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Looking to buy some Bamboo Steamers, have a few questions.

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I am looking to make dumplings, and possibly some other food using bamboo steamers.

 

I've been reading that The flavors will soak into the bamboo, so you should use parchment, or cabbage to protect the bamboo.

 

I was curious if one would be better than the other?  I would assume that unless there were a lot of holes in the parchment, there wouldn't be too much steam (depending circular or not, but if square then would probably still cover the top), or cabbage which would allow steam to come through, but possibly cover the dumplings.

 

Since the steam rises, I'm not really sure how much  steam stays within each steamer section...

 

 

I'm curious if anyone has any recommendations for this?

 

I'm also curious if people use a tortilla press, or just a rolling pin to flatten the dough.  I've read to use a press, but I just saw a video that using a rolling pin, so I might use a pin instead....  I also read you need to protect the iron from rusting  on the press, and also the dough will stick, so you need parchment?

 

 

Thanks for any advice.

post #2 of 25

I use lettuce leaves to line my steamer sections.

Cabbage would be too thick (unless you are using Napa cabbage)

 

Many of them come with 3-sections. You can fill each section and steam everything at once....(pot stickers, small rolled items,etc...)

Steam is much hotter than boiling water so things cook very quickly.

You don't need to cover anything while steaming.

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post
 

I use lettuce leaves to line my steamer sections.

Cabbage would be too thick (unless you are using Napa cabbage)

 

Many of them come with 3-sections. You can fill each section and steam everything at once....(pot stickers, small rolled items,etc...)

Steam is much hotter than boiling water so things cook very quickly.

You don't need to cover anything while steaming.

 

Thanks, I'll use lettuce then, thanks!  I saw it asked for Napa Cabbage, but I figure that might be hard to get (not sure it's in regular food markets).

 

The ones I am looking at are 2 sections, but figured I could add more if I bought a second set.

 

I wasn't looking to cover them, just figured parchment, or other things that are too big might cover.  I've seen round parchment circles, but I also saw someone took a too big square piece and it covered the dumplings, which I wasn't sure would affect the steam's ability to cook or not.

 

 

Also the amount of stacks doesn't matter when cooking with these?  I could have 6 stacked up and It would still work the same?

 

 

Thanks a lot :)

post #4 of 25

Napa cabbage leaves as lining is a good way to go. They are almost for sure found in Asian grocery stores if you have one near you, not pricey either.

I don't know why you're wanting to cover the foods? Lining the bottoms of each basket should be enough.

 

Edit - sorry, poor reading on my part. You could always trim roughly to shape of either the leaves or parchment paper, based on how you want to go. I haven't had experience of the food really being covered much by the leaves.

post #5 of 25

Not so much about flavor transfer but that the dumpling wrappers will stick to the bamboo.

 

Parchment, leaves are all fine.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #6 of 25

If you haven't used a steamer before : Most asian supply stores carry a round steel "lid," or plate with holes in it that fits into the wok and the steamer rests on top. I don't use a wok because the water ruins the seasoning, but use the plate on top of a ss rondeau type pan.

 

The plate is something like this, but without the feet : 

 

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Metal-Food-Cooking-Stockpot-Steamer-Rack-Plate-Silver-Tone-22cm-Dia/47609059

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by foody518 View Post
 

Napa cabbage leaves as lining is a good way to go. They are almost for sure found in Asian grocery stores if you have one near you, not pricey either.

I don't know why you're wanting to cover the foods? Lining the bottoms of each basket should be enough.

 

Edit - sorry, poor reading on my part. You could always trim roughly to shape of either the leaves or parchment paper, based on how you want to go. I haven't had experience of the food really being covered much by the leaves.

 

I'm not really sure what is near me, so I will have to adventure around.  IS ther a difference between the napa cabbage and lettuce?

 

It's okay, it was late when I wrote my post, so maybe I was confusing.

 

I know you could cut to shape, but was just interested in a scientific talk about how steam flows and interacts with food.  It looks like it just floats up, but does it get trapped in the steamer racks themselves?  I just figured if more was covered up,. less steam would be able to move though.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post
 

Not so much about flavor transfer but that the dumpling wrappers will stick to the bamboo.

 

Parchment, leaves are all fine.

At first I thought that it was meant to prevent sticking, but everything I've seen mentioned "to stop the flavor from transferring" one video even said that she doesn't use veggies in her big steamer, because the flavors leech.

 

Is it maybe not flavors as much as it staining the bamboo with smells?  Maybe the flavor isn't impacted that much?

 

Idk I would like to find more about this.

