How to use bamboo steamer baskets

Written by kathryn hatter | 13/05/2017
How to use bamboo steamer baskets
Bamboo steamer baskets are traditional in Chinese cuisine. (Getty Creative)

Cooks who enjoy preparing vegetables, dumplings or other savoury foods with steam often appreciate having a bamboo steamer. A bamboo steamer has separate trays to hold the ingredients for steaming. The bottoms of the trays have slots that allow steam to pass into the basket from below. You place the bamboo steamer basket into a pot that holds simmering water. Cover the pot while it holds the steamer and the steam from the boiling water will steam the ingredients for a delicious meal.

Prepare the ingredients you will steam. Cut or chop the vegetables or prepare the meat by cutting off visible fat and cutting it into bite-size pieces.

Spray the inside bottom surface of the bamboo steamer with the vegetable cooking spray to prevent sticking foods, if desired.

Place the ingredients in the steamer basket in a single layer.

Add approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water in the pot. Place the pot on the burner. Turn the burner to high and heat the water until it boils.

Set the bamboo steamer into the pot on top of the boiling water. Make sure the water level does not submerge the steaming ingredients. The water must be below the bamboo steamer so that only steam cooks the ingredients.

Place the lid on the bamboo steamer and place the lid on the pot. Allow the steam from the boiling water to cook the ingredients for several minutes.

Remove the lid from the pot to check the water level. If the water level has boiled away significantly, add more water. Remove the lid from the bamboo steamer and check the steaming ingredients. If the ingredients are finished cooking, remove the ingredients from the bamboo steamer, remove the pot from the burner and turn the burner off. If the food needs more steaming, place the lids back on and continue steaming for several more minutes.

Remove the foods from the steamer and remove the steamer from the pot when the foods are finished cooking. Turn the burner off.

Clean the bamboo steamer with plain warm water (no soap). Use a dish brush to scour the inside surfaces of the bamboo steamer lightly and rinse the steamer under water. Allow the steamer to dry completely before putting it away.

Things you need

  • Steaming ingredients (vegetables or meat for example)
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Steamer basket (diameter that will fit your pot)
  • Deep pot with lid (at least 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches))
  • Hob
  • Scouring brush

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