Sometimes the old ways are still the best. When it comes to healthy cooking, the ancient art of steaming is one of the simplest and best ways to prepare a meal without adding unhealthy ingredients. Like a double boiler, today's stainless steel steamers contain one pot for holding food that sits atop another pot that holds hot water. They cook food just as well as the older bamboo steamers from China and they are much easier to clean and much more durable than those models.
Chop the food that you wish to cook into identically-sized pieces. Pieces of the same size will cook in the same amount of time. If your food has a variety of bite sizes, some will be overcooked and some will be undercooked.
Place the bottom half of the steamer onto the stove. Add water to this pot up to the fill line, if it has one, or up to a point where the surface of the water is below the bottom of the steamer basket when it is assembled in the pot.
Add flavouring items to your water if your recipe calls for it. Many steamed foods benefit from added flavours like herbs, spices or wine in the simmering water.
Turn on the stove and heat the pot until the water is simmering. Insert the top half of the steamer into the pot.
Arrange your food pieces in a single layer in the bottom of the steamer layer. Allow a small amount of space around all of the food pieces. Do more than one batch, if necessary, rather than overcrowding the first batch.
Place the lid tightly on the steamer to make sure that the steam and heat don't escape. Allow the food to steam according to your recipe directions.
Remove the steamer lid when your food has cooked the designated amount of time. Use hot pads or oven gloves to take out the perforated steamer layer from the pot. Pour or place the food from the steamer to serving dishes. Add more food to the steamer and cook another batch, if necessary.