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Cooking Frozen Ravioli in a Food Steamer

Creativity flourishes under impediment. I'm now in my fifth week of cooking almost all my own meals, exclusively in 1. a toaster oven and 2. an Oster food steamer appliance (see photo at http://www.jimleff.info/oster.html ).

I can make just about everything, believe it or not. Just requires resourcefulness.

But then I discovered that the deli down the block stocks this fantastic brand of frozen ravioli.

Is there any way to cook frozen ravioli in a food steamer? I can't see why not, but I just can't seem to get started on the idea.

the steamer does include a deep dish that can cook grains and reheat soup.

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  1. I'm sure you can. Asian dumplings and pot stickers which are essentially ravioli are all steamed.

    1. You might want to line the steamer with lettuce leaves or something to prevent the ravioli from sticking to the steamer. I don't see why it wouldn't work.

      14 Replies
      1. re: prunefeet

        so just lay 'em in the basket with the holes? Or in the inset dish? any water?

        1. re: Jim Leff

          also, how do i know when they're cooked? These are frozen raw.

          1. re: Jim Leff

            When I do dumplings on the stove, I use about an inch of water, line the basket w/ holes w/ lettuce or some greens (prevents sticking and holes in the dumplings), steam for about 10 minutes. I'd guess less time with raviolis since they're smaller. Maybe after 5-6 or so minutes, take one out and try it would be the best way but I've never oversteamed them. I think you'd have to leave them far too long for them to get mushy and overcooked.

            1. re: chowser

              May I ask why you have undertaken to have such a spartan kitchen? Necessity, or experiment?

              1. re: Gio

                Spartan? Because that's how frozen chinese dumplings are typically reheated? I'm not talking about the costco type of dumplings but the ones that are more like baos but without the light feathery dough like char su bao have. I used to use a bamboo steamer over a wok but found my Williams Sonoma steamer/pasta pot works fine. I do the same for char su bao and bolo bao and other steamed cakes, too, as well as dim sum foods. Like this:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiaolongbao

                1. re: chowser

                  Hey Chowser, I could be wrong, but I think Gio was asking Jim about HIS spartan conditions.

                  1. re: prunefeet

                    Ooh,--it was addressed to me but I wasn't sure why what I do would be considered "spartan." But, Jim Leff isn't one to have a spartan kitchen, and it's decked out with the Oster steam appliance. When you come right down to it, what chowhound doesn't have a pot for water and a stove top?

                    1. re: chowser

                      So sorry Chowser...I was questioning Jim Leff...( it's that old reply box in the "wrong" place thing.) I asked about spartan because he originally said he was only using his electric steamer & toaster oven.

                      1. re: Gio

                        LOL, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why steaming was spartan!

                        1. re: chowser

                          ROFL.... We steam vegetables all the time. In fact we've become so used to the taste of the real vegetable, we hardly ever even use S&P or olive oil. Usually the plain steamed vegetables are served with something grilled or roasted. I suppose I should push my own envelope and try steaming other food as Jim is doing.

                      2. re: chowser

                        "what chowhound doesn't have a pot for water and a stove top?"

                        me, actually. I've been living in temporary housing for several months. For several reasons, I'm stuck like this for a while. But I'm making the most of it, with my food steamer and toaster oven.

                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          Steaming Ravs, I have never done that and I steam veggies and the Chinese frozen dumplings and also mine that are fresh, or frozen. Are they cheese ravioli?

                          1. re: Jim Leff

                            Can you get a single burner? They're fairly inexpensive and expand what you can do tremendously. Or even an electric skillet? Although, it's probably a good challenge to see what you can create with only a steamer and toaster oven.

                            1. re: chowser

                              chowser, I keep expecting to be out of here any minute, so I'm not really into buying things, unpacking things, or otherwise settling in. Unfortunately, I'm in my third month of this. But, yes, creativity flourishes under impediment. And I'm trying desperately to eat no salt and nothing crazy (I killed my health with the Chow Tour http://www.chow.com/tour and am struggling to get back).

