Steaming Basics

Appears in
Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

By Richard Sax

Published 1997

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With steaming, a much lower percentage of nutrients are leeched out of the food than with blanching or boiling. Be sure the lid fits tightly when you steam; you may want to first cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil and then cover with the lid. Avoid opening during cooking—you don’t want to lower the cooking temperature and you could get a nasty steam bum. Pour enough liquid into the pan to a depth of about 1 inch—in any event, the liquid should come no closer than 1 inch to the bottom of the steamer basket. Foods can be steamed over a flavored liquid such as a broth or over water with a few thin slices of aromatics such as ginger, garlic, lemon, or lime in it. Be sure the water doesn’t boil away during the steaming. If necessary, carefully pour in more boiling water without wetting the food.