You absolutely need to add a staple bamboo steamer to your kitchen. Steaming is a method of cooking that goes back thousands of years due to being so easy to use, consistently cooking delicious food, and having many nutritional benefits. Use an Asian bamboo steamer basket as a healthier option for cooking since it doesn’t require fat.
In addition to your wooden steamer, all you need is a large pot or deep pan and some water. Using steam to create a moist oven, you will finish cooking your food quickly and thoroughly, keeping it moist and tender. Steaming also preserves a lot of the natural nutrients of your ingredients, as opposed to a method like boiling.
The stacking function and the diameter of each steamer allow you to conveniently cook multiple dishes or components at once and feed your whole family. Conveniently simple, this hands-off method allows you to sit back (or enjoy the chaos of your household) and let the steam do the work for you. The result? Fluffy buns, juicy dumplings, tender veggies, and much, much more.
The tiered design of Asian steamers allows for easy storage. Typically inexpensive in terms of kitchenware, a bamboo steamer basket is an affordable investment with a delicious payoff.
While you’re at it, be sure to check out my top picks for the best bamboo chopsticks.
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Benefits of Bamboo Steamers
Other than the wide array of tasty food you can cook in your steamer basket, there are environmental benefits of cooking your food in a vessel made from bamboo.
Bamboo is a highly sustainable material that grows more quickly, requires less water, and produces more oxygen than trees.
Along with being healthier and producing more tender food, a bamboo steamer basket is a strong, flexible, and environmentally friendly staple you’ll want to add to your kitchen.
How to Choose Bamboo Steamers
While there are metal steamers available, you’ll likely want to opt for a bamboo steamer. They come with the perk of absorbing moisture, whereas with a metal steamer the condensation can just collect and overcook the contents of your steamer. You may also get a metallic taste.
When purchasing a dumpling steamer basket, you’ll want to look for high-quality bamboo that’s BPA-free. A hand-woven lid will be weaved much tighter than one that was put together by a machine, thus keeping your steam in better.
Keep an eye out for wide slats which will provide you with better flow for your steam. Avoid steamers that are cheaply glued together as the glue can melt. You’ll also want to avoid baskets clamped together with copper strips as the copper can corrode.
You’ll also want to pick up a large pot or pan, deep enough to insert your bamboo steamer into without the roaring of the boiling water touching your steamer. Since the bamboo steamers you’ll come across will typically have two tiers that are 10 inches across.
Best Bamboo Steamers
Trademark Innovations Bamboo Steamer
This bamboo steamer by Trademark Innovations is a need for your kitchen. With two steamer levels and a domed lid, this 10-inch diameter package will cook your food and give you the gift of flavorful fruit and perfectly tender (not soggy!) veggies quickly and without unhealthy oils.
KLOCKREN Bamboo Steamer
This gorgeous and affordable bamboo steamer will change your life. Also with two tiers in this set, a 9-inch diameter will make all of your food dreams come true. Whether you’re interested in purchasing a steamer for health purposes or convenience, this little basket hits the mark in every department.
It’s no wonder this item has a 5-star rating.
How to Use Bamboo Steamers
Don’t be overwhelmed, as cooking with bamboo steamers is fairly simple and doesn’t require much effort or equipment.
Line your steamer and place your basket in a piece of cookware that’s large enough to fit your steamer, allowing a couple of inches beneath your steamer as the boiling bubbles should not touch the base of your steamer basket.
How to Clean Bamboo Steamers
To clean your bamboo steamer, wash with a sponge and mild dish soap, then immediately rinse in very hot water.
When cleaning your bamboo steamer basket, make sure to allow your steamer to air out thoroughly for a couple of days so you can avoid mold or other bacterias building up when you store it. For this same reason, make sure not to put your bamboo steamer baskets in the dishwasher or allow your steamers to soak.
Additionally, be careful to avoid scorching the base of your steamer basket or using strong odors dish detergents which can cause odd flavors in your future meals.