I'm thinking about purchasing a bamboo steamer. I was wondering if there is a particular kind that is good or if they are all the same? Also, are they easy to use and clean?
What kind of foods do you make in it? Any easy recipes? And how do you use it? Please excuse all the general, vague questions. I'm just in the 'deciding' phase.
In my experience they are all the same - just head to your nearest Chinatown. They are simple to use, fill the bottom of your wok with water and place the steamer on top so the bottom is just touching the water. Cleaning is simple, just water and a very small amount of soap, clean with a brush. My favorite thing to make in a bamboo steamer is dim sum.
I've steamed vegetables, fish and gyozi in them. The main tip I have is that they are MUCH easier to clean if you put down lettuce/cabbage leaves under whatever you're steaming.
I can not tell you which is better. We have both. What I have found is that steam leaves the bamboo steamer easlier. While the steam reforms in the metal one more and can get back into the food again. In the case of bao's (steamed bread) will make them a little wet. I have found it is least problem with the bamboo ones.
But I find the metal ones a little easier to clean.
I have both. Except for dripping condensation, aluminum is the more practical. I still love to use the bamboo, though.
I would recommend that whichever material you bye, that you get something reasonably large. Big aluminum steamers seem to be more common than big bamboo steamers. But you can find big bamboo ones.
I have also had good luck steaming with just a thirteen-inch circular cake rack and a tall wok lid.
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