Asian Online Recipes (Cooking Guide)
Asian Online Recipes -Cooking Guide

About Pan Steaming

Steaming with a Pan

Pan steaming cooks foods by placing them directly in a liquid, such as water, broth or court bouillon. There is not enough water to completely submerge the food, however. This technique is often used to prepare vegetables.

The steps and methods for ingredients and equipment is similar to that required for shallow poaching, with the following difference - a tight fitting lid is essential in order to pan steam foods fully and quickly. Speed is one of this technique's most valuable assets, since even green vegetables can be prepared quickly enough that any acids that might have caused discoloration are not allowed enough time to have any effect.

The amount of liquid required is determined by the texture of the food being pan steamed. For denser foods, such as carrots or turnips, you may need more liquid. Delicate items, including new peas or asparagus tips, may require relatively little liquid.

Steps for pan steaming

  1. Assemble all ingredients and preparations for pan steaming.

    • Main ingredients

    • Liquid

    • Additional or optional items for flavoring, finishing and garnishing

    • Items necessary to prepare the sauce

    Since the liquid used in pan steaming is often discarded, water is the most ordinary choice. In pan steaming, the addition of aromatics, such as chopped shallots or additional minced vegetables is common. Once foods are pan steamed, the liquid may be drained away and a little cream or butter is added to finish the dish. This is an optional component.


  2. Assemble all equipments necessary for cooking and serving.

    Apart from the usual serving pieces, the only requirement for pan steaming is a sautoir or rondeau with a tight fitting lid. Remember that the food should be added to the pan in a single, even layer. It is important to select a pan that can comfortably hold the food being pan steamed without crowding.


  1. Bring the liquid to a boil in a pan. If you are adding any special aromatics, they should be added to the liquid as it comes to a boil so that they can release their flavors.

  2. Add the food being pan steamed in a single layer. Some foods, such as peas, may be allowed to pile up in the pan but, in general, there should be only enough food added so that the liquid comes up about one-quarter to one-third of the depth of the food, with enough head room between the tip of the food and the lid to allow steam to build up.

  3. Cover the pan and cook until the food is properly done.

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