6 Steps to use a Collapsible Steamer Basket
- Select a pot according to the size of the steamer Check it by placing the basket before starting the cooking process.
- Add clean water to the pot you are cooking in. The amount of water (typically 1-2 inches at the pot’s base) depends on the size of the pot and the type of food you are steaming. Ensure that the steamer’s bottom is not in contact with water in the pot, as this will boil the food instead of steaming it.
- Remove the pot after checking the water level and boil the water. You can add some salt to speed up the boiling process. Letting the water simmer before placing the steamer gives a better taste to your meal.
- Place the steamer in the pot by holding the handle, and wear cooking gloves. Be careful when you open the pot, as there is steam inside.
- Cover the pot and let it steam the contents. The time depends on what you are cooking. Vegetables usually take 5-15 minutes, meat 10-30 minutes, seafood 5-15 minutes, rice 10-30 minutes, and eggs get steamed properly in 8-15 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and test your food. You can remove or leave the steamer inside to keep the food hot. Leaving the food inside won’t steam it further because the water has stopped boiling.
What are Collapsible Steamer Baskets?
Collapsible steamer baskets use steam for cooking foods. They are usually made from two different materials: stainless steel and silicon. They usually have a non-detachable base that they stand on, but a collapsible design allows the entire unit to fit inside a pot it is cooking in. Their panels open and close like the petals of flowers.
Many stovetop stainless steel and silicone steamers have a tripod base that holds the steamer about 1-2 inches above the bottom of the cooking pot. When not in use, these feet fold up, and the steamer lies flat. Collapsible steamers come in various sizes, with most holding between one and three quarts of food at a time.
Benefits of using a Collapsible Steamer Basket
- It is an excellent alternative to other types of steamers. Because of their foldable and expandable design, they can easily fit into pots, pans, and pressure cookers of various sizes.
- After using a collapsible steamer basket, it collapses into a very compact size that takes up very little space in the cupboard.
- They are ready to use as there is no assembly required to make them functional.
- Most of the collapsible steamers are dishwasher safe, making them easy to clean.
- They are lightweight and economical too.
- Collapsible steamer baskets are portable. You can even use them on a cooking grill, but you will need a pot.
Tips and tricks to Steam Cook your food the right way
- Always add the correct amount of water to the cooking pot. The water must not touch the steamer’s bottom. Most collapsible steamers are 1-2 inches high. So, 1-2 inches of water is perfect for steaming food.
- Too much water will boil the food, and too little will not produce steam. It will burn the pot and destroy your food.
- The food tastes better when you boil the water first. Many people throw everything in the pot and then turn on the stove resulting in improper steaming.
- Never steam your food more than the recommended time in the recipe. You can turn off the heat and leave the food inside, but extra steaming time overcooks the food.
- You can add some salt to shorten the boiling time.
- Add herbs, chicken or vegetable broth, sliced garlic, and lemongrass to flavor your food. Please note doing this may increase the boiling time. Hence, always place the steamer inside the pot when the water starts boiling.
- Check that the cooking pot’s lid is airtight. You don’t want steam to escape and leave food uncooked at some side.
- Prepare your food before you steam. Add herbs, spices, or garlic to vegetables and marinate meat well before you start steaming.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is steam cooking?
Steam cooking is a form of moist-heat cooking. It is a combination of both boiling water and natural steam. It does not require any additional heat sources, making it an economical way to cook. The food cooks by coming in contact with the hot steam that rises, then condensing on the food’s surface.
It generally takes less time to finish a dish this way because there are no dry sections of the food, which leads to more even cooking times for all areas of the dish.
At what temperature water turns into steam?
Water turns to steam when it reaches the boiling point, 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level.
What are the advantages of steam cooking?
- Steam cooking produces healthier meals as you don’t have to add additional oils or fats. Food is marinated before steaming to give it flavor and taste.
- Steam cooks food from all sides, allowing even cooking in less time.
- It retains all the nutrients and vitamins in the food. It also ensures that food is not overcooked or burned and makes food soft by retaining moisture.
- You can add multiple veggies to the steamer without the fear of taste mixing.
Do collapsible steamer baskets come with handles?
Yes. Collapsible steamer baskets come with a handle that lets you place/remove the basket in the pot. The design and shape of the handle vary from one model to another.
How silicone-made collapsible steamers look like?
Many silicone-made collapsible steamers look similar to their stainless steel counterparts. However, some of them have a different collapsible design. Rather than opening and closing like a flower, they are raised and collapsed vertically. Other silicone-made collapsible steamers are called microwave steamers. They don’t have feet but are raised and collapsed in the same vertical direction and have flat bases that come in contact with microwave’s plate.