How to Steam Vegetables the Right Way: 5 AmazingTricks

NDTV Food  |  Updated: March 21, 2018 11:49 IST

How to Steam Vegetables the Right Way: 5 AmazingTricks
  • Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables
  • It helps in retaining the flavours & nutritional value of the veggies
  • The good part is that you don't really need a steamer
Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables and perhaps the easiest too.  No fancy kitchen tools needed, no long hours spent and no complicated techniques involved. But who said steamed vegetables have to be bland and boring? We have few genius tricks that can help you make them taste amazing. You may not be a fan but steamed vegetables will always find their way on your dinner table – sometimes as a side with your meaty sizzler or sometimes as a simple salad. A plateful of flavoursome steamed vegetables makes for a light meal in minutes. Let us show you how.

The Traditional Way to Steam Vegetables 

One of the easiest ways to make steamed vegetables is to simmer them in hot water. The good part is that you don't really need a steamer. This method helps in retaining the true flavours and nutritional value of the vegetables. Pick the best seasonal vegetables and you won’t be disappointed. Use a large pot with filled with water (just enough so that it touches the bottom the other vessel) and place a colander or a steaming basket inside it. A steaming basket is a utensil with holes in it that allows the rising steam to come in contact with the vegetables.  Add the vegetables when the water starts to boil and then cover the colander with a lid. Keep a watch so that you don't end up overcooking them. All vegetables will have different cooking times depending on the quantity you use, and also their size and thickness. 

Vegetables like zucchini, carrots, green beans and cauliflower should take about six to eight minutes while those like broccoli, green peas and asparagus should be done in less than five minutes. Leafy produce like spinach may take even lesser time to cook. Before you begin, it's important to understand the difference between steaming and boiling vegetables. When you boil water, it creates steam which is really hot and helps in cooking the vegetables.On the other hand, in case of boiling the vegetables are immersed in water which is different from steaming where the vegetables do not touch the water and the steam does all the work. 
A steamer does make the task a tad easy as it takes care of everything. The water is at the right temperature, the vegetables are placed correctly and just enough steam escapes to control the process. Some steamers also have a timer to avoid overcooking but know that you can do without it just as well. 

Now that you're armed with the right knowledge, here are five fantastic tricks that can help you take that plate of steamed vegetables up a notch. 
steamed vegetables

1. Be sure to use the correct amount of water. Too less or too much water can affect the whole cooking process. Also, feel free to experiment with any other water base liquid like broth or tea leaves infused water. These can add a wonderful aroma and a subtle flavour to your veggies. You can also sprinkle some fresh herbs in the water or use some aromatics.

2. The lid you use should not completely cover the colander. It's good to leave an outlet for the steam to escape and for ventilation to cook faster. 

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3. Remember, that bigger chunks of vegetables will take longer to cook. Cut the vegetables in a uniform size to manage the cooking time. Also, if you are steaming different types of vegetables, arrange the ones that take longer to cook at the bottom of the steamer or the colander. Also, use vegetables that are younger and tender. 

4. Add your vegetables only when the water starts to boil. When you see steam emerging from the pot, it's ready for the vegetables. Add them and then turn the heat down to medium. 

Comments5. Season them right. You can use few drops of lime juice to the veggies this helps in brightening up their natural colours. You can even drizzle some vinegar (apple cider, balsamic or red wine vinegar) on the vegetables. The steam will cook off the acidity and make the vegetables taste sweeter.

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