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Bamboo steamers


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I just do a quick hand-wash of anything on the bamboo (certain to do it early, before it dried on) and let it air dry. I rarely use soap, though -- thinking that soapy residue might affect the flavor of any future steamings.

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I found three 15 inch bamboo steam trays at a goodwill store, complete with a decorative cinch bag to put them in. Looked like they'd never been used. But just in case, I gave them a good scrub with soapy water, rinsed in boiling water then set up to steam for a while. The slight mold smell they came with disappeared. Not bad for $10.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

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  • 2 years later...

Seeing as I could find nothing in the archives on bamboo steamers and also woks were discussed in this forum:

I gave away my bamboo steamer years ago in a former life and now want to buy a new one.

I can't decide which size is the most useful: I would use it for steaming fruits and peels to be candied, Chinese food, making sponge cakes, etc. Who knows where this new life will take me?

I had a charming little bamboo steamer in Moab which I gave to a friend there. Forgot that my own was no more. Now I am using a stainless double boiler steamer, but I don't really like it. Just a personal preference.

The bamboo steamers come in 8", 10" and 12" from our local Asian market, 3 or 4 layers. Nothing seems to fit very well into the pans I currently own. Do most folks use the steamer over a wok? I don't cook with a wok: electric stove and the carbon steel wok is too heavy and too awkward for my hands. I use two stainless saute pans with encapsulated bottoms.

There are too many choices here. :wacko: What does anyone out there do? Thanks

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I've used mine in both a pot and a wok. With a wok, the cover on the steamer seems adequate, but with a pot, I find I usually have to use the pot's cover.

I've also tried using it in a shallow pan, but this seems not to work as well.

If I'm not using the wok for something else, and if it wouldn't take up too much real estate on the stovetop, I use the wok.

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I use mine with both the wok and pots. I have a 10" triple layer, but I rarely use more than one layer.

I often use it on top of a smaller pot, with the bamboo lid. I just place the food in the middle, in the area over the pot underneath. Having extra ventilation on the sides doesn't seem to be a problem. Heat rises pretty well. I don't know how well this would work with multiple layers. Also note that i live in Phoenix, my kitchen is never really super-cold.

My go-to recipe for this is a simple dried pasta dish that I developed while single: I start the pasta cooking, then put trimmed veggies in the steamer and maybe a little glass cup of sliced garlic with creme fraiche or butter. The butter or creme fraiche melts into a simple sauce and everything is done all at once. All you have to do is drain the pasta, toss some salt on the veggies, and plate everything in one bowl.

The only trouble I have had with the large size hanging over the edge of a pot was back when I shared a house with a roommate, and she fired up the gas really high, so that the ring of fire was outside of the pot. Of course, the steamer got a bit burnt underneath, but, I am still able to use it 20 years later. I am forced to have an electric stove now, so fire isn't so much of a concern.

Hope this helps!

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I bought a triple layer 10inch bamboo steamer almost a year ago with visions of veggies and shiapo dancing in my head, but to be honest, i've never even taken it out of the box. I keep looking at it when i cook (as it sits on top of my stove's shelf) and swear one day i'm going to use it.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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I bought a triple layer 10inch bamboo steamer almost a year ago with visions of veggies and shiapo dancing in my head, but to be honest, i've never even taken it out of the box. I keep looking at it when i cook (as it sits on top of my stove's shelf) and swear one day i'm going to use it.

OK. I googled Shiapo and the best I could get is a cross between a Shiz Tzu and a Poodle. ????

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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This type of steamer

is much more versatile than the bamboo steamers. I have an older one made by Farberware that I have owned for at least thirty years. The only difference is that mine has composition handles that remain cool when being used.

I have one of the electric stackable steamers

like this but an older model

And I also have a huge couscousiere that I use on the stovetop for bigger batches.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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This type of steamer

is much more versatile than the bamboo steamers.   I have an older one made by Farberware that I have owned for at least thirty years.  The only difference is that mine has composition handles that remain cool when being used. 

I have one of the electric stackable steamers

like this but an older model

And I also have a huge couscousiere that I use on the stovetop for bigger batches.

Oh, how lovely. I think my snack bracket will not support one of these for now. The bamboo steamer is much less expensive, given the CDN$ and the S&H and the potential border parcel costs which can descend at any moment.. But one day... :wub:

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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  • 2 months later...

Laughed out loud :laugh: when I discovered the topic of bamboo steamers was actually started by me.

I want to buy a bamboo steamer. DH does not want a bamboo steamer. Says they can't be cleaned properly. Wants me to buy a stainless one instead. He is more germ conscious than I am.

What's the consensus on cleaning bamboo steamers?

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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The type of steamer Andiesenji mentioned is widely available in Asian markets across Canada, and an aluminium one will usually run you 20-30$ depending on size. I would agree that they are much more versatile and generally easier to use than bamboo steamers. But if you decide to stick with the bamboo steamers, a wok is generally best if you have space. You don't want to use a stir frying wok to steam though, as the prolonged boiling will eat away at all your precious seasoning. Remember to rotate the trays if you are cooking with multiple ones; the lower trays will cook faster than higher ones.

