Steamer baskets cook all types of food from fish and meats to vegetables and grains. Bamboo steamers have several advantages over their metal counterparts. Bamboo steamers have several stacking layers for cooking multiple foods simultaneously. Unlike metal, when the steam rises and condenses in a bamboo steamer it does not drip down onto the food from the lid. The porous bamboo absorbs the condensation and keeps the food fresher tasting. Look for these cooking utensils in cookware stores and on the Internet.
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Things you need
- Wide, flat bottomed pot
- Bamboo layer liners (lettuce leaves, corn husks, banana leaves, parchment paper or heatproof plates)
Bring two inches of water to a boil over high heat in the pot.
Remove the lid from the steamer and line the base of the steamer with the layer liner of your choice. Repeat for any additional stacked layers of the bamboo steamer.
Arrange the food on top of the layer liners. Put the thickest, slowest cooking food in the bottom layer of the steamer.
Replace the lid on the top most layer of the bamboo steamer. Set the steamer into the boiling water.
Steam the food according to your recipe. Refill the water in the pot as needed so the pot does not boil dry.
Rinse the steamer with hot, soapy water and air dry completely before storing. Do not place the steamer into the dishwasher or soak it in water.
Tips and warnings
- Pair the layer liner with the food you are cooking as some add flavour to the food while other liners are neutral. Line the layers with corn husks for steaming Latin foods such as tamales. Use banana leaves for Central American, Caribbean or Southeast Asian steamed dishes. Opt for lettuce leaves or parchment paper for all other steamed foods as these two liners do not impart flavour on the food.
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