The Chinese Steamer is an essential piece of kitchenware for serious Asian cooks. This type of cookware is still in use all over Asia, because it is so versatile, easy to use, inexpensive and facilitates the cooking of fresh and natural tasting dishes. Steaming is perfect for the modern day cook who is pressed for time and seeking nutritional cooking methods. The cooking time is short for most dishes thereby retaining vitamins, minerals and natural flavors and also saving time and energy.
The stacked steamer consists of three layers. The upper two layers are perforated and are where the food is placed. Water is poured into the bottom layer and brought to a full rolling boil before the food is placed onto the trays. The large area of the trays allows the hot steam to rise and circulate to cook the food. The tight fitting domed lid traps the steam inside and is designed so that condensed moisture will not drip onto the food but instead drip back down into the lower level from the sides of the lid.
Always place or remove the food away from heat. If cooking foods directly on the tray (such as for a whole fish, dim sum or haw moek) rub the trays with oil and/or line with banana leaves before steaming to keep from sticking. Meat, fish, poultry and vegetables should be placed on heat resistant plates or in casseroles when steaming, to retain their juices. Choose a plate which is small enough to still allow the steam to circulate with about a one inch clearance from the sides of the steamer. Sticky foods, such as sweets may be set on a cheesecloth, banana leaves or wax-paper squares (make sure to not cover all the holes).
Precautions for Steaming: Keep a kettle of boiling water on hand if steaming time is long and add more water to the bottom pan to maintain the water level, but do not lift the domed lid. Towards the end of cooking time let the steamer set cool slightly, stand back and slowly remove the lid with oven mitts as steam can cause bad burns. When following a recipe, steaming time begins once the lid is closed. Steaming times vary, with foods on the bottom, where the steam pressure is greater, cooking quicker then those on the top. Once the water is brought back to a rolling boil, the temperature may be reduced but should maintain a steady bubbling.
This three layer Aluminum Stacked Steamer comes in a variety of sizes: 24cm (9 inches), 30cm (12 inches) and 40cm (16 inches). Choose the steamer according to the type of cooking you plan to do. For instance, for steaming a 1-1 1/2 pound whole fish (to serve 2-3 people Asian style) a 12" steamer would be a good size. Also we do not recommend using a wok for steaming if you have been using it to stir-fry, as it will cause the desirable black patina to wash away.
See Thai recipes using the Chinese Steamer: Steamed Sea Bass with Thai Chili Paste, Vietnamese Steamed Pumpkin Salad, Steamed Dumplings Filled with Pork and Curried Fish Mousse.
Aluminum Steamer, Diamond Brand. Dimension: 40 cm (about 16 inches) Depth: 4 inches. 3 levels (2 for steaming food). Product of Thailand.
Availability: Ships in 2-3 business days