Working in the kitchen becomes highly efficient and convenient with the numerous kitchen appliances available at our disposal nowadays.
The steak you cook on a fry-pan won’t be the same as the one you cook on a barbecue grill.
However, these tech-savvy tools are generally expensive and sometimes only end up being used a couple of times in a year, under utilizing your investments and adding more kitchen deadwood on the racks.
Steaming food is one of those methods that is archaic and very much relevant today. But just because you don’t own a steamer doesn’t mean you should buy one right away.
Today we unfold the numerous ways you can steam your food without owning a steamer at all. This is meant to guide you in cooking vegetables, fish, and shumai without a steamer in more ways than one.
All you’ll need for this steam team is a metal strainer or a baking rack, aluminum foil, and a large pot. Let’s get down to business!
Steaming Vegetables and/or Chicken
First Procedure: Strainer & Pot
The pot we mentioned, fill it up with half an inch of water approximately and place the metal strainer inside, but ensure it doesn’t touch the water body.
Place the food items (chicken breasts or diced veggies) in one spread instead of piling them on top of one another. Boil the water, and let it bubble after under mild heat. Keep the steam inside by blanketing the surface with a lid or cover. Steam for around 15-20 minutes under the presumption that cooking times will vary according to the food you pick.
Second Procedure: Aluminum balls
Don’t worry if you don’t own a strainer, this method does the job without one. Once again, fill your pot up with half an inch of water. And for the fun part, get the roll of aluminum foil out and cut out three balls of approximately equal size and place them in the water.
For this part, place a ceramic plate (any heat-proof one will do) on top of the pot covering the foil balls. You can use a baking rack instead as well.
Spread your ingredients on the plate without piling them up. Heat the pot to a simmer while keeping it covered. The contents will be steamed to perfection in a matter of minutes.
Third Procedure: Do it in the oven
Get a big stockpot and fill it up with half an inch of boiling water. Heat your oven to a minimum temperature of about 200 degrees F.
Place a baking rack on top of the stockpot and arrange the food (strips of chicken or vegetables) on the frame. Wrap the surface thoroughly with a long sheet of aluminum foil to ensure the steam doesn’t escape.
Place the pot inside the oven and wait for the food to be steamed.
First Procedure: Steamer Basket
Place your finely cut and seasoned strips of fish or fillets on the surface of the steamer basket in one spread. Make sure to spread them out evenly so that the fish doesn’t stick or cook unevenly.
Fill your pot with 1-2 inches of water (use more or less as necessary). But don’t let the layer of water touch your steamer basket (as the water can make your fish soggy).
Fun Tip: If you want some flavor or a savory taste use broths, stocks, and cooking wines.
Boil the water with mild heat. Whether you use a gas burner or an induction cooktop, let the water heat for 5-6 minutes so when you add the fish the steam is thick and cloudy.
When the water is ready, place the steamer basket inside the pot (most are designed to slip and fit inside any pot). Now cover the pot with a snug-fitting lid to ensure the steam stays sealed inside.
Steam your fish fillets for 5-7 minutes but if the strips are thick and long give them 10-12 minutes. You can tell it’s evenly cooked if the color turns opaque all over the body. Now serve and enjoy!
Second Procedure: Steam Fish Using A Rice Cooker
Scale and wash your fish strips, season them with salt thoroughly and leave it to marinate for fifteen minutes. You can cut any celery, spring onions, ginger, or garlic during this break.
Arrange the strips of fish on a plate that fits the upper rack of your rice cooker and pour out any leftover salty water. Now place the plate of fish into the rice cooker (you can cook rice below to save energy and time).
At the sight of steam, add the diced garlic and ginger all over the fish strips. Season the fish with sesame oil and soya sauce.
Seal the rice cooker and let it cook. The rice cooking below will ensure the fish is steamed. You will know so when the steam disappears. Then, let the fish sit inside the pot for another ten minutes. Now serve with spring onions, coriander, or celery leaves.
First Procedure: Trust The Nonstick Pan (& A Lid Too)
Place your siomai dumplings on the surface of your reliable nonstick frypan in columns. Add ½ to ¼ cups of water and two tablespoons of cooking oil (the more dumplings you cook, more water should be added accordingly).
Get the stove running in mild heat and set the pan on. Cover the pan with a lid and let it boil for some time. Turn the heat down to allow the dumplings to simmer till the water dries up.
When the water is almost dried up and gone, lift the lid to make sure that the siomai is cooked evenly. You may need to add more water and/or oil; the oil will make sure the bottoms of the dumplings are hot and crispy.
And voila! Your stomach dumplings are ready to be served.
Second Procedure: A Foil Pie Tin
Get a saucepan and fill it with an inch of water (make sure it is big enough for the pie tin to fit inside).
Poke a few holes on the bottom of the pie tin (this allows the steam to pass through) and place it bottoms up on the pan. Arrange the dumplings on top of the pie tin.
Set the frypan on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Let the water boil for 5-6 minutes so it’s steamy around.
Finally, let the siomai dumplings steam for an additional ten minutes; you’ll notice the water simmering before it dries up, check that the dumplings are coming to color, and you’re done!
Benefits of Steamed Food
Steamed food is always cooked under mild heat, hence the food is never overcooked or burnt, and the food is never dry. Moreover, steamed fish, vegetables, or dumplings are far more flavorful and retains color and texture.
In conclusion, steaming is convenient and healthy as it retains more food nutrients, and if you don’t own a steamer that’s not an issue at all!