Steaming is a very ancient technique that allows to cook our food preserving intact the nutritional properties and keeping alive the flavours. This method of cooking allows also to avoid over fatty seasonings, as well as to save time because, not being a risk of burnings or attachments at the bottom of the pot, you don’t need to look out too much for the burners.
It’s a technique widely used in the East and in Africa, and, recently, his use is spreading even in the West.
Steaming cooks food slowly and at low temperatures, prevents the dispersal of nutrients in the air or in other liquids and preserves the natural taste of food.
To steam are used baskets (of different materials) placed on a pot of water at low heat. The only caution is do not let the basket come in contact with water. The baskets can be even more than one, then you will put in the lower basket the food that requires a longer cooking time.
For example, if you want to prepare a rice basmati with vegetables, you put the rice on the lower basket, placed on a leaf of Savoy or of chard to avoid that the grains fall down into the water through the holes of the basket. Enveloped in vegetables, the rice will be more flavourful.
In the upper basket, you put instead the other vegetables (carrots, onions, thin sliced potatoes, asparagus) and, in the water of the pot, a little bit of herbs to spice the whole thing (rosemary, bay leaf, thyme).
When cooked, raw, you add extra virgin olive oil. Being a very delicate type of cooking, it is advisable to use baskets made of natural materials, such as bamboo or willow. As an alternative, the steel is also good. If possible, avoid plastic materials and electronic devices for cooking, for issues of environmental sustainability, economic and, above all, to better appreciate the genuineness of food. It may seem like a type of cooking limited to only some preparations, but after a bit of time and imagination, you can achieve even steamed quiches and timbales, to savour new flavours, pure and healthy.