Cooking food in water vapour under
varying degrees of pressure.
As a method it can be
often used instead of boiling where it has the advantage of not leaving
items in need of draining; there is no liquid movement to break up food.
Food can also be steamed
under pressure with a resultant increase in cooking speed and
preservation of vitamin content.
Methods of Steaming:
1. Food can be steamed
above a saucepan of water where the food is heated by convected
2. In an pressureless steamer with little or no pressure
3. In a pressurised steamer where the temperature rises to 115-117ºc
• No cross flavours, two
or more vegetables can be cooked at the same time
• Food is still and less likely to break up (unless overcooked!)
• Fewer water soluble vitamins B and C are lost
• Loss of vitamins through contact by air is reduced
• Convenient because does not require straining
• Loading and unloading is easy
• Rapid cooking allows food to be cooked immediately prior to service
• Acids are retained and
some vegetables are turned a dull colour as a result.
• Care with timing must be taken to avoid overcooking of some delicate
Types of food that can
Vegetables such as carrots, swede, potatoes, parsnip, beans etc can all
be steamed. Remember green vegetables can turn dull in colour. Prepare
by lightly seasoning and placing on perforated racks. Steaming is a good
method if you want to make Sauté potatoes, steamed in their skin then
peeled if required and cut into dice or slices and shallow fried.
Many fish can be steamed whole or in fillets, any sauce being made
separately. The fish is prepared and lightly seasoned and sometimes
flavoured with lemon juice or wine.
Meat, Offal and poultry
The same cuts of meat and poultry can be used for steaming as boiling
and cooking takes about the same length of time; the method is healthy
but tends to produce a rather flavourless end product that needs to be
served with a flavoursome sauce!
Savoury puddings are
ideal for steaming such as Steak and Mushroom, Steak & Kidney, Steak
Kidney and Oyster.
Rice Pudding, Steamed Sponge Puddings, Christmas pudding, Jam Roly Poly,
are some of a few steamed desserts.
Beware: steam is boiling hot, sometimes hotter.
Pressurised containers must be depressurised prior to opening
Take extreme care with hot steaming equipment
If using a commercial steamer use the door as a shield when opening
Check manufacturer’s instructions when using high pressure steamers and