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Bamboo Steamer Recipes

I just received my Joyce Chen 2-tier bamboo steamer in the mail and am eager to start cooking with it. Now, I know you can cook “anything” in these steamers, from reading what others have said, but I’d like some guidance. I purchased the paper lines to put in the bottom for easy cleanup, too.

First, I need to know how to make rice in the steamer. My rice cooker just died a few days ago, but from what I've read this will do the job. Any tips?

Second, I don’t cook fish in this apartment, the smell gets everywhere and makes my fiancé ill after awhile, so I need chicken, beef or pork recipes.

Any cooking tips, personal recipes or websites would be greatly appreciated. :)

(I hope this isn’t a duplicate post, I did a search for Bamboo Steamer Recipes and didn’t pull up much. Also, I hope this belongs in “Home Cooking” instead of “Cookware,” it seems like it should to me…)

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  1. I would Google "en papillote recipes" and go from there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DPGood

      Thanks :) There's always that way-too-simple answer that I'm missing...

    2. I don't have the type steamer you do - just several styles of inserts used with regular saucepans. But I do recall seeing cooks like Martin Yan putting foods onto the plates they'll be served on, then putting the whole shebang into the steamer, one plate per tier. That will save you time if you are steaming your side vegetables, with a separately cooked piece of meat to be added to the plate.

      1. I have a well worn and very useful dim sum cookbook that I have used over the years to replicate many of the dishes found at a typical dim sum meal.
        Steamed rice in a banana leaf, shark fin dumplings, steamed pork buns, har gow,etc.

        I also like using the bamboo steamer for holding and warming hot dog buns for a crowd.

        1. Tamales! Google will help with instructions.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ChiliDude

            I've been meaning to find a good tamales recipe! I didn't realize you can make them in a bamboo steamer, thanks for that. :)

            1. re: ChiliDude

              That sounds awesome! Thanks for the idea.

            2. I'm not a bamboo steamer expert, by any means, but I mostly use mine to steam sweet bean paste and other buns.

              To cook sweet (glutinous) rice, I line it with a double layer of cheesecloth, then spread the soaked and rinsed rice over that. The amount really doesn't matter. The more you have, the longer it takes to cook. I put a few inches of water in the pot, then turn it on and set the steamer on that. When the rice is translucent (about 20-25 min), it's done. This is the type of rice used for sticky coconut rice with mango, but I see no reason why you couldn't steam some other kind of rice using the same technique. (Of course, other rice will turn opaque, not translucent, when done.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: Isolda

                Thanks for the tip about rice. I've been meaning to buy some glutinous rice as I adore mango sticky rice, its my favorite dessert.

                I'll try it out today with white rice... I figure an hour of soaking time should do.

                1. re: Levaeria

                  I used to cook rice in my steamer (before I got a rice cooker). I just put one or two cups in a small round lidded casserole dish (1- 1 1/2 quarts) with the water and put it on one tier of the steamer. It's been so long, I can't remember how long it took, but do remember it turned out fabulous and was very easy.

              2. I take a ceramic or clay bowl (dishwasher safe is good). Most of the regular bowls you use will work as well. Take a filet or a cleaned fish (I like tilapia but you can use your favourite) and rinse it well. Pat dry. Make shallow cuts on both sides of the fish if you are using a whole fish. If you are using a filet, don't cut it. Then add sliced ginger, green onions and top with oyster sauce. Don't be afraid to add a few tablespoons or more. If you used the whole fish, stick the ginger and onions in the cuts you made. Steam until cooked and serve over jasmine rice. When it's cooked, the fish releases broth and the oyster sauce is not overwhelming.

                2 Replies
                1. re: S_K

                  I do that as well, but the OP specifically said "no fish recipes".

                  1. re: Breezychow

                    Whoops! Missed that, thanks for the reminder Breezychow! My dad likes to steam lightly seasoned chicken with onions or garlic prior to a stir fry because he says it makes the meat juicy and tender.

                2. I do mostly dim sum in mine, of which there are a multitude of recipes out there. The one tip I'll mention is that instead of buying "paper liners", use the tough outer leaves of cabbage &/or lettuce to line your steamers.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Breezychow

                    I've been wanting to try making dim sum for awhile now. I actually started trying to track down a doable recipe right before reading your post.

