A bamboo steamer is a traditional Chinese kitchen appliance that uses vapor from the hot water to cook food.
The steamer basket is circular at the top and bottom to allow more baskets to be stacked and a lid placed on top of the baskets.
The stacked-up baskets are then placed on either a wok or a pot of simmering hot water.
The steam then rises through the bottom ridges of the basket and cooks the food.
The bamboo basket was invented by the Chinese 7000 years ago, and today, just like every other cooking technique, the bamboo steamer has gained popularity in almost every Chinese household.
However, there is a notable difference: there is metal bamboo nowadays, while the traditional one is exclusively bamboo.
The pros of a bamboo steamer
- The bamboo steamer lids are not like standard lids as they don’t allow condensation, which may alter the taste of the food during steaming.
- Steaming food can also be used as a method to reheat your food hence bamboo steamer can also be used for this purpose. In essence, steaming introduces moisture to your food, rejuvenating its freshness.
- The bamboo steamer has benefits in that you can cook different foods with different cooking times simultaneously. This saves time and energy. be sure to place the foods with the longest cooking time at the bottom using the same sequence to the top where the food uses the shortest time
- A bamboo steamer has relatively lightweight as opposed to a stainless steamer.
- Serving dumplings directly from the basket is a Chinese art that is visually attractive. Therefore, if you love aesthetics, using the bamboo steamer is the way to go.
- Authentic Bamboo steamers are made from natural materials; hence it is environmentally safe as there are no pollutants at the same time health safe. It doesn’t contain chemical impurities that might be harmful to your health.
- Compared to the stainless steamer, Bamboo steamer cooks food evenly and simultaneously, while the stainless version makes the food at the bottom hotter and might stick during cooking.
- Bamboo steamers can directly be used for serving. This reduces the number of dishes that one has to wash and makes the serving more classical.
- Covering bamboo steamer with parchment paper reduces its susceptibility to dirt. Essentially you completely protect the tier from damage and dirt, and the best thing is that bamboo does not absorb the aroma of the food.
- During cooking, the bamboo steamer absorbs excess steam in its walls. This ensures that your vegetables do not get soggy, unlike the metal steamer that cannot absorb more steam.
How to use a bamboo steamer
1. Layer the bottom of the basket
You need to line up the bottom of the tray with either parchment paper, lettuce or cabbage leaves, or perforated parchment paper specifically meant for the bamboo steamer.
Lining up the trays means no food will remain stuck on the basket and further prevents it from dirt and damage.
Whichever layer you choose to use at the bottom of the basket, make sure it’s porous to allow for steam to penetrate the bottom of the steamer and cook the food.
This step can be skipped if you are cooking marinated meats or vegetables, which would require you to use a heatproof bowl to collect the juice.
2. Add water to your wok.
The wok is considered the best kitchen appliance to use with a bamboo steamer because it has a broad base that can accommodate bamboo steamer of all sizes.
It is also thin, making it easier to boil and regulate the water temperature.
First, place the basket in the wok and fill it with enough water. Make sure the water is high enough to submerge the bottom tray of the steamer and low enough to prevent the bubbling water from reaching the food.
If your bamboo steamer is new, safeguard its use by soaking the bottom tray for 30min before using it to avoid scorching. Also, make sure it is thoroughly dried up after use to avoid mold formation.
3. Add food to the bamboo steamer.
Foods such as Chinese dumplings, cookies, and buns might increase in size.
In that case, avoid overcrowding them and leave enough space to expand equally living space to allow the steam to circulate.
4. Place steamer basket on the wok
You can decide to bring the water in the wok to simmer first before placing the basket with food, or you can place your bamboo steamer directly on the wok with cold water and let them boil to temperature.
You don’t have to thaw your dumplings if frozen. Simply place them directly in the bamboo steamer and bring them up to heat.
5. Let the food steam
The water in the wok pan will boil and immediately start to evaporate.
Let the food steam as you keep an eye on the water levels. If the water levels reduce before the food is ready, you can add more water to prevent the wok from drying.
Also, it is essential to note that it’s only hot water that can be added and not cold water since the cold water interrupts the steaming process. Frequently check your food until it’s ready.
Cleaning a bamboo steamer
The nature of the bamboo steamer allows for steam to move on the food and the basket’s walls. The steam, to some extent, carries food particles that are transferred to the walls; therefore, you need to keep your bamboo steamer hygienically clean.
Therefore it needs thorough cleaning after every use. you can as well decide to minimize cleaning by lining the tray to stop foods from sticking on the walls.
Here are the directions to cleaning your bamboo steamer.
Each time you must use the bamboo steamer, you have to clean it immediately to avoid deep cleaning, which equally causes damage to the bamboo steamer.
