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The bamboo steamer is an inexpensive, versatile cooking tool that will change the way you prepare your dieting meals.  It is placed over a pot of simmering water and allows steam to rise through the layers of bamboo to cook the food.  The bamboo steamer can be used to steam veggies, seafood, poultry, and meats.  It is also a super healthy way to cook food when dieting, since you are not using any additives like oils or fats.

Getting Started: Bamboo steamers are pretty easy to find.  If you cannot purchase one at your local superstore, then you can certainly find one at your local Asian market.  They can be purchased in two- or three- tier sets.  Once you are ready to cook, you can use any pot that is deep enough to steam water in and then safely secure the bamboo steamer on top of it.  Make sure the water is not touching the bamboo steamer.  You will also want to line the steamer with parchment paper, cabbage leaves, or lettuce leaves to help prevent food bits from sticking to the bottom of the steamer.

Meat: When steaming meat, it is important to note that steam will not do much to change the texture of the meat, so stay away from tougher cuts.  Most people who steam meats in their bamboo steamer prefer to cook it in the middle chamber of a three tier steamer.

Seafood: Be sure to steam the fish until it is flaky and can be pulled apart with a fork.  Get creative, and add items like lime and peppers to your dieting dish.

Chicken: Chicken is the easiest meat to steam.  Consider using broth and herbs instead of just plain water for added flavor.  You may also want to cut slits in the top and bottom of the chicken to ensure even cooking.  Chicken breast tends to work best.

Vegetables: Steaming vegetables in a bamboo steamer is ideal, because this method helps vegetables maintain their nutrients.  If you want to cook a vegetable medley, be sure to cut or slice the veggies evenly.

Cleaning: Even if you lined your steamer every time you used it, it still requires some attention.  Use a wooden scraper to remove any bits of food from the bottom of the steamer.  Next, run warm water over the steamer while gently brushing across the surface with a soft nylon brush.  Rinse and air dry before storing your handy dieting tool.


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