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Jun 20, 2012 09:32 AM

Do I need separate bamboo steamer for fish?

If I use my new bamboo steamer for fish will it smell like fish from now on?

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  1. You can use your bamboo steamer for both fish and other food items but, IMO, it's best to use a separate steamer for fish. Some use a light amount of soap to clean their steamer when cooking fish and that, I am told, makes it possible to cook fish and other foods in the same steamer. But I'm not sure I'd want to use soap to remove fish odors from the steamer. Regardless of what the steamer is used for, I believe that simply using a light brush and very hot water to clean the steamer, blot it, then air dry it, is sufficient. Of course, it's important to clean the steamer immediately after use; don't allow the food residues to dry on the bamboo surfaces.
    You can also lay the fish an a layer of banana leaves (or other vegetable leaves) while you steam them. Just don't pack them in so tightly that they impede the steam from moving through the enclosed layers of the steamer.

    2 Replies
    1. re: todao

      The little instruction booklet (yes I read the instructions!) says to always use a plate with fish to catch juices. But then am I really steaming, or just sort of baking/poaching?
      I will steam a few lemon slices first time to see how much of that smell remains.
      Brush? I own vegetable brush, basting brush -- one too stiff one too soft.

      1. re: blue room

        I normally steam with the fish not touching the plate by placing some green onion and sliced ginger between the fish and plate. If you are using lemons, I would layer the bottom so it would elevate the fish.

    2. Blueroom... I have a non-collapsible steamer insert that I prefer to use for fish. I'd rather use this than the bamboo steamer for both broccoli and fish. It sits on the inside rim of the pan. A 9" pie plate works perfectly and steamer is Very easy to clean...

      2 Replies
        1. re: blue room

          Yes, I do have both, BR... but I confess to using the stainless steel ones more often. I also have a larger non-collapsible steamer that a 10" pie plate fits into - it has Bakelite handles, one on each side. That one was my mother's. I tend to hang on to things much to my daughter's dismay.

      1. Bamboo is porous. It will retain strong odor quite well. If you don't have a steamer, you can easily jury rig with stainless steel plates/bowls.

        1. Having accidentally splashed my steamer a bit of the water that accumulated beneath a steaming bass, I would advise you to use a separate vessel for fish. It took hours of soaking, scrubbing and baking soda to put even the barest dent in the odor.