                              chef chicklet, yeah, spinach-cheese. I'm eating pretty much all veg these days.

          2. If there's a section of the steamer where you add water, can you also use that compartment to boil things? I bet steaming won't be bad, but just wondering. When I was living in spartan conditions, a cheap Rival water kettle came in handy. I boiled lots of things in it (ok, mostly eggs and ramen) and used it as a steamer by sticking one of those chinese bamboo baskets on top. I kind of found it very satisfying to cook like that. Good luck! What's the fantastic brand of ravioli?

            9 Replies
            1. re: traceybell

              cassinelli's, local to astoria queens (but I found a deli with them in jackson heights).

              NOTHING really boils in this thing. So I guess, per above (thanks, guys), I need to treat them like chinese dumplings. I mean...why not?

              And i can use the insert dish to heat the tomato sauce!

              1. re: Jim Leff

                Presumably the ravioli are dusted with some flour or cornstarch, which will get gummy if you steam rather than boil.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  yeah, come to think of it, they are. So...hmm. Thaw and rinse before steaming?

                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    Rinsing might help or try to knock off as much of the frozen flour as you can. Don't thaw them, as the dough will get waterlogged and turn mushy. You might be better off heating them in the tomato sauce to cook.

                    P.S. Probably not on your diet, but my mom makes a great marinated steak in the toaster oven.
                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/11156...

                    P.P.S. Is that a rice cooker behind the steamer in the photo?

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Yeah, but I hate the rice cooker. Works a lot better in the insert dish in the food steamer.

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        Okay, but couldn't you use the rice cooker to boil the ravioli?

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          can you do that?

                          otoh, even if you could, it's awfully small.

                          1. re: Jim Leff

                            Oh yeah, a rice cooker is very versatile. here's some advice.
                            http://www.sallyskitchen.com/

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              I still intend to get a pressure cooker, so I didn't want to mislead anyone to think that a steamer like the one I will describe will replace my eventual purchase of a pressure cooker!

                              While I have been investigating pressure cookers, a neighbor of mine tossed their Black and Decker HS 2776 double decker flavor scenter steamer deluxe food steamer. I had seen these before and I thought it to be a clever design. Not until I examined this, did I wonder about the safety and health aspect of steaming and cooking in plastic material, such as that which exists for this piece of equipment.

                              I have stainless steel steamer baskets that I put in my sauce pans and stock pots and steam this way. The advantage of the B&D steamer is the stacking design and portability allowing one to cook away from a stove.

                              The unit looked clean and after cleaning it, I turned the dial to the on position and within seconds I saw the water in the bottom section heating up and creating steam very quickly. What I also noticed was a plastic smell. Maybe that smell occurs when such a unit hasn't been used in a long time, but I thought again about plastic material being used for a steaming process.

                              I normally boil my rice in a covered sauce pan. I've never steamed it. Anyone have measurements of water to rice proportion? Cooking food in a plastic medium just seems bizarre to me, yet many people rave about these kinds of cooking instruments. I wonder if the hot temperature of the steam and the contact the food makes with the plastic as well as the smell going through the plastic would leach into the food. (I mean, if I can smell plastic, I'd think the small particles that my nose is sensitive to would not pick up the smaller particles that are going into the food, and because of the steaming process, would intensify the absorption into the food.) I think the more popular rice cooker containers use a different kind of material to hold the contents.

            2. I know this is an old thread, but I just did a search on this topic; this was the only response I found and I didn't think anyone answered the question well. So, I just made a batch of frozen ravioli in the steamer and it came out well. The texture is slightly more chewy than with the traditional method. Place frozen ravioli in the steamer, in the section with the holes not in the inner dish, in an even layer (it's okay if they overlap). Set timer for 22 - 24 minutes (maybe a little less if you are using small ravioli). Serve as usual. You are welcome!