- Hold the bamboo steamer under mildly hot water, then use a sponge wash and a mild dish soap and scrub it gently but firmly. Remember to clean the lid as well.
- Then rinse the steamer and the lid in mildly hot water.
- Allow the steamer air to dry for at least two days before storing. This prevents molds from forming.
Also, please do not wash your bamboo steamer in a dishwasher, nor should you soak it for more than 5min.
Disadvantages of a bamboo steamer
The bamboo steamer can absorb any odor at high speed. This may impact the aroma of the food; hence, you cannot steam meat items with fish alongside other vegetables; therefore, cook them separately where possible.
The bamboo steamer is built-in with straws and bamboo, making them affordable however they are delicate; hence they wear and tear over time and might constantly need replacement.
A bamboo steamer uses heat and steam to cook food. Therefore, the steam has food particles that remain stuck on the bamboo walls.
Therefore, you have to clean it over time to avoid contaminating the new foods.
Bamboo steamer chicken recipes
1. Steamed chicken sticky rice
In Vietnam, people eat sticky rice in the morning; however, you can eat this chicken recipe any time of the day.
In this recipe, you will need sticky rice chicken and Chinese sausage as the primary food items, while you can add other ingredients to make it taste.
The best technique for cooking is steaming using the bamboo steamer.
To make this savory and flavorful dish, you can use this link for the recipe and make this mouthwatering dish.
2. Chinese style steamed chicken
This is a traditional recipe that is made with ease. It is also delicious aromatic, and tasty.
It also has a sauce on the side that is prepared to complement the chicken and some garnish.
The other secret ingredient is cooking with love which devours all the other ingredients. Here is a link you might find helpful for this recipe.
3. Steamed chicken buns
Chinese chicken buns are a popular dim sum restaurant food, then filling is made with chicken and some vegetables that produce a delicious and savory taste.
To have the best experience served with any other dim sum recipe like fried shrimp balls or chicken curry, the only downside of this dish is the making of the bun which requires you to be keen to make them look pretty and the same size.
You can follow this link for the recipe if you want to experience the authentic buns, just like the ones from the Cantonese restaurant.
4. Easy vegan chicken bao
Bao is a fluffy tiny bun that is filled with some goodies, and you can choose to make it from home from scratch or just buy ready to steam bao from any local Asian store and supermarket. You can as well add some ingredients to your liking.
Moreover, the recipe is super easy to make. Hence you can prepare them during busy days and add some zing to your meals.
It’s a healthy meal that anyone can enjoy as long as you can play around with the ingredients. Maybe a little help by clicking on this link will go a long way.
5. Juicy steamed chicken dumplings
Would you like to try something intense but in the end worth it? Try these steamed chicken dumplings made from home. They are sumptuous and flavorful.
You will like the homemade more than the store-bought dumpling using this recommended recipe.
In this recipe, remember to use a skinless, boneless chicken thigh with fats, and if you decide to use chicken with no fat, be sure to add more while steaming.
This gives the chicken its juice. If you want a better experience, here is a recipe link you can use
6. Asian steamed chicken with greens
Here is an n easy to-go-meal of chicken and vegetables all cooked in a steamer to make your meals perfect and memorable.
The food utilizes sesame seed oil and ginger with shallots to give an Asian style food.
This recipe is ketogenic, thus excellent for anyone considering weight loss or when you want to enjoy your food but in a healthy way.
If you like this recipe, here is a link to follow for more information on the recipe
7. Chicken memos
One of the most appealing aspects of cooking is the fact that cooking is like art, and you can be creative and invent your fun ways.
Here is a recipe that is not only flavorful but also you have to strive to bring the aesthetic part.
These Asian chicken momos are ideal if you crave the street food feeling. It is also an ideal appetizer for gatherings.
Chicken moms are a South Asian version of dumplings typical in the Indian streets, and this street food comes in varied versions, paneer, vegetables, and chicken. Here is a link you can find helpful.
8. Steamed herbal chicken
This is a dish of marinated chicken wrapped and steamed with Chinese herbs. From it, you get tender meat which is moistly accompanied with aroma from the fresh herbal.
You can use the herbs from Chinese chicken soup, but the most dominant herbal for this recipe is the Chinese angelica.
You can get the herbs from a Chinese herbal shop if you don’t have them. The cooking time for this dish is strictly 45 min, but you have to check on it to make sure the water does not dry up.
Using this link, you will learn the recipe and any other information related to it.
9. Steamed Chicken with Black Bean Sauce
This is easy to make the meal, especially ideal for your planned summer season meals.
