There are many types of foods that can be
prepared by steaming or one of the techniques based on steaming. Some of
the techniques are like steaming, shallow poaching, en papillote
and pan-steaming. All of these techniques cook foods by surrounding them
with a vapor bath. In some cases, the food is suspended above a simmering
or boiling liquid or stew. Foods prepared en papillote rely on the
moisture naturally present in the food or that introduced through the use
of sauces or ingredients such as mushrooms or tomatoes, that have high
Shallow poaching and pan steaming call for
the food to be cooked directly in a small amount of liquid in a covered
pan. The cover traps steam, cooking the portion of the food that is not
submerged in the poaching liquid.
Foods prepared by any of the steaming
methods should be naturally tender, or they should be cut or prepared so
that they will have the best possible consistency when fully cooked.
Steaming does not tenderize tough foods as it cooks them, so cuts of meat
from the shoulder or shank are rarely steamed.
Preparation techniques can include skinning,
boning, filleting, trimming, slicing or grinding. Vegetables are peeled
and cut if necessary. Remember that the size of the cut and the thickness
of the food will influence total cooking time. Steaming is best when foods
are not cooked for extended periods.