True, gentle steaming might not sound as exciting as a sizzling pan. It requires extra tools, extra patience, and can seem extra boring (no flashy sautés in oil or Maillard reaction). But quiet steaming actually condenses the flavors of ingredients, almost magically making foods taste even more like themselves.
While we might still be discovering the secrets of steaming, award-winning food journalist and cook Hsiao-Ching Chou explains in her new book, Chinese Soul Food, that Chinese chefs have long practiced the art.
“The moist-heat cooking transforms yeasted doughs into airy buns, seafoods into intensified versions of themselves, meats into tender morsels of savoriness, and so on,” she writes.
Bamboo steamers are the most traditional Chinese style, and because they can be a little intimidating to use at first, Chou describes how to set one up:
Do you use a bamboo steamer? What are your favorite recipes to cook with moist heat?