Steaming Cooking Method

History of steaming

Steaming has always been given prime importance as it is used widely in Asian cuisines for the preparation of their staple food i.e. rice. The steam cooking process is used for decades for the instant cooking of food. In the 8th century, Chinese developed steamers by using cypress strips while Indians used to cook their primitive food made up of rice flour dumplings that are filled with grated coconut.

In the 17th century, Ibn-e-Batuta a famous traveler referred to the African steamed semolina. The history has led to many changes in the steaming procedures and has evolved immensely, at this moment.

Vegetables in stainless steel steamer basket

What is the Steaming Cooking Method?

Steaming is a primitive technique of cooking the food by exposing it to the steam produces from boiling water. The food is kept at a higher level above the boiling water and is covered with parchment paper which helps in keeping the moisture of the food.

The steam spreads and assist to cook the food by using gentle heat. Steaming can also be used for reheating any meat, fish, or fried items rather than heating them in the microwave oven. Say no to oil and trans fats! Steaming involves no usage of oil, butter or any kind of fats which makes it the best choice of keeping the flavor and texture intact.

A gentle process in which the food is kept far from the high temperature and boiling water, keeping it safer and healthier. Generally, steaming is the best and ideal trick for preparing the food that needs to be moist and soft instead of being crispy. These foods might include meat or poultry, fishes, or eggs, custards, and also vegetables like potatoes.

Various Steaming Ways: Cannot buy the modern, expensive steamers? Go for the simple ways and get your food steamed perfectly.

Saucepan filled with water- In this technique, the food is placed on a metal rack fitted in a saucepan. The saucepan is filled with boiling water while it remains below the food. The steam produced by the boiling water reaches the food and gives a gentle heat to cook it without the contact of water and the food. This is the easiest and primitive technique being used domestically, with no need for special steamers.

Pressure-less steamer- Counter or compartment steamers are the pressure-less steamers that can be used to steam the food. In pressure-less steamers, the food is subjected to the steam in the presence of normal atmospheric pressure at constant temperature i.e 212°F. However, the temperature drops with the increasing altitude that results in longer cooking times.

Pressurized steamer- Pressurized food steaming technique is the fastest cooking way that can be done by using a pressure cooker while maintaining a distance between the water and food. In these steamers, the steam is applied to the food under pressure at 5-50 lbs. per square inch.

Examples of steamed Foods

Various steamed recipes have been vogue across the globe while making has been further creating new innovative recipes of steamed foods as they are the healthy ones. A few of the top-rated scrumptious steam recipes are:

Various foods in steamers on a table
  • Steamed Spring rolls
  • Steamed prawns with garlic sauce
  • Honey/ lemon sponge cake
  • Thai steamed fish
  • Shaoxing drunken chicken
  • Steamed Tofu with pumpkin
  • Red beet smoothie
  • Banana pudding
  • Steamed Chinese rice chicken fillets
  • Steamed harvest bread

Steamed Tofu with pumpkin and prawns- Recipe

Let us get started with a tempting steamed recipe! Keep your sweat away and try this easiest and scrumptious recipe with a few common ingredients as follows:


  • 1 box tofu
  • 300gm ripe pumpkin
  • 3-4 tablespoon dried shrimps (soak, drain, and sauté)
  • 1/2 cup meat stock
  • 2 normal sized eggs
  • 1-2 teaspoon Soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Sesame oil/ olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Oil and water (as required)

For garnishing (optional)

  • Ebikko
  • Deep-fried shrimps
  • spring onions (chopped)
Steamed Tofu and mixed salad


  • Take a medium pan, pour 3 tablespoons of oil, and chopped garlic in it. Fry the garlic until it turns brown.
  • Blend the pumpkin in ½ cup of hot water and then add it in the pot with ½ cup of meat stock.
  • Add the salt and pepper in the mixture and stir it for about 10 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté the 3 tablespoons soaked dried shrimps until fragrant.
  • Take out 1 tablespoon and leave aside as garnishing.
  • Beat the eggs while adding soy sauce, sesame/ olive oil and pepper in it.
  • Take a low height porcelain plate and place the tofu in it and then pour the egg mixture around it.
  • Place the porcelain plate in a preheated steamer and steam the tofu for about 10-15 minutes.
  • As soon as the tofu is ready, pour the cooked pumpkin upon the tofu.
  • Fry the dried shrimps in 2 tablespoons of oil for garnishing the tofu.
  • Sauteed bacon bites, grated garlic, and chopped spring onions can also be used for garnishing.
  • This recipe is served hot for 4-5 persons.

Pros of Eating Steamed Food

Steaming is amongst the fastest growing trends as people have now become more aware of the nutritional contents and their well-being. There is not any doubt in the nutritional advantages of cooking the food through steaming.

  • A gentle heating process prevents the moisture content of the food to remain intact.
  • Steamed food seal the juices within the food, keeping them moist.
  • Water-soluble vitamin loss is hindered in steaming as the contact is prevented between the food and the boiling water.
  • Steamed foods hold on to the nutrients more than boiling, baking, and frying.
  • They are devoid of fats and contain fewer calories which proves it to be a weight loss booster.
  • Steaming the foods especially vegetables, soften the fiber content which makes it easier to digest the food.
  • Steamed food lowers cholesterol because of no usage of oil or fats.
  • These foods are the nutritionist’s choice to maintain a healthy diet with lesser calories and more essential nutrients.

Cons of Eating Steamed Food

A few traits of steamed food may be undesirable for the consumers and they should be considered for any cook. These traits are listed as follows:

  • It is a time taking procedure in contrast to the other moist-heat cooking methods.
  • The steamed food is not presentable and good in appearance like baked or grilled food, as the browning of the food is not done in this method.
  • Steam cooking does not alter the appearance of the food.
  • Steaming the food is a risky process as it can burn your body while removing the lid of the steamer.
  • Steamed food cannot be prepared with gravy.
  • Specially designed steamers are too much expensive and unaffordable for native people.

Evolution of cooking steaming tools

Steaming is an uncertain process which demands specialized equipment. Earlier, pottery steamers were used by the people and they were termed as “Yan steamers”. In early 1990, Randall Cornfield developed a steam cooker amid the effort of preparing the food quickly. Numerous advances have been taking place in the technology world for developing efficient steamers. The microprocessor is used for developing new steaming techniques.

Previously, the basic saucepan technique was used to steam the food while now, various kinds of steamers like electric or gas steamers, pressurized or pressureless steamers, convectional or compartment steamers. Nowadays, electric microwaves have also been used for steaming purposes. Many digital companies have now produced efficient and easier to handle digital steamers. Stockpots, stainless steel steamers, bamboo steamer baskets, and instant pots have been used to steam the food more competently.

Concluding, the steaming technique works best than any other technique for a better diet monitored meal. People have been much aware of its benefits and following it without any doubt. Additionally, the restaurants that provide healthy food for people according to dietary needs prefer steamed food than any other stuff.

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