Most likely you've heard of bamboo steamers. But like many people, you may not be sure what they really do. How do you use a meatball steamer? And yes, do you really need to have one in your kitchen
Why do you need to have a bamboo vaporizer in your kitchen?
Honestly, with so many other kitchen gadgets and appliances in your kitchen, do you really need one more to take up space?
A bamboo steamer is a relatively inexpensive addition to your kitchen cabinet and is really an essential piece for people who want an easy and convenient option for cooking home-cooked meals in a way that preserves the taste, texture, minerals and nutrients of their food.
The truth is, once you've tried a real bamboo steamer, you'll wonder how you ever cooked without it.
What's the difference between a metal, plastic and bamboo steamer?
Many stainless steel cookware sets usually come with a metal steamer included (similar to a strainer but with a flat bottom).
To use, the pan is filled with water and the steamer fits snugly on top.
Once the water comes to a boil, the food is placed inside the metal steamer and the lid is placed on top to close in the steam, which will cook the food (usually the vegetables) inside.
Your choice of steam for cooking vegetables will not depend as much on the materials. However, the traditional way to steam is to use a Chinese steamer.
The concept of cooking with a bamboo steamer is somewhat similar. A wide pan, or wok, is partially filled with about 2 inches of water and at medium heat, without the steamer on top or any type of cover, allow the water to simmer (don't let it boil). Place the steamer, with the lid on top, over the pan. The simmering water will cook (lightly) the food in the bamboo steamer. The time it takes to steam will depend on the particular food.
It is important to observe the water level in the tray/wok (using either a bamboo or metal steamer) so that it does not dry out (add more water if necessary).
There is much discussion about the differences (if any) between a stainless steel steamer (used with a lid and pan) and a bamboo steamer (often used with a wok or other wide type container).
While a metal pan can heat water and trap steam faster and possibly even more efficiently, the ultimate goal of steam cooking is not speed; overcooking is so easy to do in a metal container that it gets hot from all sides and defeats most of the purpose of using a steamer to cook in a healthier way.
Have you ever felt that your food had an aftertaste from the metal pots you cook in? Well, that may not really be your imagination! According to this Cooks Illustrated article, when certain ingredients are cooked in metal pans, such as aluminum or unflavored cast iron, small amounts of the metal molecules can leach into the food. These small amounts are not toxic, but they will add an unwanted and long-lasting taste to your food.
There are also electric vaporizers on the market, but a bamboo vaporizer is a better option for those who prefer to stay away from plastic and instead opt for natural, environmentally friendly materials.