For many years, health experts claimed that steaming is a far healthier option as compared to several conventional methods that we utilize to cook. This debate has been a rage since quite some time. Steaming works on a general principle of continuously boiling water which gives off steam and cooks the vegetables.
METHOD OF STEAMING:
There are two methods of steaming:
- Low pressure
- High pressure
In low pressure steaming, food may be cooked by direct or indirect contact with the steam. Direct – food is placed in a steamer or in a pan of boiling water and indirect – food is placed in between two plates over a pan of boiling water. High-pressure steaming is performed in a purpose-built equipment, which does not allow the steam to escape, hence reducing the cooking time.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF A STEAMED FOOD DIET
Cooking with steam is both healthy and versatile. Here are some of the benefits:
1. RETAINS THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF FOOD: Cooking with steam helps in conserving the fiber, color, texture and flavor of vegetables. It also helps in preserving the water soluble B & C vitamins, potassium, phosphorus & zinc so that one can gain the important nutrients from boiled vegetables. Steaming sustains 90% of the antioxidants present in fresh vegetables.
2. DOES NOT REQUIRE OIL: Steam cooking does not require oil and therefore, we obtain an overall healthy meal.
3. RETAINS CANCER-FIGHTING COMPOUNDS: Many vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, have anti-cancer components called the glucosinolates which are destroyed when over-cooked. By steaming them at a low temperature with minute amount of water, their miraculous compounds are retained.
4. LOWERS CHOLESTEROL: While cooking meats like chicken & fish, the steam removes all the fat from the meat. Whereas conventional cooking methods such as grilling, baking or frying cook the fat into the meat. Getting rid of the fat makes the meat lower in calories and lower in cholesterol.
IN A NUT SHELL, STEAM-COOKING:
Retains valuable nutrients, vitamins & minerals in food
Maintains food moisture & freshness
Soften food fibers making it tender & easily digestible
Does not require cooking oil or fat making it light & healthy
Cooks food faster & healthy (The fresher the food, the faster it cooks)
Is applicable to all kinds of food - poultry, seafood, vegetables, fruits, desserts etc.
Keeps the vibrant colors & natural flavors of food
Cooks over a single heat source by stacking trays, which is economical & saves time
Keeps your kitchen clean - no oil, no smoke, no mess - cleaning up is easy
COMMON FOODS THAT CAN BE STEAMED:
|FOOD GROUP||COMMON DISHES|
|CEREALS & PULSES||idlis,dhoklas, muthiyas, idiyappam, patra, steamed modaks, steamed barley/ quinoa pilaf|
|VEGETABLES & FRUITS||stewed veggies, steamed momos, stewed fruits|
|NON-VEG||poached egg, fish or chicken, egg pudding, steamed salmon.|