When we think of the benefits of steamingEither we recreate a diet dish based on vegetables, chicken or boiled fish, or else the most traveling minds associate it with the street markets of the Far East, where spicy meats of the most unsuspected animals are cooked, din – sum , bao breads and of course the basmati rice.
What you should keep in mind when cooking with the microwave so as not to spoil the food
But the truth is that steaming has been present in human culture Almost from as ancient times as the roasting fire, and only the preeminence of beef in Western cuisine explains its lesser presence in Europe.
Because the benefits of this cooking technique are numerousFrom a purely dietetic point of view, as well as from the point of view of flavors and textures, since the direct fire does not intervene, the cooked food is much closer to its structure. Here are the main ones.
10 benefits of steaming
1. Food does not pervert its texture: it is due to the fact that when cooked in an atmosphere saturated with humidity, the product does not dehydrate and keeps all its juice inside.
2. Much less nutrients are lost: In addition, the meat cells tend to break less as the temperature does not exceed 100ºC, which respects the tissues and they retain the cellular juices. For this reason, cooking meats with a high excess of water, such as beef, sheep, etc., is not recommended.
3. Heat sensitive vitamins are preserved: at a temperature not exceeding 100ºC the vitamins that are destroyed by heat –C, A and carotenoids, E, B5, folic acid, B1 and K– do not suffer and can reach our stomach intact.
4. Cooks without heated oils or added fats: When cooking without oil, you avoid the intake of extra fats that, in addition, are usually denatured by heat.
5. More flavor potency: being a kitchen at low temperature, the flavors caused by certain chemical compounds, like vitamins, are fully preserved. In addition, since the food is not immersed in water, it does not release juices to it.
6. The formation of carcinogenic substances is avoided: these, such as furans, acrylamides or benzopyrenes, are created in the combustion of organic matter at high temperatures, something that does not happen in steam cooking, which creates much less free radicals than direct fire.
7. Sodium addition is better controlled: Whether added before cooking or afterwards, sodium –the recommended daily amount of salt– is not a good idea on the food or in the cooking water, but we need much less to enhance the flavor of the food, since that this is very well preserved.
8. Food is better preserved: as there is no destruction of organic matter or release or condensation of juices, the food is kept dry in its outer layer and juicy in the interior. This makes it difficult for microorganisms to enter that can eventually thrive. This does not, of course, exempt from storing food in the fridge,
9. Post-cleaning is much less cumbersome: a non-nutritional but practical advantage. Precisely the absence of dry juices prevents incrustations on surfaces that are so difficult to remove.
10. The rice is dry and loose: Because it is cooked with ambient steam but not wet, rice captures only the water it needs to hydrate and does not release starch to the outside that can make it sticky.
What can I cook and what can’t
Usually, mammalian meats do not work wellAlthough some parts of the pork, such as the loin, are very dry, they can be steamed. That is, they give good delicacies poultry meats, blue fish –The white also, but if the loin is very thick it can tend to fall apart–, some cuts of the pork or the stew meats. It can even be tested with more rebellious parts such as the ox or cow tail.
And of course, all kinds of vegetables and tubers, although not leafy vegetables, which in steam blanching can lose their texture and release part of their juices since spinach, collard greens or borage require little time. A good trick to cook these is to put them freshly washed, and without drying, in a dry and closed pot and heat them over low heat for five to seven minutes.
Too the seafood is very good steamed, especially the one that does not require spices, such as mussels, prawns, prawns, it is even spider crabs or lobsters and lobsters.
But, in this case, each species requires a specific cooking time and even, in the case of crustaceans, a previous peeling that facilitates the work of the steam. Spider crab or lobsters and lobster may require removing the head from the abdomen and peeling the abdomen.
As for what does not give good results to the steam, we can count the beef, but also the puff pastry and in general everything that requires it to be crunchy.
Four electric steamers to get you started in steaming
Although with a strainer and a pot with a lid we can steam cook, today there are more sophisticated, and even cheaper, gadgets that do it more efficiently. If we are romantics, we can try a bamboo steamer, Asian-style, although we must know that they are not especially cheap and their duration is highly conditioned by the quality of the fiber.
We have other alternatives of greater durability and efficiency that are surely also used in Southeast Asia, Korea, China and Japan. We bring you three models to get you started and another one in case you already have experience and want something more professional.
It is a steamer from the Spanish brand Orbegozo at a very affordable price: 31 euros. It consists of three stackable containers with a total capacity of nine liters. The food is prepared on tiered floors and the containers are made of bisphenol-BPA-free plastic.
In addition, it incorporates an audible alert and light indicators, as well as a timer to reach the right cooking point. It accepts a 1.5 liter load of water in its base and is easy to clean and store, since the containers can be put in the dishwasher and later assembled together. More details of the product in this link.
It is an 88 W electric steamer, which has a 60 minute timer, although it does not program according to the type of food. The base is made of stainless steel, with a water level indicator and two lateral water inlets for easy refilling during cooking, since sometimes we run out of water before time.
It also has three transparent stackable containers to cook different types of food simultaneously, with a capacity of three liters each, a special bowl for cooking rice and a lid. All of these containers are BPA free and dishwasher safe.
It also offers a protection system against overheating by means of a pilot light that comes on if the temperature reached is excessive. And also a protection system against dry heating, which turns off the steamer if it does not already have water. Its price is 38 euros. More details of the product in this link.
Although its price is officially 63 euros, it can often be found in offers for just over 30 euros. It is very similar to those described above, with the reliability of the brand it represents. It has 800 W of power and also three containers of three liters each that can be placed on floors.
Likewise, it has two side inlets to add water during cooking, a 60-minute timer and automatic shutdown if the base runs out of water. Among other notable aspects is its weight, less than a kilo, which makes it easily transportable. In addition, the containers can be placed in the dishwasher. More details of the product in this link.
It’s another league. Their 141 euros The price is justified in the metallic structure of its containers, with greater capacity and that allow to keep food hot, as well as in its LCD panel that allows programming the cooking times or the temperature at which we want to keep food warm.
It has 900 W of power and the base is made of stainless steel. It also offers two separate adjustable cooking zones to avoid mixing of flavors, each with a two-liter capacity. Its weight is 3 kilos, but above all its exterior design stands out. More details of the product in this link.
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