 

Thanks :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake t buds View Post
 

If you haven't used a steamer before : Most asian supply stores carry a round steel "lid," or plate with holes in it that fits into the wok and the steamer rests on top. I don't use a wok because the water ruins the seasoning, but use the plate on top of a ss rondeau type pan.

 

The plate is something like this, but without the feet : 

 

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Metal-Food-Cooking-Stockpot-Steamer-Rack-Plate-Silver-Tone-22cm-Dia/47609059

 

So this goes in between the pan/wok and the steamer?  What exactly is the purpose for this?  So that it doesn't burn/contact the water?

 

You mentioned the wok will ruining the seasoning (why is it different than a pan)?

 

I have an older taller wok that might not work out, but I have pans that should work great :).  I could also buy a new pan, since I'm buying a bunch of stuff anyways :).

 

 

Does material of the pan matter?  Stainless will work?

 

Thanks a lot :).

post #8 of 25
I use a bamboo steamer for one(1) main simple reason ... it's $15 and a stainless one is $75. I get a new one every three(3) or so years. NO matter how well you try to take care of them ... they don't last forever. I use mine 98.6% of the time for making tamales. I generally pack 10-12 tamales into a ziploc bag and steam them for +/- 40-minutes. They come out just fine. Hotter than the Sun ... but still. I also use my wok to sit the steamer in. I've never had any issues at all with the "seasoning" of said wok. In all my years cooking I've never had any "residual flavors" or "flavor transfer". I don't only cook tamales. Just a lot lately. Mine always have had lids. The steam does it's job. Nothing on the top was ever any less cooked or anything on the bottom over cooked.
post #9 of 25

You can cross wooden chopsticks in a tic tic tic toe pattern and then place a heatproof plate on top of the chopsticks. Essentially free. But yeah, boiling water in the wok is not good for the seasoning.

 

If you're sources a are worrying about flavor transfer, get some better sources. The wrapper d isn't leak flavor to speak of.

 

Water breaks down the patina. You'll seea line in your patina that matches the water line. Darker above paler below.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #10 of 25

IMG_2605.jpg

http://startcooking.com/public/IMG_2605.jpg

 

The one on the left is napa. 

You're cooking things for long enough that the steam will permeate and it's going to be a 'sauna' for the foods :)

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

I wanted to ask everyone if you would recommend a tortilla press over a rolling pin for making dumpling dough?  IT seemed easy with a rolling pin, but some people suggested it might be a lot of work.

 

Itr just seems like taking care of a cast iron press might be work, and need proper storage, plus I would need parchment or something to separate the press from the dough from what I see, so it doesn't stick? It also seems to protect the longevity of the cast iron, but I don't know how flour reacts with iron.  I would assume it would stick, unless you added more flour?

 

 

I also was thinking about where I would even make this dough.  I figured most people seem to use a cutting board (or a wooden board surface), but I ended up finding this http://www.webstaurantstore.com/ateco-691-25-x-20-canvas-pastry-cloth-with-silk-screened-measurements-and-rolling-pin-cover-august-thomsen/144691.html

 

It sounds interesting, but not too sure about this "special release coating" business...

 

Is this something that would be nice to use, if not should I get a decent sized wooden board for this, or what do people like to use as a work area for dough making/  It seems flour to stop sticking is also important.

 

I'm not really sure what kinds of things I need, but should learn more when I get these cookbooks...

 

 

Thanks all for any help with this stuff!

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

I use a bamboo steamer for one(1) main simple reason ... it's $15 and a stainless one is $75. I get a new one every three(3) or so years. NO matter how well you try to take care of them ... they don't last forever. I use mine 98.6% of the time for making tamales. I generally pack 10-12 tamales into a ziploc bag and steam them for +/- 40-minutes. They come out just fine. Hotter than the Sun ... but still. I also use my wok to sit the steamer in. I've never had any issues at all with the "seasoning" of said wok. In all my years cooking I've never had any "residual flavors" or "flavor transfer". I don't only cook tamales. Just a lot lately. Mine always have had lids. The steam does it's job. Nothing on the top was ever any less cooked or anything on the bottom over cooked.

 

Makes sense :).  I like the authenticness of it :P.

 

I don't mind replacing them, but the reviews on amazon were complaining about a few uses, or a few weeks, not a year or so.

 

Ziplock bags are safe to be steamed?  I figured they might start melting at some point.

 

Awesome that you can use these steamers for so many different things.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post
 

You can cross wooden chopsticks in a tic tic tic toe pattern and then place a heatproof plate on top of the chopsticks. Essentially free. But yeah, boiling water in the wok is not good for the seasoning.

