Vegetables and steaming make an excellent pair when preparing a convenient, healthy and tasty dish.
Regardless of the cooking process involved, each technique including steaming involves harrying degrees of heat and produces specific and characteristic results. Overcooking should be avoided as this produces an unappetizing texture and loss of nutrients. Steaming is often used to cook veggies to retain their bright color and crisp texture. Cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, asparagus and beans are top choices for steaming.
Since cooking time is much shorter compared to preparing meat, steaming vegetables is a quick option for any meal. Vegetarians like this cooking method, next to keeping it raw, as nutrients and flavors are preserved compared to frying, boiling and stewing.
Several affordable steamers come in multi-tray electric versions so that multiple dishes can be prepared simultaneously and conveniently. The traditional Asian steamers in Chinese restaurants use bamboo containers that have an open-weave structure on the bottom and can be stacked several levels high thus multiplying the number and kinds of dishes that can be prepared. These are placed on top of a big wok or pan with boiling water. These containers also double as serving dishes.
Some commercial and household food steamers feature a juice catchment, which collects cooking liquids which can be combined with the food therefore maximizing nutrients.
Steaming can be applied for both fresh or frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables go straight to a colander and held over a couple inches of boiling water in a closed cooking vessel until tender crisp. Other ways of keeping increasing fiber is to steam fresh vegetables with their skins on. Make sure that they’re washed properly or scrubbed to remove any grit.
Pressure-steaming dense roots vegetables and tubers such as beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, sweet potatoes and jicama shortens cooking time compared to if you steam it in a regular streaming method. Be careful not to dry out your steaming liquid. Note as well that steaming foods in the same vessel simultaneously will combine the flavors of the different ingredients so consider this when steaming foods together. Line your steamer with parchment paper, banana leaves or corn husk to facilitate serving, clean up time and also to impart an additional flavor.
Though most steamed vegetable dishes are simple and straightforward, you can make these more special by playing around with the ingredients and sauces.
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