As today’s society grows more health conscious, you may be looking for new and inventive ways to cook and enjoy healthy food. If you weren’t already aware, Japanese cuisine can be extremely healthy and nutritious. Additionally, cooking using a bamboo steamer is both a fun and healthy means of preparing a meal. Steaming the foods will deliver rich, bright flavors and help to retain many of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
What are Bamboo Steamers?
Bamboo steamers can be found in a variety of sizes in nearly any Asian supermarket. If you cannot find one near you, you can also order them on Amazon. A traditional bamboo steamer is actually sold in tiers — you can use one, two or three levels to evenly cook different parts of the meal. Constructed of a circular frame, each tier will have a slotted bottom for the steam to pass through, and a domed lid will cover the top. Steam can pass freely through the several tiers, and the bamboo helps to retain heat while also absorbing excess moisture.
How to Use the Bamboo Steamer
If you have a wok of a suitable size, you have everything you need to cook with a bamboo steamer. Place the steamer into the wok and observe how deep it sits. Remove the steamer and add water to the wok until the water is just below where the steamer sits. Then you can put the first tier of the steamer back into the wok and add the food. You can place the food directly on the bamboo, or use lettuce leaves, parchment paper or even a ceramic plate.
Note: Placing the food on items other than the bamboo keeps the bamboo from absorbing the flavors of the food.
Add additional tiers of food if you are cooking more than one item, such as vegetables on one tier and fish on another. To add even more flavor, you can add various herbs to the water, or perhaps some mirin (Japanese rice wine). You’ll be able to find a wide range of bamboo steamer recipes online.
Note: When cooking different items on different tiers, leave the items that will take the longest to cook on the bottom, so that you can easily remove the top tiers when those food items are finished cooking.
In conclusion, steaming your foods also helps to preserve the natural, fresh flavors of the various ingredients. You won’t need to use fatty oils, making steaming perfect for fat-free diets as well.