 

If you're sources a are worrying about flavor transfer, get some better sources. The wrapper d isn't leak flavor to speak of.

 

Water breaks down the patina. You'll seea line in your patina that matches the water line. Darker above paler below.

 

So the seasoning/patina would break down just from excess water usage?  I guess stir fry happens so fast that there is not much liquid forming, and steaming takes awhile..?

 

 

I'll probably just use a pan then.  Do I need one of those riser things that was linked above to separate the steamer from the pan?

 

A few videos I saw spoke about why they use the parchment or cabbage and it spoke about flavor, one spoke about not using veggies due to it staining the bamboo with a smell.

 

I've always liked seeing lettuce/nappa cabbage but I do see a lot of people using parchment these days....

Quote:
Originally Posted by foody518 View Post
 

IMG_2605.jpg

http://startcooking.com/public/IMG_2605.jpg

 

The one on the left is napa. 

You're cooking things for long enough that the steam will permeate and it's going to be a 'sauna' for the foods :)

 

Interesting.  Seems like the length works well with the steamers.  But overall doesn't matter what we use right?

post #12 of 25
LB ... there is a simple correlation between how long something lasts and how you take care of it. Cheap junk is just that ... cheap junk. I shake mine out, wipe it dry and stash it in the oven (no heat, it's just a good place). I have bought my steamers from a very nice Asian store. They were inexpensive @ $15. Every time I'm buying one the woman there tries to get me to buy the stainless steamer.

As for woks and petina ... I'm not arguing with anyone, I'm just explaining my experience. The petina in mine is just fine. I wash it with ordinary dish-soap and hot water using a green or blue sponge scrubbie. When I use it I get it hot for a few seconds and splash in some oil for a few seconds then wipe it out with brown roll paper towel. In less than a few minutes it's ready to go. The petina is none the less for the wear. After idiots have used it, scorching the bageebies out of stuff caked to the bottom ... I just scrape it out with a junky metal spatchula and then boil some dish-water in it for 10-or so minutes and it cleans right out. Again ... the petina is still there.

It takes more than 213*F / 101*C to melt plastic bags.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

LB ... there is a simple correlation between how long something lasts and how you take care of it. Cheap junk is just that ... cheap junk. I shake mine out, wipe it dry and stash it in the oven (no heat, it's just a good place). I have bought my steamers from a very nice Asian store. They were inexpensive @ $15. Every time I'm buying one the woman there tries to get me to buy the stainless steamer.

As for woks and petina ... I'm not arguing with anyone, I'm just explaining my experience. The petina in mine is just fine. I wash it with ordinary dish-soap and hot water using a green or blue sponge scrubbie. When I use it I get it hot for a few seconds and splash in some oil for a few seconds then wipe it out with brown roll paper towel. In less than a few minutes it's ready to go. The petina is none the less for the wear. After idiots have used it, scorching the bageebies out of stuff caked to the bottom ... I just scrape it out with a junky metal spatchula and then boil some dish-water in it for 10-or so minutes and it cleans right out. Again ... the petina is still there.

It takes more than 213*F / 101*C to melt plastic bags.

 

Interesting, maybe I'll store mine in the oven too, as there isn't much place for storage in this kitchen.  How come you didn't buy a stainless one?  Are they much better, or just last much much longer?  There is definitely that the coorelation between care and longevity, but like you said junk is junk, and if you get junk it wont matter.

Thanks for the info on the wok, I feel my wok isn't wide enough for this task, so I think one of the nice SS pans I have, with sides, should work PERFECT for this.  Still debating on that steamer rack thing that was posted above....  Is that needed, or just good to ahve?

 

 

Thanks for the info on the bags, not sure at what temp stuff starts leeching.

post #14 of 25
It's really very simple ... I'm kinda cheap.


$15 vs. $75

If I could peal away $75 ... I'd go stainless. Bamboo however ... has a more, I don't know ... a cool sorta old-school feel.
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

It's really very simple ... I'm kinda cheap.


$15 vs. $75

If I could peal away $75 ... I'd go stainless. Bamboo however ... has a more, I don't know ... a cool sorta old-school feel.

 

I like the authentic look of the bamboo, Idc about the price really.  I like the fact I can stack a bunch on top of each other also ( not sure what the stack limit is).

