Steaming is a fantastic way to cook food, celebrated for its gentle approach that preserves the natural flavors and nutrients of food. It involves cooking food by surrounding it with steam and avoiding the use of excess oil or fat, which makes it a healthier alternative to methods like frying or boiling. But despite its many benefits, some people shy away from steaming because they don't own a specialized steamer. However, you don't need to invest in one to enjoy the advantages of steaming. With a bit of ingenuity, your regular skillet can be transformed into an effective steamer. Understanding the basic structure and functioning of a traditional steamer can help in improvising one with a skillet.
A typical steamer consists of a few key components: a container to hold water, a rack or basket to keep the food elevated above the water, and a lid. The water at the bottom is heated to produce steam, which rises and cooks the food placed on the rack. The lid plays a crucial role by keeping the steam enclosed, which accelerates the cooking process and prevents the escape of nutrients. Creating a similar environment using a skillet is not only possible but also quite simple. Here's how.
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How To Create A Steamer Using Your Skillet
To turn your skillet into a steamer you will need a deep skillet, a fitting lid, a heat-safe plate, and some items to prop up the plate above the water level, like cutlery or rolled-up balls of aluminum foil. Most households typically have these items, so you're likely already set.
First, fill the skillet with about an inch or two of water, ensuring that the water level is low enough not to touch the food during steaming. Then, create a makeshift rack inside the skillet. You can do this by placing a few rolled-up balls of aluminum foil or some heat-safe cutlery at the bottom. These items will act as supports to elevate the plate above the water level. Make sure these props are stable and evenly spaced to provide a secure base.
Next, place the heat-safe plate on top of these props to serve as the platform for your food. Arrange your ingredients on the plate in a single layer. This ensures even cooking and efficient steam circulation. Now, cover the skillet with the lid to trap the steam inside, creating an environment similar to a traditional steamer. Turn the heat to medium or medium-high, bringing the water to a gentle boil. Within a few minutes, depending on the food you're steaming, your dish will be ready to serve. And there you have it, your skillet turned into a steamer in just a few easy steps.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.