The bamboo steamer is a natural cookware item that Asian cultures have used from time immemorial to steam-cook different types of foods. Asians are known for healthy cooking and eating, which explains why they tend to live a long time. They also have other cookware, such as Asian hot pot
s and rice cookers
which also make great, healthy dishes.
The bamboo steamer was brought to the west by emigrating Asians, and because of its health benefits, it is fast gaining ground in the Western culinary industry. It is handcrafted from natural bamboo, a fast-growing and self-replenishing grass. Through the years, its design has basically remained unaffected by modernization, except for a few non-essential additions and tweaks.
If you are a fussy eater or nature aficionado who cares about the nutrition value of cooked foods with regards to method of cooking and cookware
used, or you just love exploring and trying out new culinary options and tastes, get this cookware. A bamboo steamer usually consists of two stackable baskets and a tightly woven lid that holds the heat in and also traps moisture. The bamboo steamer provides a safer and healthier steaming option than the contemporary stainless steel or aluminum steamers. It does this by retaining the flavor of food, and also preserving most of its nutrients, thus yielding a tasty and nutritious meal. Cooking with a bamboo steamer doesn’t rely on the heat of the bamboo (which doesn’t heat up that much to begin with), but on the steamy environment provided by the interior of the steamer. It’s used to cook great-tasting Asian foods, including vegetables, dumplings, rice, fish or dim sum.
There are a number of things you need to consider before making your final selection of a bamboo steamer. These include size, material, number of tiers, design, and, of course, the cost.
Before purchasing a bamboo steamer, know what you’re willing to spend for it. Keep in mind that there are different types with various features and prices. Trying to strike a fair balance between quality and affordability can be a little tricky, especially with products with hard-to-find differences and of course, different price tags.
The prices of bamboo steamers covered in this review range from $11 to $36, which is quite affordable by most standards. Best of all, they’re all from trusted brands. In the course of our research, we came across some cheap bamboo steamers that are of less-than-average quality. We did not feature them here, because we believe you should get the best value for your money. Keep reading so you can make your selection from our list.
Buying a great bamboo steamer may be a little tricky, but once you know the key features to look for and the purpose, then your selection process becomes very simplified. Here are some of the important features:
- Number of tiers
Construction and Design
A bamboo steamer is round-shaped, with the bottom tightly woven with untreated bamboo slats held together by bamboo twines and pegs, and plain bamboo for the sides. On rare occasions, some brands use metal staples to hold the bamboo slats together for durability so the weave doesn’t come apart easily. It’s also not uncommon to see some brands with stainless steel finishing on the edges of the steaming baskets. The lid is also tightly woven from the same material as the basket. It should fit tightly, to prevent heat and steam from escaping from the basket. Some brands reinforce their bamboo steamer lids with a sheet of bamboo for more effective moisture trapping.
Most bamboo steamers come in two-tier form. There are still a few that are three-tier. The number of tiers you get will depend on what you're using it for, or on how large your family is. The two-tier steamer consists of two stackable baskets, while the three-tier steamer comes with three stackable baskets. Whichever one you choose to buy, the result is always the same – a tasty and healthy meal. The multi-tier design of the bamboo steamer means that you get to cook different foods at the same time, using one pot and one burner. This is as convenient and time-saving as it gets. The food in one compartment can be removed easily when it’s done, while allowing the other one to continue steaming.
There are different sizes of bamboo steamers designed to serve different needs. The size ranges from four inches to 14 inches in diameter, although there are larger sizes too. Choose a size that best suits your needs.
Performance and Ease of Use
Some bamboo steamer lids are constructed in such a way that excess moisture drips down the sides of the basket, straight down to the bottom of the pot, without touching the food. This is an extra measure that ensures that your food doesn't get soggy from excess moisture absorption.
For more convenient use and better results, line the bottom of the steaming basket with a parchment paper lining, cabbage leaves or banana leaves before putting in your food. For things like fish and meat, you may want to put them inside a smaller plate first, to retain the juice. This lining helps prevent loss of vital nutrients and juices from the food, and also saves the steaming basket from stains and odors. Some models of bamboo steamers come with parchment paper lining at no extra cost to you, saving you the stress of looking for appropriate lining for your steamer.
The tightly woven lids and tightly fitting stackable baskets provide an intensely hot and steamy environment, which cooks the food in the shortest possible time without denaturing most of its nutrients.
Bamboo steamers are very easy to clean and maintain. Just rinse them out thoroughly with warm water, and use a soft brush to remove stains. The use of detergents is not recommended, as the chemicals are likely to seep into the bamboo fiber, and may color the taste of foods cooked with the steamer later on.
Choosing a bamboo steamer is not as easy as it sounds, as many factors have to be considered. To make things much easier for you, we have listed the features of all the bamboo steamers reviewed. Since you have gone through our buying guide, you are now well-informed to pick the bamboo steamer that is best for you.
Now that you have taken the time to read our detailed review, we are sure that you will be able to choose the bamboo steamer best suited to your needs. You can place that order.