How to steam – Steaming as a basic cooking method

How to steam – Steaming as a basic cooking method

Steaming is one of the healthiest cooking methods since it helps foods maintain most of their nutrients and not absorb extra calories from greasy substances.

Also, steaming does not affect the flavor of the food and keeps it succulent.

Foods also suitable for steaming are:

  • Meat : soft cuts, mainly fillets
  • Fish : whole small fish or fillets
  • Vegetables : cut
  • Rice : used as a rule in Asian cuisine.

The sauces which accompany steamed foods are prepared separately. You must, however, bear in mind that they must not overwhelm the simple flavor of a steamed food.

A very interesting variation of this method is cooking in parchment paper or "en papillote", as is the French term. The food is ‘packed’ in parchment paper and baked in the oven. The steam produced cannot escape so the food is cooked in its own juices and becomes very tender and flavorsome.

In steaming, heat is transferred to the food via the steam. This can be achieved in 2 ways:

  • The first is to use a steamer which channels steam during cooking.
  • The second, and more practical for domestic situations, is described here, in the steps that follow. 

To see those steps of the steaming cooking method, follow the photos order. 


  1. Bring a pot of water to a slow boil.

    The water can be flavored with aromatic vegetables, herbs or spices.

  2. Place a perforated container on top of the saucepan making sure it fits exactly.

    You can find various solutions on the market.

    A good idea is to use a bamboo basket used in Asian cooking.

  3. Place the food in the perforated container.

  4. Season with salt and pepper.

    You can also add flavored liquids or fruit juices, aromatic vegetables, spices, etc.

  5. Cover with the appropriate lid or with foil to stop the steam from escaping.

  6. Cook for as long as necessary.


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