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Methods Of Steaming

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Steaming is a method of cooking food in steam from boiling water, in this process no water  touches the food. The food may either be in direct contact with the steam, e.g. when wrapped and placed on a platform in the pot or hen the food is steamed in a colander: or it may be in indirect touch or contact with the steam – this happens when the food is put into a bowl before being steamed in a steamer.

Methods of steaming

1.       In a steamer. This has a bottom saucepan to hold the other and into the bottom pan. The food is placed in the pan. In some steamer the top pans are perforated to let in the steam. Others have just a single hole in a corner of the bottom of each pan through which the steam passes.

2.       In a colander. The water is put in a saucepan and the colander is fitted into the saucepan. The water does not touch the colander, which is tightly covered when the food is placed inside. Potatoes, spinach etc, may be steamed by this method.

3.       Between two plates which are placed over a saucepan of boiling water. This is suitable for fillets of fish and other thin pieces of food.

4.       In a basin placed in a saucepan with water coming half way up the basin in the pan. Suitable for puddings. The basin should stand on a false bottom and the saucepan must be covered.

5.       In a pot with platform, made of sticks of a suitable size. Sponge, loofahs, or corn stalks may be used instead of sticks to form the platform. The food is wrapped neatly in clean leaves, e.g. banana leaves are placed on the platform. The water is kept boiling just below the platform. The pot should be covered tightly to prevent the steam from escaping. African beans pudding, oleheh, moin-moin, African rice pudding, abala are suitable for the method.

Rules for steaming

1.       The water should be boiling before the food is put in. 

2.       The water should b kept boiling until the food is cooked. Refill with boiling water so as not to lower the temperature or the food will become heavy.
3.       Choose a pan with a tightly fitting lid to keep in the steam. Cover the food with greaseproof paper or clean leaves to prevent it from becoming sodden. Steaming takes about one-and-a-half times as long as boiling.

Advantages of steaming

1.       Steamed food is light and easily digestible. It is suitable for young children, invalids, or people with weak digestion.
2.       The food has a more delicate flavor and there Is no loss of food value in the water.
3.       It is a conservative method of cooking ; it is therefore nourishing.
4.       There is little risk of over cooking.
5.       Steaming is a labor-saving method of cooking. Two or three dishes may be cooked in the same steamer at the same time. For this reason also it is an economical method.

Disadvantage of steaming 


1.       Steaming is a low method of cooking.
2.       It is only suitable for soft or small pieces of food.
3.       It wastes fuel.
4.       Steamed food is tasteless and unattractive in appearance if it is not carefully seasoned or garnished (especially fish).

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