A bamboo steamer is a famous tool that appeared in China thousands of years ago. The item is popular for its eye-catching look and excellent utilities. So, how to use a bamboo steamer?
This post is for those planning to purchase a bamboo steamer. I will provide you with detailed instructions on using this item. Plus, this post introduces some features and benefits of the bamboo steamer that you may need.
Now, let’s dwell straight into the post to avoid wasting your time!
What is a Bamboo Steamer?
The bamboo steamer is a popular kitchen tool in Chinese cuisine. Regarding its origin, the bamboo steamer appeared in Southern China around 5000 years ago.
According to the myth, the bamboo steamer is the invention of General Han Xin during the Han Dynasty. The man used bamboo and wood for making kitchen utensils and eventually created the bamboo steamer.
Material and Production of Bamboo Steamers
As the name suggests, the primary material for bamboo steamers is bamboo. The craftsman will remove the bamboo’s skin and clean it with water.
Then, they will hammer and woven bamboo into strips before combining them into bamboo steamers. The average time for making a bamboo steamer is around 15 minutes.
The Shape And Structure Of A Bamboo Steamer
A bamboo steamer comprises many stackable baskets. Each basket features a woven texture (with bamboo strips) and a round shape.
Meanwhile, a typical bamboo steamer has 10 inches in width and 6 inches in height. Due to its clever design, you can stack many baskets and form a large-sized bamboo steamer.
Through the woven structure, the steam can slowly pass through a bamboo steamer and cook the food inside. As a result, the food flavors will increase without ruining the texture.
The Popularity of Bamboo Steamers
Not only in China, but bamboo steamers have also become popular in the Western world. People commonly use this tool for making dimsum.
Recently, manufacturers began to use silicon as an alternative material for traditional bamboo.
How to Use Bamboo Steamer
The shape and materials of bamboo steamers have transformed throughout many years. Yet, the art of steaming and using these tools is still the same.
This tool can produce the most delicious steamed food you’ll ever taste. To achieve that, you must know how to use bamboo steamers effectively. So, let’s discover this step-by-step instruction.
Step 1: Prepare Your Wok and Steamer
You need to fill the wok or cooking tool with water before placing the bamboo steamer inside it. In this practice, the water should fill the bottom of your bamboo steamer (a quarter inch or 0,5 inch).
By doing this, water won’t scorch and touch your food inside. Yet, it should be sufficient to cover up the bottom rim of the utensil.
If you use a brand-new bamboo steamer, it would be best to soak the item for 30 minutes. It will prevent the bottom rim from scorching. Yet, ensure that the item is completely dry to avoid mold.
Step 2: Arrange the Bamboo Steamer
The next step is stacking or arranging the bamboo steamer. The number of levels a bamboo steamer has may vary. It can be three, four, or two, depending on the type of steamer you use.
Then, use the soft cabbage leaves or lettuce leaves to line the food with the steamer bed. Doing this will help prevent your food from sticking to the steamer surface.
Some other options are round paper liners or even reusable cloth. Yet, the liner should be porous so the steam can pass through it and heat up your food.
If you want to collect the food juice, place it on a heatproof plate or bowl.
Step 3: Place Food Inside the Steamer
One important rule is to avoid stuffing the steamer bed with too much food. If you place dumplings or buns, don’t overcrowd the pieces. It’s because the food size will increase during the steaming process.
Therefore, always leave about 1 inch in the distance between the food pieces. If you cook large food pieces, around 1,5 inches is advisable. Also, don’t put in too large food pieces as they may hit the lid of the steamer.
Step 4: Finalize the Cooking Steps
You have to choose: preheating the water first or placing the steamer first. Both methods deliver fine results as long as you arrange the food right. Yet, I recommend putting the bamboo steamer inside the wok first.
Also, you don’t need to defrost frozen buns or dumplings. Just put them straight into the steamer and start cooking.
Step 5: Steam and Check
During the simmering process, the water will evaporate. You can follow the recipe’s instructions to decide on the steaming time. Yet, don’t forget to check the steamer regularly and add more water if needed.
If you add more water, don’t use cold water. It’s because changes in temperature will interrupt the simmering process and affect your food’s flavors.
Follow this video for more illustrations on using the bamboo steamer.
The Benefits of Using Bamboo Steamer
Bamboo is the perfect material for a steaming tool. Firstly, this material can absorb water condensation and prevent the food texture from getting soggy.
Secondly, bamboo is very lightweight, making it easier to handle than metal. Lastly, the bamboo steamers come with many stackable features. Thus, you can cook a large amount of food simultaneously.
How to Maintain Your Bamboo Steamer
Soaking a brand-new bamboo steamer in water (just the bottom part) is advisable. It ensures your steamer’s bottom doesn’t burn or scorch during the cooking process.
After each cooking time, clean and dry your bamboo steamer thoroughly. It’s because the moisture creates ideal conditions for molds and bacteria. Lastly, don’t wash the bamboo steamer using a dishwasher.
Using the bamboo steamer is one of the healthiest and most effective steaming methods. It can enhance your dish’s flavor without ruining its texture and freshness.
I hope you know how to effectively use a bamboo steamer after reading this post. Remember that the amount of water and cooking time is critical.
Thank you for your time!