Steaming is a cooking technique where the food is cooked using steam. This method only requires moist heat, which is created by boiling water, and the water vaporizes into steam. The food doesn’t come in direct contact with the water, unlike boiling. This is done in a food steamer or simply in a wok. This cooking technique has been in practice for 5000 years and is one of the healthiest and most natural ways of all the conventional cooking methods.

The water is heated until it reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit and then it starts to create steams. Water is boiled at 212 degrees Fahrenheit which is the height temperate at which the food is cooked. A pot and a steamer basket are the only two things required to cook food in this method. In the pot, a small amount of water is added, which keeps boiling to create steam. The food ingredient is placed in the basket, which is suspended above the liquid. The pot is then covered with a lid, which doesn’t allow the hot steam to escape, and it circulates through the pot and cooks the food evenly and quickly.

Apart from steaming in a steamer or a pot, you can also steam cook in the oven and microwave and get a similar steam-cooked food. Preheat the oven while you prepare other things. Arrange the food items on a steaming pan. Add a little amount of water to a pot and heat it until it comes to a boil. Pour water into a baking pan and place the steaming pan on top of it. Make sure that the steaming pan doesn’t touch the hot water. Cover it with foil wrap very well so that the steam doesn’t come out. Put it in the oven and set time according to the food ingredients you are steaming. Take it out from the oven, when cooking is done, and very carefully remove the foil wrap.

Steam cooking has quite a lot of benefits. Some of them are:

HEALTHY

Food retains all its nutrients. In many vegetables, water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and folate are found in abundance and tends to get damage when they come in direct contact with heat and water.

Steaming keeps the vegetables and the food ingredients separated from hot water, which helps them retain most of their nutrients. It’s a fat-free cooking technique which means it requires no kind of fat or oil. Unlike boiling, steaming requires minimal salt, and salt increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. When compared to other cooking techniques, steaming is a lot healthier and safe for our health.

TASTE AND LOOKS

The food retains its color, texture, and shape due to its no direct contact with extreme heat or hot water. The food remains its moisture without it becoming waterlogged. Steamed vegetables stay crisp and vibrant instead of becoming limp and mushy. Fish, chicken or any kind of meat don’t dry out or become hard during stream cooking. Steamed foods look good and are tender, moist, and delicious.

BOOSTS ANTIOXIDANTS

Unlike other cooking methods, steam cooking doesn’t break down the cells within foods, which increases some antioxidants that are beneficial for our body. Steam cooking retains antioxidants such as flavonoids, anthocyanins, and glucosinolates, which do not get damaged by heat. Antioxidants help to remove all harmful substances from our bodies.

RETAINS FLAVOUR

Cooking vegetables using other methods might make them dull and lose it’s flavoring, while steam cooking helps to lock in flavors. This method efficiently packs different flavors into food. If you add some natural flavor-enhancing ingredients to the food while steaming it, it tastes exceptionally good. Some flavor-enhancing elements are thyme, rosemary, basil, lemon slices, onion, lime or orange zest, sesame oil, hazelnut oil, garlic, and many more.

QUICK AND EASY

Steam cooking method is one of the easiest and fastest cooking techniques. All you need to boil water and place the food on a steaming pan, cover it and let the steam do its magic. It’s that simple and easy. It’s hassle-free and doesn’t take up much time to cook. Also, it requires very few utensils.

VERSATILE

Apart from vegetables, a wide variety of foods can be cooked using steaming techniques like fish, chicken, meat, rice, dumplings, pudding, potatoes, and many more. It’s also a great way of reheating food without altering its taste, texture, or flavors.

PERFECT FOR DELICATE FOODS

Steam cooking is most suited for delicate foods like vegetables, kinds of seafood, fish, and desserts, which can be ruined in extreme heat. Using the steaming method, you can quickly cook them without damaging their taste or appearance.

KINDS OF STEAM-COOKED FOODS

There’s a wide variety of food that can be prepared using the steam cooking method. Bread, buns and rolls, cakes, confectionery and sweets, custards, dumplings, momos, meatballs, and steamed clams, different kinds of puddings, rice cakes, and a lot more can be cooked using steam cooking method. There’s more you can cook using the steaming process. Some Indian steam-cooked foods are Idli, vada, dhokla, ada, puttu, steamed chicken, bhapa aloo, patra, and so on. All of these foods are super tasty and healthy and require very little to no oil.