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I love the bamboo ones something fierce.

I use my 12" for my broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprout binges.

It's perfectly steams whatever I put in it, even fish. I use it for cooking en papillote all the time too.

No idea on cleaning it. I don't think I ever have, and yet, I live! :unsure::laugh:

The aluminum ones are recommended over the bamboo ones in every Asian book I own. I just haven't gotten around the buying one...yet.

Edited by fooey (log)

Fooey's Flickr Food Fotography

Brünnhilde, so help me, if you don't get out of the oven and empty the dishwasher, you won't be allowed anywhere near the table when we're flambeéing the Cherries Jubilee.

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I love the bamboo ones something fierce.

No idea on cleaning it. I don't think I ever have, and yet, I live! :unsure::laugh:

We too live despite my less than fanatical habits.

Thanks. I'll get a stainless one and end the discussion with the DH. :wink:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Bamboo steamers have been around for thousands of years so somebody much more qualified than me must have the answers.

I've got a few that I wash with warm soapy water when they look dirty or smell like food. I've also put them through the dishwasher which cleans them but must certainly shorten the lifespan. I like the big steamer for corn on the cob and other large veggies, and the kids like the mini steamers for individual servings.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

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I had to make sure I wasn't hallucinating with all the black tree mushrooms I've been eating, so here's a reference re:

"The aluminum ones are recommended over the bamboo ones..."
"If I had only one steaming device to recommend, it would be the modern aluminum steamer set. This is a stack of sheer practicality that includes, from bottom to top: one large stock pot for holding water, 2 perforated steaming tiers for holding the food, and one dome-shaped lid for holding the steam inside the pot. The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking, Techniques and Recipes, Tropp, Barbara, ch. Chinese Techniques: Steaming, p. 60

She goes on to talk about the advantages of the domed lid re:recondensation, etc.

The picture next to the quote looks identical to the aluminum steamer andiesenji linked to above.

You have to get the 26", though, so you can steam a whole suckling pig. :laugh:

Edited by fooey (log)

Fooey's Flickr Food Fotography

Brünnhilde, so help me, if you don't get out of the oven and empty the dishwasher, you won't be allowed anywhere near the table when we're flambeéing the Cherries Jubilee.

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I don't use mine often, but if I do they're on the cheap not very heavy wok. That way they don't sit in water. Work very well and I might rinse them if there's something stuck, which is not likely with steaming. Just don't put stuff with sauces on it in there. Any germ will be dead via cooking anyway. I'd NOT use soap on them though, as that soapy water will most certainly get into the bamboo.

I don't use soap on my wok either, just a brush and warm water.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Very little sticks to the bamboo. I generally just rinse mine off with water and allow to dry. The steam kills most everything anyway. I use mine for veggies and, occasionally, steamed buns made with a lean yeast dough. But, the buns go onto parchment squares before being placed inside. Anything sticky or saucy is in a separate bowl inside the steamer, and that bowl gets washed as usual in the dishwasher.

I like the steamer because it's easy to handle and cool to the touch, except for the metal stitches on the side.

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Very little sticks to the bamboo. I generally just rinse mine off with water and allow to dry. The steam kills most everything anyway. I use mine for veggies and, occasionally, steamed buns made with a lean yeast dough. But, the buns go onto parchment squares before being placed inside. Anything sticky or saucy is in a separate bowl inside the steamer, and that bowl gets washed as usual in the dishwasher.

I like the steamer because it's easy to handle and cool to the touch, except for the metal stitches on the side.

That's a good point, about the steam killing most everything. I think we'll still go for the stainless variety. DH will simply be happier... :cool:

I did make a sponge cake while away in my bamboo steamer, my first steamed cake, and I was so pleased. Should never have given it to my friend, thinking I still had one at home. :raz:

Thanks everyone for all the good advice.

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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My go-to recipe for this is a simple dried pasta dish that I developed while single: I start the pasta cooking, then put trimmed veggies in the steamer and maybe a little glass cup of sliced garlic with creme fraiche or butter. The butter or creme fraiche melts into a simple sauce and everything is done all at once. All you have to do is drain the pasta, toss some salt on the veggies, and plate everything in one bowl.

I just tried this today - wow!

Sliced up bell peppers (capsicum), onion, tomato, green and yellow zucchini, put some minced garlic in coconut milk (all I had) in a metal fingerbowl, draped a couple slices of bacon across the top layer (couldn't be completely veg!), then steamed them over a pot of farfalle.

Goodness, what a treat. Just a little salt/pepper/fresh grated parmesan and the entire family devoured it.

Definitely will be doing this again! Thanks for the tip!

PastaMeshugana

"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."

"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father

My eG Food Blog (2011)

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