                    Thanks for the tip about leaves, much more reasonable than the liners. :)

                  2. Dragonboat festival is coming up, so you could make zhong zi.

                    One warning for the bamboo steamers - you have to make sure they are completely dry after using them, or they will mould. If anyone knows how to completely dry these out (without the use of an oven) I'd love hints, as I keep having to replace steamers covered in green.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                      Wow. I've had my bamboo steamer since 1974 (purchased in a tiny little Chinese market) & it's still going strong. No problems, & certainly not mold.

                      All I do after use is rinse thoroughly in very hot water - using a plastic scrub pad if necessary - & leave in my sink-side dish drain rack for a couple of days before putting it away..

                    2. It's a good device for assembling the parts for a curry dish in a healthy fashion. Cut your veggies, tofu, etc to appropriate sized pieces. Start the lower lever with the things that take longer to cook. While steaming, saute some aromatics (onion, garlic, ginger, etc in a pan and get your sauce done. Make your noodles or rice while all this is going on and stir your fixins into your curry sauce.

                      1. Here is a link to a post about a vietnamese recipe for steamed chicken with tomato that is amazing and easy. The chicken and tomatoes are in a bowl with some seasonings and the condensation gathers in the bowl to make the sauce.

                        I also like to steam dumplings (either homemade or store bought) the last couple of minutes I through green beans/asparagus whatever on top of each layer. When it's done each layer is a complete meal.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: corneygirl

                          I like amazing and easy recipes. May we please have the link?

                          1. re: corneygirl

                            Sorry, I meant to put the link up yesterday. I do this with email attachments too...


                            On second look it seems that the recipe calls for a bowl in water - but I think you could use the steamer too!

                            1. re: corneygirl

                              THANKS corneygirl. I have the general idea, but would it be possible to list the ingredients and their amounts? That would not violate copyright.

                              1. re: Joebob

                                Ga Hap Ca (Vietnamese Steamed Chicken With Tomatoes)

                                Chicken Steamed with Tomatoes - Ga Hap Cha

                                1. re: Antilope

                                  BIG THANKS Antilope. Cherry tomatoes are readily available here, so I WILL make this.

                          2. Chinese Style Steamed Pork Buns

                            This is one of my favorite recipes. All of the ingredients
                            may not be strickly authentic, but this turns out really good
                            and I think it tastes just like what you get at a Chinese restaurant.


                            Steamed Buns:
                            1 1/2 cups warm water (95°F to 105°F)
                            3 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
                            3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
                            4 cups all-purpose flour
                            2 tablespoons cooking oil
                            1 teaspoon baking powder
                            1/2 teaspoon salt

                            Bun Filling:
                            1 cup (about 8 ounces) shredded already cooked pulled pork or chicken (canned ok)
                            1/2 cup barbeque sauce
                            1 tablespoon soy sauce
                            1 tablespoon cooking oil
                            1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
                            1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
                            1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce
                            1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
                            1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


                            Steamed Buns:
                            1. Stir yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar into 1-1/2 cups of warm water (95°F to 105°F). Let stand for 15-minutes.

                            2. Mix yeast water, 2 more tablespoons of sugar, flour, cooking oil, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl. Stir until dough forms.

                            3. Knead dough for 10-minutes.

                            4. Allow dough to rise in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours.

                            5. Punch dough down and divide into 12 pieces.

                            6. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then flatten into a 6-inch circle.

                            7. Place about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of meat mixture in center of dough and pull dough up over filling and pinch seams closed to form filled bun.

                            8. Place buns on individual 4-inch x 4-inch pieces of parchment paper.

                            9. Allow to rise in warm place 1 hour, until doubled in size.

                            10. Steam buns, in steamer, over boiling water for 20-minutes or use electric steamer.

                            11. Remove from steamer. When cool enough to handle, remove parchment paper from bottom.

                            12. Serve warm.

                            Bun Filling:
                            1. Place all ingredients in food processor.

                            2. Process until ingredients are blended and chopped fine.

                            3. Use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture per bun.

                            Makes 12 steamed pork buns

                            1. I make steamed cheeseburgers and holiday carrots in mine (not simultaneously!).

                              Steamed cheeseburgers are a regional specialty of central Connecticut--one I proudly make at home and can make RARE unlike local restaurants with steamer boxes! Try it once before you judge. You just might be hooked! Details here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/671853

                              My next-door neighbor used to make holiday carrots years back. It's simple, looks pretty in a bowl on a holiday table, and most important--tastes great! Steam carrots with sliced apricots and golden raisins, toss with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. As I always like to add, my family secret (more like our family joke) is that crinkle cutting the carrots makes them taste better. In my own little head, I really believe they do, too.

                              Steam on! >>^..^<<