The bamboo steamer holds a special place in the hearts of Hongkongers. After all, it’s been used in this part of the world for centuries. More specifically, bamboo steamers are used for steaming fish, dumplings, vegetables and everything in between. And although it looks like a fairly simple concept, there’s a ton of hard work that goes into making these bad boys, especially when they used to be handcrafted.
While most bamboo steamers are now manufactured in mainland China, the traditional technique involved a series of labor-intensive processes. To give you an idea- first, the craftsman would take the bamboo plant and get rid of its skin before soaking it in water. Doing so made the wood more malleable. He would then bend it into a circle to create the desired structure, and then hammer nails into it to maintain its shape. The modern bamboo steamers may be constructed in a fairly different way, but they offer the same perks as their traditional versions. With the best bamboo steamer, individuals can prepare nutritious and delicious dishes in minutes.
The Best Bamboo Steamer
What’s the Best Bamboo Steamer?
You can now impress your family, colleagues and friends with an authentic Asian meal prepared in one of these handy and decorative bamboo steamers. With these kitchenware, you can cook meats and veggies without adding the unhealthy and unnecessary fat. Plus, you can infuse your dishes with tasty flavors.
#1 Joyce Chen 26-0013
Are you planning to make some tasty dim sum right from the comfort of your home? If you are, the Joyce Chen bamboo steamer by the renowned restaurateur Joyce Chen is the best kitchen tool. The steamer fits perfectly inside a wok or over a stockpot. Regardless of what you decide to use it with, the woven bamboo basket will make it easier to make steamed dishes.
The Joyce Chen is a 2-tier bamboo steamer, meaning that you can prepare two different dishes at once. Plus, it comes with domed lid that traps moisture efficiently.
#2 VonShef Premium 2 Tier
Made exclusively using bamboo wood, VonShef Preium steamer is the perfect addition to your arsenal of kitchen appliances. It’s sturdy and has a water-resistant coating, enabling you to make the tastiest dishes.
Contrary to boiling, the bamboo steamer with a two-tier design helps to preserve not just the food’s flavor but also a higher proportion of vital nutrients including vitamins and minerals. Also included in the package are two pairs of bamboo chopsticks and about 50 wax papers to make your culinary experience complete.
#3 Bamboo Steamer by BambooMasters
Some people shy away from buying bamboo steamers because they’re not familiar with the steaming technique to start with. If you’re sailing in this boat, this 3 piece Bamboo Masters has got you covered. Not only do you get a bamboo steamer but also a free e-book that has all the information you need to get started; from steaming recipes to a step-by-step guide on how to use the steamer. There’s even a cheat-sheet for the steaming times.
The steamer is hand-made using natural bamboo and it works well with any pan, wok or pot that is smaller than 10 inches. You can use it to steam a variety of vegetables and meat.
#4 10 Inch Premium Organic Bamboo Steamer Basket by Harcas
The Premium Organic bamboo steamer is best-suited for big families that have to prepare large amounts of food at once. The steamer is 10 inches so it will accommodate a substantial amount of food. However, it’s not too big and it fits well over any wok or pot that is 11.5 inches. What’s more, this steamer is microwave-safe.
This steamer by Harcas is handcrafted from quality bamboo material. It has also been strengthened with stainless steel bands to provide maximum durability. Another perk of this steamer is that it’s really easy to clean and store. All you need to do is to rinse after use and you’re good to go.
#5 Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen
One of the reasons why people love bamboo steamers is because of their affordable pricing. For under $20, Helen Chen’s bamboo steamer is a perfect example of just how affordable these kitchen tools are. And the best part is that this appliance is not just good for steaming foods. It can also be used for reheating.
It’s 10-inches in size, so it will work well with standard pots, pans and woks. Alternatively, you can also buy an adapter ring by the same manufacturer although this is sold separately.
Made exclusively from bamboo, this steamer comes with a tight-fitting lid that traps stream to provide a quick and effective cooking. The only thing you should be cautious about is that it should washed only by hand.
What is a Bamboo Steamer?
A bamboo steamer is an oriental cookware that is commonly used in making Asian cuisine. It’s made of several round-shaped trays that are stacked upon each other, and then placed on top of a pan with boiling water. This boiling water serves to steam food placed on the trays. The base of each tray contains multiple strips of bamboo, which are formed into a lattice pattern. Gaps are left in between these strips to enable the steam cook the food evenly. Initially, the bamboo steamers were made of bamboo but with the modern versions, steel and aluminum are the most common materials used in making these steamers. On average, the size of a bamboo steamer ranges between 8 and 10 inches. And although most of them have two layers, you may come across some that have many more layers.
What Dishes Can I Cook in a Bamboo Steamer?
You can prepare a variety of foods using a bamboo steamer, ranging from steamed dumplings to beef short ribs, steamed shrimp and steamed chicken. The steaming technique of preparing food offers a great deal of versatility. It also helps you to prepare healthy foods since no fat is required. Also, this steaming process helps to retain vitamins and other nutrients.
Which Vegetables Can I Cook in a Bamboo Steamer?
Other than using the bamboo steamer to make main dishes, it can also be used to prepare vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, pak choy, cauliflower and asparagus.
5 Reasons to Use a Bamboo Steamer to Cook Your Vegetables
For decades, Asians have been using bamboo steamers to prepare numerous dishes including poultry, meat, seafood and fish. Today, you will come across this cookware in a majority of U.S. households. Bamboo steamers are used in conjunction with a wok or pot. The wok is filled with water up to a particular level where it reaches the base of the steamer and starts cooking the contents. If you’re still on the fence about purchasing a bamboo steamer, here are five reasons to persuade you.
