Steam cooking is one of the oldest ways to prepare food. In this way, our distant ancestors softened fruits and vegetables, roots and fish on stones near hot springs.
Steam cooking is one of the most beloved culinary methods of the Chinese people, which are distinguished by longevity and health. In our society, this type of cooking is mainly known as a dietary one, recommended by doctors for the prevention and treatment of diseases.
General description of the method
Steam cooking is considered one of the healthiest and most natural. Indeed, in food, during steam cooking, the moisture necessary for the body is retained. In addition, it is believed that brown rice and some other steamed cereals lose much less B vitamins than cooked ones.
You can steam almost any product, from vegetables and fruits, cereals to meat and fish delicacies. Steamed dumplings and dumplings, egg and seafood dishes, cutlets, meatballs, pies are excellent. And also desserts like muffins, casseroles and even cakes. Just remember that there are foods that are simply not recommended for steaming. These include:
- Noodles (may lose their original shape);
- Mushrooms. They often contain harmful substances. Many of them require pre-soaking or digestion;
- Vegetables and fruits that have any defect. Unpleasant aftertaste may intensify during cooking.
Today, there are many different steaming tools available. They differ in functionality, volume and quantity of dishes prepared at the same time. But all of them are united by a common principle of operation: the water in the container boils, and the food located in a special basket, or in another dish, is heated under the influence of steam and brought to readiness.
The cooking time for steamed foods is slightly shorter than for those cooked with roasting and boiling. In addition, the method is recommended as simpler. Here you do not need to constantly monitor the cooking process: the foods do not burn and do not boil over, moreover, they do not need to be turned over, which is another significant advantage of this method.
There are many ways to steam food. Let’s consider three of the most common ones.
An ordinary saucepan half filled with water and a colander with a lid on top can quickly turn into a real double boiler. This method of steaming is recommended when steaming food is infrequent. The advantages include the budgetary method, its availability for everyone.
A store-bought steamer is an improved version of the first method. The set of the device includes a pan with a special insert – a perforated container for food. A big plus – the lid fits snugly to the device, which maintains the temperature necessary for quick cooking of any, even slowly cooking, foods.
The electric steamer is the most convenient and popular type of steamer. Today you can find electric steamers designed for a different volume and number of dishes prepared at the same time. In these miraculous devices, you can cook 30 dishes in just 3 minutes: for example, fish, side dish and cake. Electric steamers turn off when the water boils off, have a delay cooking function, a heating mode, a sterilization mode and many other convenient functions. It all depends on the brand of the device and its price category.
Health Benefits of Steamed Food
Steam cooked food allows you to establish a complete and balanced diet for the whole family in a short period of time. Dishes in a double boiler are bright, beautiful and attractive. They retain a large amount of vitamins and minerals, natural moisture remains, which allows such foods to be more easily absorbed by the body without irritating the gastrointestinal tract.
Steam dishes are especially recommended for people suffering from gastrointestinal diseases, nervous exhaustion, are shown to all who often find themselves in a state of increased nervous tension.
The steam does not contain heavy metal impurities, which are often found in hard chlorinated water. This means that the dishes are healthier than boiled ones.
Nutritionists say that steaming dishes have a beneficial effect on the condition of hair, skin, nails. These dishes are indicated for people with diseases of the cardiovascular system, as well as for their prevention, since they do not contain a large amount of cholesterol and toxins.
Dangerous properties of steamed food
They are practically absent, if you follow the recommendations for cooking. The only thing that lovers of delicacies may not like at first is the insipid taste of steamed dishes. But this is easily fixable. At the end of cooking, you can add various sauces to the dishes, sprinkle them with spices and add spices.