Plastic microwave steamers are fail-safe and easy to use in a microwave, because they are made with encapsulated metal. This special metal blocks the heat in the microwave from reaching the food, and instead directs the heat to the water tray, which steams the food inside the steamer. Steaming foods helps retain their vitamins, fatty acids and nutrients, which can be lost using conventional cooking methods.
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Things you need
- Plastic microwave steamer
Choose the foods that you are going to steam. Microwave steamers can be used for any food that you would steam on the hob, except for crispy foods, pastry, pasta, rice and eggs in the shell.
Add 500 ml (2 cups) of cold water to the water tray. There is a "fill" line that shows you to what level the steamer should be filled. The water tray is the bottom of the steamer that has handles on each side.
Place the foods in the deep-steamer base. If you have soft foods or delicate foods, place those foods in the colander and put it on top of the deep-steamer base. The colander is placed on top of the steamer base, whether it is being used to hold food or not.
Place the steamer base with the colander inserted on the filled water tray. Put the cover on the top of the colander. The flat cover has two handles for easy handling when it is hot.
Place the plastic steamer in the microwave. Microwave on high for no more than 25 minutes. Use the steamer recipe book to gauge the correct steaming time. For instance, frozen broccoli alone in the streamer takes 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how much broccoli is being steamed and the texture you want the vegetables to have after steaming.
Open the microwave door when you want to check the progress of the food. Check the water level in the water tray and, if necessary, add enough water to bring it back up to the "fill" line. Close the microwave door and add an extra minute to the cooking time to give the water time to heat up again.
Remove the plastic steamer from the microwave. Let the steamer sit for five minutes after removing it from the microwave. Remove the steamer base from the water tray. While holding the cover handles and the steamer base, tip it upside down to drain off any water from inside the steamer base.
Tips and warnings
- If cooking vegetables, remove the steamer base right away and let it stand for five minutes.
- The steamer keeps foods warm for up to 30 minutes when left in the water tray, except for vegetables.
- Frozen foods can go from freezer to steamer without thawing.
- Allow enough room in the steamer base so the steam can circulate through the base.
- Use food pieces that are similar in size for equal steaming times.