Steaming Food — What Is It?
Steaming food is a method of cooking using steam.
This is often done with a food steamer, a kitchen appliance made specifically to cook food with steam, but food can also be steamed in a wok. In the American southwest, steam pits used for cooking have been found dating back about 5,000 years. Steaming is considered a healthy cooking technique that can be used for many kinds of food.
Steaming works by boiling water continuously, causing it to vaporize into steam. The steam then carries heat to the nearby food, thus cooking the food. The food is kept separate from the boiling water but has direct contact with the steam, resulting in a moist texture to the food. This differs from double boiling, in which food is not directly exposed to steam, or pressure cooking, which uses a sealed vessel.
Such cooking is most often done by placing the food into a food steamer.
Typically a circular container made of metal or bamboo. The steamer usually has a lid that is placed on the top of the container during cooking to allow the steam to cook through the food. When a steamer is unavailable, food can be steamed inside a wok. Supported over boiling water in the bottom of the wok by a stainless steel frame.
Some modern home microwave ovens include a structure to cook food by steam vapor produced in a separate water container. Providing a similar result to being cooked on stove. There are also specialized steam ovens available.
In Western cooking, steaming is most often used to cook vegetables—it is rarely used to cook meats. However, steamed clams are prepared by steaming. With Chinese cuisine, vegetables are usually stir fried or blanched and seldom steamed. Seafood and meat dishes are steamed. For example: steamed whole fish, steamed crab, steamed pork spare ribs, steamed ground pork or beef, steamed chicken and steamed goose.