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​Cooking with Bamboo: The Steamer


The desire to have an authentic experience with our food is common for many people. We want to find a connection with the things that allow us to sustain life, and food definitely falls under that category. The bamboo steamer is one method of making that connection healthy, tasty, and unique.

Bamboo steamers are traditionally used by the Chinese to steam food such as vegetables or dumplings. There are metal steamers available, but the person wishing to have a special food experience will always choose bamboo.

Parchment paper or banana leaves are placed in the lattice-bottomed baskets, and the food is layered on top. This keeps the flavors from seeping in to the bamboo. The trays are then placed in a large frying pan of water making sure that the sides of the trays do not touch the edge. Then, voila! You have your steamer set up.

Once the food in the bamboo trays or baskets is steamed (5 to 10 minutes), the steamer can be taken straight to the table where it becomes a serving vessel. This is where the true magic of the bamboo steamer begins.

Once the bamboo becomes a serving vessel, it changes the atmosphere at the table to one of natural, authentic, and visual flavor. Steaming the vegetables in this way allows the vegetables to keep their vibrant color and shape. It also allows them to retain their vitamin and mineral content.

As the lid on the vessel is opened, steam will rise through the layers, or trays, adding a certain ambiance to the table. Then, you can remove the food with utensils or your hands if the situation permits. Sometimes you’ll see bamboo steamer used for edamame appetizers.

Clean up of the bamboo steamer is not a dishwasher-safe process. However, the steamer cleans easily with warm soap and water. Make sure to completely dry your steamer prior to storage to avoid mold.

Owning something like a bamboo steamer can be a life changing move as far as food is concerned. It can alter consumption habits to those of fun and health by the simple act of being…awesome! However, it can also be the proverbial “bread maker” that never gets used and simply takes up room in the pantry.

If you do go down the bamboo steamer road, don’t let it collect dust from disuse. Enjoy it whenever possible. It is truly something that can epitomize love and appreciation for the food on your table. 

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