Steaming is one of the healthiest cooking methods. As food is not immersed in water, nutrients that can leach into water are preserved and food cooks without the need for fats. This is an energy-efficient method, which uses only a small amount of water. Water expands enormously when it turns to steam, and contains energy called “latent heat” , released when it strikes the cool food.
Here food is positioned above water rather than in it, and heat is transferred to the food via steam. This cooking is best for vegetables, fish steaks and fillets, chicken breasts, breakfast dishes like puttu, rice flour dumplings, idli etc. If using a steamer with more than one tier, place meat or fish on the bottom tier to avoid dripping onto food below.
Heat a small amount of water in the bottom pan of steamer. When heated, the movement of water molecules quickens, energy increases, and the water temperature rises to 100°C. When the water starts boiling, steam is produced and gets distributed evenly. Place the vegetables in the steamer basket above the water. When the steam comes in contact with the vegetables, it cools and condenses back to water releasing vast amounts of latent heat. Then remove the steamer basket from the pan and take off the lid to prevent the vegetables from becoming too soft.
Steaming can be done with minimum amount of water as rising steam condenses back into droplets. Food in a steamer should be loosely packed so that steam can circulate around it freely. Cooking time is slightly longer than boiling as food is surrounded by a film of condensed water. Steaming preserves sweetness and texture of food. Steaming can also retain the vitamins and minerals in food.
So, choose steamed cooked food in your diet and lead a happy and healthy life.