I could not think of a better blog post for this season. Why? Because the holidays are over and along with them all the sweet – and savory – delicacies, the feasts, and -in general- everything that “ruined” your diet. So, in order to get your diet back on track, I thought of talking to you about a cooking method that for many seems… not so sexy! Which is it? Steaming! Let’s not lie. The benefits of this particular cooking method to our food are plenty. The main one? That it allows our food to retain - to a much greater degree - both its flavor and its valuable nutrients. In addition, steaming keeps fats away (unless we decide otherwise) and helps us create wonderful dishes in no time. So, use the power of steam to create delicious healthy dishes. You will find the "why" and the "how" in the following lines…
Why to cook with steam?
Because, this way, we can provide more vitamins, minerals, and trace elements for our body, since the cooking time is shorter, while the whole process is more "friendly" to food, as well as… to our stomach. You see, foods retain their fluids (or at least a large portion of them) and become tasty and juicy without us having to add extra fat. This, in turn, makes them lighter and therefore much more digestible.
Cooking without mistakes and…mishaps
The power of steam gives us this cooking method. What does that mean? Firstly, our foods do not need special “treatment” until cooking begins. Secondly, while they are cooking, we do not need to be on top of them, since they are not going to burn. Finally, the cooking time is considerably reduced, since -in many cases- the process is completed in a very short time (from 5 minutes to half an hour)!
Which foods can we cook with steam?
Let’s start with greens and vegetables. Everything can be steamed easily, quickly, deliciously and - above all - healthy. What about the cooking times? They vary depending on the type of vegetable. They start at 5 minutes and can reach 15-20 minutes, which also depends on whether we like them… crunchy or not. In addition, fish (they take from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on their thickness, while for a whole fish we will need about 15 minutes), seafood (we estimate about 5 minutes for shrimp), as well as chicken, turkey (both ready in about 15-20 minutes) and, of course, our fillets (both pork and beef, which take 15-20 minutes to be done). The main requirement for effective cooking and its duration? To not open and close the lid of your pot constantly, as all the steam will be lost (and you’ll have to do it all over again).
How do we cook with steam?
There are two ways: The first is, of course, with a food steamer. An electric appliance that allows us to cook not just one, but many more meals, and all come out just as delicious, juicy, and nutritious. In the market, you can find various models which usually have from two to four different levels, as well as some additional sections for other foods, such as rice and eggs.
The second way is more… complicated. What does that mean? You just need a stainless-steel colander that you can place inside your pot. The main requirement? That the utensils fit perfectly in your pot, so that the lid can be sealed completely. Of course, you can find pots that contain all these steamer baskets in their equipment, so to avoid experimentation.
Caution: It is important to keep a distance between the boiling water (which can even be flavored with various herbs) and the steamer basket or colander, so that steam can be created inside the utensil.
After all this, give me one reason not to try steaming. There isn’t one! I look forward to your comments, ideas, and -of course- photos from the recipes you will prepare!