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About Steaming and Its Variations

About Steaming and Its Variations

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 moisture contents.

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.

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