Steaming Vegetables is Healthy
The most common technique of preparing vegetables is boiling them in an instant pot. However, it’s not the healthiest as it allows some of the nutrients to escape. By steaming vegetables, you are guaranteed that none of the nutrients present are going to escape, and by extension, the flavor is also retained. But the best part is that steaming does not require the use of any cooking oil. So, you can make tasty, nutrient-rich foods without worrying about the tons of calories that come with processed fats.
Bamboo Steamers Are Fairly Inexpensive
Bamboo steamers are also some of the cheapest cookware on the market. What’s more, they are readily available whether you choose to buy them online or in your local stores. You can find a bamboo steamer for as low as $10. The high-end versions cost about $50. When purchasing one of these kitchen tools, ensure that it’s made of quality materials and has a lid that fits snugly.
Hate Soggy Veggies? Use a Bamboo Steamer!
Nothing tastes worse than overcooked, soggy vegetables. If your veggies always end up in this state, a bamboo steamer can be a handy investment. Bamboo material has a natural ability to absorb moisture, so it’s able to absorb any excess steam. This way, only a small amount of moisture accumulates on the side, and this helps to prevent the condensed water from dripping into your vegetables.
Bamboo Steamers Are Efficient
Perhaps the greatest benefit of bamboo steamers is that one can cook multiple dishes at once. Since these steamers come with several trays stacked on each other, you’ll be able to prepare a variety of foods simultaneously. Steamers with 2 or 3 layers are the most common although you may find some that have five layers.
Bamboo is Eco-Friendly
Investing in bamboo steamers does not just help you stay healthy, but it’s also good for the environment. Bamboo is a naturally-occurring and renewable resource, and it does not take too long to grow. Unlike other types of trees, bamboo grows back pretty fast after it’s been cut.
What to look for?
There are two main varieties of steamers: metal and bamboo steamers. Each of this has its fair share of pros and cons. For instance, metal steamers offer unparalleled durability but they also cost a fortune. So, if you have a small budget, a bamboo steamer is a better option. But other than budget, there are several other factors to examine before purchasing a bamboo steamer.
Bamboo steamers are available in different sizes including 10-inch, 12-inch and 14-inch steamers. The various steamer sizes are designed for the differently-sized pots. Another variation between these steamers lies in the number of tiers. Some bamboo steamers have two, others have three or more tiers. Before going for a particular bamboo steamer, ensure that it’s the right size for your pot and that it has the right number of layers.
Another factor you’ll want to look at is the storage space you’re willing to set aside for the bamboo steamer. Since some bamboo steamers can occupy a big space, check your storage space before purchasing.
It’s a no brainer that bamboo steamers are made of bamboo. However, these steamers differ in the quality of bamboo used in their construction. To get the best value from your investment, go for a steamer made of quality bamboo material.
The amount of time you spend steaming a particular dish depends on several aspects such as the size of steamer, type of food and quantity. For instance, it takes a shorter amount of time to steam fish than it does for rice and other kinds of meats that need time to first soften.
Type of Lid
To some extent, the steaming process relies on the efficiency of the lid it comes with. If the lid fits tightly, the steamer will be able to accumulate more heat and hence cook the food faster.
Tips for Using a Bamboo Steamer:
- You should set the bamboo steamer in such a way that it does not come into contact with water. This means that you shouldn’t fill the pot or wok to the brim as once the water boils, it’s going to rise.
- You should ensure that the pan or pot doesn’t run dry. So even though you’re not supposed to fill it to the brim, you need not put such a small amount of water that cannot cook your food to the end.
- Place the food contents you plan to cook on the bamboo steamer basket prior to placing it on the pan. This is safer than adding contents to the basket when it’s already atop the pot of boiling water.
- Also, you need not place the steamer on the pot or wok before the water reaches boiling point.
- You should line the bottom of the steamer so that the food contents don’t stick. You can use commercial liners, greaseproof papers or natural options such as lettuce and cabbage leaves.
- If you’re steaming multiple dishes simultaneously, ensure that the food that takes the longest to cook is on the bottom tray.
- To extract flavors, you can add herbs or spices to the boiling water, which will then infuse during cooking.
- Bamboo steamers are not dishwasher safe. These kitchen tools can only be washed by hand and then air dried.
How to clean a bamboo steamer?
Getting a quality bamboo steamer is just half the battle. You also need to take good care of it if you want it to last a long time. Here are the steps to follow when cleaning your bamboo steamer:
- Start by removing any food particles or bits from the steamer. You can use a wooden scraper or chop stick to get rid of these.
- Next, brush off stubborn food residues using a soft nylon brush
- Run hot water on the steamer to rinse it
- Leave it to dry before storing
At times, you’ll notice that no matter how hard you clean the steamer, some smells fail to dissipate. For such instances, we recommend steaming the steamer basket upside down for no less than five minutes. Afterward, scrub using a solution of vinegar and water then steam for another 5 minutes. Lastly, run hot water on it and air dry it.
If you love cooking using the tried-and-true techniques of the culture from which the food originated, then a bamboo steamer should be at the top of your list. However, the beauty of this cooking appliance lies not just in its aesthetic attributes but in the end result of the food being cooked. With a bamboo steamer, you’re guaranteed that all the vital nutrients in the food won’t be lost. Plus, steaming technique cooks food pretty fast.