Steaming food is a popular cooking method that uses the hot steam from boiling water to cook ingredients. The method is used mainly for vegetables and rice, though fish and dumplings are also common in some cultures. Steam is a slow and gentle cooking method, which is good for those ingredients that are easily overcooked. This also helps to preserve the vitamin content of vegetables. At one time, steaming was a slow and labor-intensive cooking method, but modern automatic steamers make it as easy as turning a dial.
Remove the upper food baskets from the steamer, and pour water from the jug into the reservoir at the base of the steamer. Fill up to the level mark embossed on the inside surface of the reservoir. The slotted white tray and the clear plastic bowl can be used interchangeably to hold different quantities of food. The white tray can sit directly over the reservoir, below the clear bowl or inside the clear bowl at the top.
Fill the two steaming containers with the ingredients you plan to steam. The items which will take the longest to cook should be placed at the bottom, with other items added to the "stack" as the cooking time progresses. Peel any vegetables as thick skins can slow down the cooking process. Fish or poultry should be cut into the smallest fillets practically possible, and all pieces of chopped food should be similarly sized.
Place the lid on top of the steamer unit, directly on top of the reservoir. Steam should start to collect on the inside of the lid almost immediately. Allow the steamer to warm up until the red light on the control panel switches off. Remove the lid, place the first ingredient basket on top of the reservoir and replace the lid on top of the basket. Consult a list of cooking times for the ingredient. Turn the timer knob to the appropriate time and allow the steam to cook the ingredients until the timer expires.
Herbs and seasonings can be added to steaming liquid to infuse your ingredients with their flavors.