Chicken is familiar and easy to cook, especially with the stir-fried recipe; however, you can quickly over cook the chicken; hence, it is good to have an alternative that is the steamer and is also suitable for keeping the original taste.
This chicken is coated with heavier filling and sauce to give it a rich taste; hence you should make use of this link for the recipe.
Bamboo steamer fish recipes
10. Asian steamed fish
This recipe is not only easy to make but also has low carb and healthy with a touch of Japanese and Cantonese flavors combined to bring out the Asian fusion.
You only need 20min of your time to prepare it. This steamed fish can be Served to a gathering at the same time it can be a crowd-pleaser as anyone. Even the non-fish eaters can have it.
You can try this mouthwatering dish by following this link and leaving your party guest with an impact of your food that will forever linger in their minds.
11. 15-Minute Ginger Soy Asian Steamed Fish
The ginger soy Asian steamed fish is easy to prepare hence conveniently cooked during the busy week nights.
It is important to note that the quality of the fish will determine the end product. In that case, choose the boneless mild semi firm, flaky white fish.
You will realize at the end that the fish does not require you to drizzle in oil making it calories free.
You also choose to use any cooking techniques, either using the steamer or microwave, which can also cook the fish in 6 minutes.
I tried the recipe and found it sumptuous why not give it a try by following this link to use for the recipe
12. Steamed fish with ginger
the steamed fish recipe with ginger has additional flavors of scallion and soy sauce.
The result is a healthy and tender fish, and you are open to adding more flavors to make it taste like the one from the restaurant.
You only need to top up all the ingredients on the fish and steam it for 15 minutes.
Then, you can cook, prepare the dish with whichever taste, or add some ingredients to pop up the color as you wish. This link will guide you through the steps.
13. Thai steamed fish and garlic sauce
Thai dishes are always spicy and flavorful. This dish is not an exception, remember a dish is also about their representation; hence you have to learn the art.
The exciting bit about this recipe is that you steam the fish as a whole, not remove the head.
If it is your first time trying this kind of dish, I recommend you use this link as it is simple yet detailed. Hopeful you will enjoy the recipe and make it your all-time favorite.
14. Steamed fish with shiitake
You want to have some home treats for yourself, then try this recipe with
With the ingredients that are already in your kitchen pantry, you can make this flavorful dish any time in just 15 minutes.
Additional shiitake into the recipe pairs well with the fish making it sumptuous and mouthwatering you can either use fresh shiitake or dried ones. If you find this exciting, here is a link for you to try.
15. Chinese steamed fish
This dish includes the main ingredients as the fish, which is then topped with vegetables and sweetened soy sauce to bring out the zest.
It uses the steamer to make fish, and the best thing is that you can make it from home without struggling. All you need is the ingredients.
Though technology has made it easier for you to experience restaurant dishes at home, you also need to be cautious not to overcook your food; otherwise, cooking should be fun and taking of fun. Here is a link you may use for this recipe
16. Jamaican steamed fish
This dish is for fish lovers and those who like to try new flavors and tastes. In the Caribbean, there are various fish, from parrotfish to jackfish to mehi mehi.
This means so many fish recipes are being featured. Here is one I thought might interest you the Jamaican snipper. It is so common you will almost find it anywhere.
The red snipper is the best for this recipe, and the incredible thing is that you can buy it fresh from the fishmonger and have it cleaned by them. The steamed fish is easy to make and can also be paired with other foods like green bananas. Here is a link
17. Thai steamed fish with lime and garlic
This perfectly steamed fish is courted with garlic, spicy, sour, and sweet sauce. It has additional cilantro that makes the dish fresh and savory. It can also be prepared on your busy weeknight since it takes the shortest time for preparation.
You can use tilapia, red snapper, or barramundi in this dish. But the link I will share with you is from a lady who uses two black and code pieces, which is best for those who want to reduce fats. This link is super easy, and I hope you will enjoy your dish once it is ready.
18. Chinese steamed fish with ginger and shallot
You want to experience some little drama topped up with fun, and then you can try this recipe and add some oil to watch the top drizzle with happiness.
This Chinese steamed fish with ginger and shallot is a classic example of an intense but straightforward dish regarding the flavors.
The dish can either be made with whole fish or fish fillets. You can use a bamboo steamer or bake it. For extra flavor, add in Japanese sake, and for more information into the recipe, click on this link.
19. Steamed fish with couscous parcels
This dish can be prepared for varied meals. Whether for gathering or the weeknight meals, you will still make it. The best thing is that you can prepare the parcel and allow it to chill until it is ready to cook.
In that case, you have to soak the parcel for about 5 minutes to allow it to absorb liquid during steaming.
Are you interested in trying this recipe? Find the link below with a detailed guide into the recipe.