Steaming food is a far healthier option than frying, baking or boiling, as it uses no fat to cook and does not leech the nutrients of vegetables. Just about any fruit and vegetable lends itself perfectly to steaming, and you can even steam pork chops, chicken and puddings. A Tefal steamer that has two or more tiers is an energy-efficient way to cook your whole meal, and it will enable you to savor the subtle flavors of each ingredient, as fewer flavors are lost through steaming than other ways of cooking.
Steam vegetables. Steaming vegetables is just about the easiest way to cook them. Simply fill the bottom tray with water, add the vegetables to a tier and steam for several minutes. Check regularly until you are familiar with how long each vegetable takes to steam to perfection, as everyone has individual preferences and all steamers are different. Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, corn, peas and asparagus taste better when still crunchy, so be careful. Remember, overcooked vegetables is less good for you, as a lot of the goodness is lost in the cooking.
Steam chicken. Steamed chicken is popular in Chinese cooking and has a much more delicate flavor than other types of cooked chicken. Place the chicken on a dish to collect the juices, and then place it on a steamer tier. How long your chicken takes to cook will depend on its size and the power of your steamer. "Tefal" magazine suggests you steam 1.2 kg chicken for 1 hour. When the juices run clear, your chicken is cooked. Try adding marinades made of garlic, salt, rosemary, lemon juice, black pepper or any combination for tastier dishes.
Steam pork chops. Again, place the pork in a dish first to collect the juices. Cooking time will depend on the size of your meat and the recipe, but when the juices run clear, the pork is safe to eat. For Chinese-style pork, mince or dice the meat, then mix with onions and other vegetables, roll into balls and steam for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
Steam puddings. Steaming puddings the traditional way retains the moistness that is often lost through baking. A normal pudding recipe that uses 2 oz butter, 2 oz sugar, 4 oz flour and one egg takes around 1 to 1 1/2 hours to steam in a Tefal steamer. Follow your recipe, and then place ingredients into a plastic or pottery bowl. Cover with pleated greaseproof paper, and secure with a rubber band, then place in the steamer for the allotted time. Ensure the steamer does not run out of water while cooking.
Try adding garlic, onions, celery, fresh ginger or herbs to the water to infuse your dishes with subtle flavor. Avoid removing the steamer lid frequently while cooking, as this will let the heat out and increase the cooking time.
Laura Parr began her professional writing career in 2008 contributing to websites such as Travelbox, 1stop and Traveldojo. She now writes health and fitness-related articles. Parr earned a diploma of adult nursing from the University of Brighton, followed by a postgraduate certificate in public health from the University of Manchester.