During traditional cooking, some part of the precious nutrients stays in the water we pour out.
The products, which are steamed contain higher level of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The vitamins, which are water-soluble, are the most prone to disappearance. While boiling decreases the level of vitamin C in vegetables by 70%, steaming causes the loss of 40%.
Other advantages of steaming include lack of necessity of adding fat and the possibility of preparing few different products at the same time. Moreover, when steaming, you can achieve higher temperature than during boiling. Thanks to that, the process of cooking is shorter.
Therefore, when using steaming- you can cook for shorter period of time and keep more nutrients. There is also less dishes to wash.
Steaming can be done with the use of a special utensil called steam cooker, but you can also use a special pot designed for such way of cooking, or a simple pot with sieve that you can put on that pot filled with boiling water. I don't recommend any experiments with plastic sieves, because they may lose their shape under the influence of high temperature.
You can cook by steaming vegetables, potatoes and rice. Some vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower fall apart and soak during simple boiling, that's why steaming them is a great alternative. Steaming is also recommended for all kinds of fish.
In order to give better taste to the vegetables or fish, you can add aromatic herbs to the boiling water.
It's possible to cook by steaming eggs and meat. Lean poultry is the best in this case.
Remember to chop the meat in even pieces before steaming.
It takes about 10-20 minutes to cook by steaming chicken breast (the smaller pieces, the shorter time of cooking. You can cook the whole chicken breast in 20 minutes).
Chicken legs require longer time of steaming, about 35-40 minutes.
Pork loin sliced in thin stripes needs about 15 minutes of steaming.
Fish can be steamed very fast, a thin fish fillet is ready after 5-10 minutes. But you should remember not to put one fillet on the other.
Frozen fish fillets have to be cooked longer, about 15 minutes.
Steamed shrimps are ready after 3-5 minutes.
Potatoes will need about 20-25 minutes in the steam cooker, if you chop them in smaller pieces: slice or dice. The whole, young jacket potatoes require about 40 minutes to become soft.
Courgette is ready after 5-7 minutes. You should cook caouliflower or string beans a bit longer. Those vegetables are ready after about 20-25 minutes of cooking.
Broccoli is ready faster than cauliflower. If you divide it into small florets, it is ready after 15 minutes.
You can also cook spinach by steaming. For fresh kind of spinach you will need about 10 minutes, and you should turn the leaves upside-down in the middle of the cooking time.
Fresh carrot needs 10 minutes, if you slice it. If you want to cook carrot without chopping it, you will need about 20 minutes, depending on its size.
When you use steaming, remember that the food cannot have any contanct with water and it should be placed at least 2.5cm above it.
Remember to put fish and meat at the bottom not to let the juice fall on other kinds of food.
The lid has to be well-fitted, so that the steam does not evaporate from the pot.
The water should not boil too much, it should only buzz.
You should watch if the water is still in the pot. It's an easy way to burn the pot and ruin the steamed food. If you notice that there's not enough water, pour some boiling water to the pot. Do not add cold water, because that's how you lower the temperature of the steam.
You should not add salt to the food before steaming, because it's easy to use too much of it. It's much better to add salt on the plate after the food is steamed.
Steaming is one of the healthiest ways of preparing your favourite meals. It's nothing new – for example in China they have used this kind of cooking for over 3,000 years.