Steaming greens is an underutilized cooking approach in my kitchen. After my final journey to Japan, I pledged to treatment the difficulty. This easy, direct technique of cooking is without doubt one of the causes I really like consuming in Japan. I imply, let’s be sincere, I most likely like steamed greens greater than most, however I get pleasure from them exponentially extra there. One way or the other, lots of the issues I really like about touring there are summed up on this easy preparation.
I might typically obtain a sampling of seasonal produce as a part of a mix lunch. The greens arrived on the desk superbly organized within the bamboo basket they have been steamed in. I might work my method by a rainbow of vibrant, tender potatoes, squash, mushrooms, broccoli rabe, and the like, typically including a pinch of zesty shichimi togarashi, however as a rule, an informal toss of some grains of salt could be all. Every meal was a vibrant, satisfying reminder of simply how good greens will be when ready merely with care and intent. Their pure flavors coming by direct and ideal.
Escape the Steamer!
After this previous journey, my cheap, tri-level bamboo steamer was promptly dusted upon my arrival residence, and put into correct rotation. The factor that by no means ceases to shock me is the pace even probably the most hearty chunks of root greens or squash turn out to be tender – ten minutes, typically much less.
Selecting a Steamer
Bamboo steamers are straightforward to return by, and comparatively cheap. Go this route when you aren’t positive how typically you may use your steamer. The one draw back is that they take up a superb quantity of space for storing, not rather more than a giant pot, however nonetheless. These steamers can be found in a spread of diameters, and are fabricated from interlocking trays supposed for stacking on atop of the opposite. Positioned above simmering water, the steam from the water rises by the trays and cooks the meals. It is a easy premise that works astoundingly nicely. I exploit three trays, however you may definitely go up or down a degree.
I ultimately graduated to a ceramic steamer, and likewise picked up this Mushi Nabe, donabe steamer. Each are good as a result of you may make a broth or curry within the base, after which use steam the elements up above on the identical time. Any of the steamers make a pleasant leap from cooking to desk. If you wish to broaden past steaming greens, you may also steam all the pieces from dumplings and tofu to eggs, tamales and sure rices.
Some Recommendations on Steaming Greens:
Whereas steaming with water is commonest, I’ve additionally performed round utilizing miso broth, vegetable broth, vegetable dashi, or tea instead of water. Every imparts a distinct scent and taste to the greens. Extra occasions than not although, I exploit water.
Prepare your slowest cooking greens within the backside basket, working as much as the quickest. One other time saver is to get your densest, slowest cooking greens began in within the backside tray, when you prep the faster cooking greens for the mid and prime baskets. Place the lid on no matter basket is on prime on the time.
Some individuals line their steamers with cabbage leaves or parchment. I do not hassle, putting the greens straight on the steamer as an alternative. I like the way it appears to maintain the steam circulating. A fast scrub with scorching water and the tough aspect of a sponge makes clean-up easy.
When utilizing the bamboo steamer, you should use a wok (steamer sits above the simmering water) or extensive skillet (I set the steamer straight in a shallow skillet of simmering water)…A wok is extra conventional, and simpler in your steamer, however each strategies work nicely.
So, much less of a recipe, and extra of a reminder right now of how good probably the most fundamental preparations will be. Just a few years after I initially posted this, I did one other deeper dive into Utilizing your Underutilized Steamer. Have enjoyable! -h