Good coking has been an integral part of the brilliant and ancient Chinese culture from the beginning, but it is only comparatively recently that it has been acknowledged outside China as one of the three great “original” cuisine of the world.
Steaming is a method of cooking which is used very frequently in China and almost all ingredients including meats, chicken, fish, vegetables, eggs, dumplings, rice and even cakes can be steamed successfully. The purpose of steaming is to retain the pure, natural flavor and color of the food. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when following the recipes.
1) You must have a cooking utensil big enough to hold comfortably a stand, the platter containing the food and sufficient water to produce a great volume of steam when the utensil is covered.
2) When the food is steamed in a bowl or plate, the container is placed in a larger pan, insert the stand and the platter or dish first. Put the food inside only when the water boils until it comes two thirds of the way up the outer side of the bowl.
3) For seafood, when the seafood is steamed must keeps the heat to the maximum. For meat, the heat must turns it to medium. For custard or anything with eggs, use low heat. The flesh of seafood is more delicate than that of meat, meat with a freshness of taste that will be preserved only if you cook it as fast as possible. Meat with its coarser texture, it may acquire a coarse taste if steamed over too intense heat. The eggs need only enough heat to keep the water producing steam. Otherwise wrinkles will form on the surface of the custard.
4) A few minutes after putting in the food, take the lid off the utensil for a second to see how the food is
cooking. It is ready when neither underdone nor overdone. It is difficult to state the timing as so many minutes by the clock, since the quality and tenderness of any raw food can vary widely. By the experience you will learn what the food should look like or feel like at its best. Steaming does not take long, however, in a Chinese restaurant the waiter might return with your freshly cooked-to order steamed fish before you would down your Martini.
5) Plan to serve the food the moment it is cooked, piping hot, since steamed dishes do not taste their best when cooled to lukewarm. Remember, also, that because of the intense heat it has absorbed, the food will continue to cook after removal from the steamer.