A food steamer lets you heat and cook food with steam and without immersing it in water. Steaming is ideal for fresh vegetables, rice and seafood but is also useful for other foods. You can buy food steamers at kitchenware shops, but you can also make one using common household items. When making a homemade steamer, make sure the container has a lid that will fit well over the container and the insert.
Use a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid as the base for your steamer. The pan must be large enough to accommodate inserts, such as a colander while still allowing room for the steam to circulate.
Place a metal colander with a stand inside the pan. The stand elevates the base of the colander above the bottom of the pan and leaves room for water below the colander. Because its holes are fairly large, a colander works best for larger items such as prawns, meats and cut vegetables.
Place a strainer in the pan for smaller items, such as rice. The strainer should be large enough to fit inside the top of the pan, with handles that you can loop over the lip to prevent it falling to the bottom.
Roll out two sheets of aluminium foil roughly 10 cm (4 inches) longer than the diameter of the pan and layer them in a cross pattern. Fold up the sides to form a pot and poke 10 to 20 holes in the foil with a fork. Crimp the ends of the foil over the pan so that the foil pot hangs inside.