How to Use A Bamboo Steamer?

How to Use A Bamboo Steamer

With the increasing health concern, many people are adopting the steaming method. Steaming helps your food to retain vitamins and nutrients. Also, your food’s shape is not affected while its natural flavor, texture, and color remain. 

To make steaming easy, manufacturers have produced versatile kitchenware known as the bamboo steamer. It’s convenient since it comes with 3-4 tiers to help you steam different foods at once. It’s inexpensive, and it’s easy to use and clean. Some people don’t know how to use a bamboo steamer well. So, after buying it, the steamer remains unused for many decades. If you’re among them, after reading this article, you may find yourself using it daily. 

Hacks of Using a Bamboo Steamer

Visitors are arriving soon, and you have a variety of dishes to steam. Among them include rice, pork, chicken, and veggies. 

You remember that you bought a bamboo steamer and have never used it. Where do you start? Check the steps below.

Gather the Items

Gathering all the items first will make your steaming process easy. Here is a list of things you require. A bamboo steamer, large lettuce leaves/premium paper liner, Wok/pot/deep saucepan, oven mitt, warm water, spatula/tong, and vegetable oil. 

Clean The Steamer

It’s not advisable to use a new steamer before washing it. After all, it could be having some odor or oil originating from its manufacturing process. Note that the steamer is porous thus absorbs the smell faster. If you use some dish soaps, the food may end having a soapy smell. To avoid the risk, read the instructions first. Some manufacturers recommend that you leave it in cold water for five minutes before rinsing it. That improves its performance and extends its lifespan. 

Put liners in Tiers

Cleaning becomes easy if the tier has no sticky food left after steaming. That’s why lining is important. If you have a premium paper liner, use it. If you don’t have a liner, arrange large lettuce leaves on the bottom of each tier. 

Arrange The Food

In the first tier, put the meat. Assuming you have to cook pork and chicken, the pork temperature requires being 145°F when ready, and that of a chicken should be 165°F. So, after putting the leave/liner, put the chicken on the bottom tier. Pick the next tier and add the pork. Note that when cutting the meat pieces, let them not exceed the thickness of 2.5cm. That will help it to get ready faster. The tier on the middle should have pre-soaked rice that is not cooked. On top, you should add some veggies. 

Assuming you have carrots and potatoes on one tier, don’t overcrowd them. Ensure that they have the same thickness and leave a 1 cm distance between them. If the cooking foods expand when ready, leave a distance of 2.5cm between each piece. 

Preheat Some Water

Take the warm water and preheat. It should not boil; instead, it should simmer. Once it simmers, minimize the temperature. Note that when steaming, the bamboo steamer should never come into contact with the heat source. The steamer should not touch the bottom of the hot pan either. Direct fire will burn it, while excess heat from the pan will ruin it. 

Steam The Food

Hang the steamer basket on the pan. Ensure that the water does not submerge the bottom tier. Cover the top using the steamer’s cover. Note the time not to overcook. Remember, the food in each tier takes a different time to get ready. While the meat will take around 30 minutes to get ready, the veggies will only require 5-10 minutes.

Before removing the bottom tier with the meat, check the internal temperature first using the meat thermometer. It’s a caution to avoid eating raw meat that could lead to food poisoning. Once the food is ready, switch off the heat and remove your steamer. The tong/spatula will help you serve the food from the tier. 

What happens once the water evaporates, yet the food is not ready? If the water is far below the bottom tier, the food won’t steam well. So, add some cold water up to 2.5 cm of the bottom tier. Since the temperature will be low, increase the heat on the stovetop until the water simmers again. Lower the heat of your stovetop and let the food steam. 

Tips for Cleaning the Bamboo Steamer

Knowing how to clean a bamboo steamer will help it perform better and prolong its useful life. Note that cleaning the bamboo steamer with a dishwasher is not advisable. The detergent and the excess heat can easily ruin the bamboo steamer. The smell of the detergent will also remain, thus ruining the taste of the food. So, how should you clean it? 

Does the steamer have some sticky food on the surface? If it doesn’t have, you need to rinse it in the water without using soap. Remember, the liner prevents the food from sticking. If you see some sticky foods, soak them in some warm water for few minutes before cleaning them with a soft cloth. Note that an abrasive material will only ruin it. 

Note that; since the steamer is porous, it could retain the odor of some food, especially fish. Since you don’t want to ruin the next dish, scrub the surface using a wet tea bag/ lemon to clear the smell. Rinse and let it dry. Season it later with some oil to prevent it from cracking. 

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There is no need to use unhealthy techniques to cook your food. The bamboo steamer will not only help you steam your food faster but also in a healthy way. The food will retain its natural flavor, nutrients, and color. Unfortunately, failure to use the steamer correctly will not only frustrate you but will ruin the steamer. When cleaning the steamer, avoid using the dishwasher and the soaps. Note that the steamer’s porous nature makes it absorb the smell easily, thus ruining your dish. 

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