipment used in mainly Asian style of steaming.
Steam cooked food items
Steaming is a method used to cook not only vegetables, fish, shellfish or chicken. It also helps to cook Asian cuisine. It is used to make BAOs or Momos, and also for South Indian Traditional Breakfast items like the Idlis, Puttu or even the popular steamed bananas made with Jaggery (Pazham Puzhungiyathu). Even if the process may vary, the basic cooking method remains the same.