Steaming Basics

Make fresh-tasting foods every time.
8 Steps to Good Steaming
Prop the dish on metal lids so
that the steam circulates freely
around the dish.

1. It is important to have the proper amount of water in your wok or Dutch oven. If there's too much water, it may splatter and soak the food during steaming. However, if there's too little water, the wok may boil dry during the steaming process. When you add the water to the wok, make sure to leave 1 inch between the bottom of the steamer rack and the water. Verify the water level by placing the steamer rack in the wok. After you have the water level set, bring the water to boiling over high heat.

2. When using a wire steamer rack, make sure the wires are close enough together so the food does not slip through the openings. If the food is too small, try covering the steamer rack with aluminum foil and then punching small holes through it. Or, use a round wire cooling rack instead of a steamer rack.

3. Once the water is boiling, arrange the food on the steamer rack as directed in the recipe.

4. When a recipe requires a dish in addition to the steamer rack, choose one that is heatproof and is at least 1 inch smaller than the diameter of the steamer rack. If the dish covers all of the openings, place three or four metal jar lids on top of the steamer rack. Then place your dish atop the jar lids. This will help prop the dish up enough so the steam can flow underneath and circulate freely around the dish.

5. Sometimes recipes call for foods to be covered with foil. The foil protects the food from any steam that may condense and drip on the food during steaming.

6. When you place the lid on the wok, make sure it fits tightly so very little steam escapes. Check the fit of the lid before you start. If the food you are going to cook is too large for the lid to fit snugly, look for another lid with a better fit. Make sure the lid has a dome shape so the water doesn't condense and drip on the food.

7. Check the water under the steamer rack occasionally during steaming to make sure it hasn't boiled away. Add more boiling water as necessary.

8. Any time you remove the lid from a steaming wok, do so carefully. To avoid burning yourself, be sure to tilt the lid so the steam rises away from you.

Continued on page 2:  Equipment For Steaming