 

It also is easy to serve the dumplings in each rack at the tablet, as I'm not sure how esay the SS ones would be.

post #16 of 25

I ended up going stainless. It was more like $35 for cheap stamped steel. It was more about steamer capacity than durability. It was tough to make enough dumplings for the family or guests in the bamboo. Has been nice for whole fish, steamed rice and dim sum.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post
 

I ended up going stainless. It was more like $35 for cheap stamped steel. It was more about steamer capacity than durability. It was tough to make enough dumplings for the family or guests in the bamboo. Has been nice for whole fish, steamed rice and dim sum.

 

How big was yours?  I see sizes up to 12" diameter  http://www.webstaurantstore.com/town-34212-bamboo-steamer-set-12/88534212.html

 

Also stacking should be able to work out enough I would assume?

 

 

Curious what your issue was with that?

 

 

Do you make your own dough for dumplings?  Curious about your procedures :).

 

Thanks!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake t buds View Post
 

If you haven't used a steamer before : Most asian supply stores carry a round steel "lid," or plate with holes in it that fits into the wok and the steamer rests on top. I don't use a wok because the water ruins the seasoning, but use the plate on top of a ss rondeau type pan.

 

The plate is something like this, but without the feet : 

 

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Metal-Food-Cooking-Stockpot-Steamer-Rack-Plate-Silver-Tone-22cm-Dia/47609059

 

So I was a little confused if you use this as just a steamer, or if you put the bamboo steamer on top of this?  from this link

 

http://www.webstaurantstore.com/12-3-4-round-steamer-rack/922STR1275.html

 

It seems like it it's own unit, but I think this would fit nicely to keep the bamboo out of water, so I might get one of these anyways.

 

 

I would assume less contact of water on bamboo, would be best for the bamboo longevity?  Maybe possibility for more water? 


Edited by LasagnaBurrito - 6/12/16 at 10:05pm
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Crap, sorry double post...
post #19 of 25

@LasagnaBurrito Yes. The rack lifts the steamer out of the water. The link you posted is for using in pans that have a completely flat bottom. Woks don't(well, even flat bottom woks are mostly parabola-like), so the rack sits along the inside of the the wok wall without the need for feet. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by phatch View Post

 

Water breaks down the patina. You'll seea line in your patina that matches the water line. Darker above paler below.

I had a distinct line created by the water and the rack. Stopped using the wok for steamed dumplings and the line went away. 

post #20 of 25

Everyone has an opinion and a story.  I use my wok just fine for my bamboo steamer.  It sits above the water nicely secure, with enough water to steam nicely for 40+ minutes without having to refill.  When done, minimal work gets them both clean and put away.  

post #21 of 25

Depends on the dumpling. I use commercial skins if they're available. Or tofu skin if it's that kind of thing. I've made some wheat starch and dual skins as for crystal dumplings. Just depends.

 

It's a 13 inch steel steamer.  My bamboo  was 10 inches and 3 layers. On a 14 inch wok,10 inch is as big as the steamer should be.

 

Tortilla presses don't press thin enough. And not all doughs press well. Dumpling presses only make one shape and size.

 

I have no special techniques. I'm slow to do any of it  But there's a lot of good steamed food beyond dumplings. Dumplings is just something I've explored a bit.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post
 

Depends on the dumpling. I use commercial skins if they're available. Or tofu skin if it's that kind of thing. I've made some wheat starch and dual skins as for crystal dumplings. Just depends.

 

It's a 13 inch steel steamer.  My bamboo  was 10 inches and 3 layers. On a 14 inch wok,10 inch is as big as the steamer should be.

 

Tortilla presses don't press thin enough. And not all doughs press well. Dumpling presses only make one shape and size.

 

I have no special techniques. I'm slow to do any of it  But there's a lot of good steamed food beyond dumplings. Dumplings is just something I've explored a bit.

 

What do you mean by "commercial" skins, meaning the store bought ones?

 

 

Should the steel steam rack be bigger than the bamboo steamer?  I would assume as that as long a rack holds the steamer up it should work.

 

Thanks for the info on the press, I actually just made a topic about this, guess I didn't need it.

 

What kind of rolling pin should I get?  They recommend smaller dowel ones that are thin in diameter, so I found this one http://www.webstaurantstore.com/ateco-20175-20-maple-wood-tapered-french-rolling-pin-august-thomsen/14420175.html

 

but it's a bit too long, so not sure if that matters though since they recommend 12", someone end recommend a smaller one of 4".....

 

 

 

Steamed food sounds interesting in general, I want to explore more for sure!

 

Thanks!

post #23 of 25
I like the IKEA stabil steamer insert.
http://m.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/art/30152346/
Cheap, stackable and dish washer safe.
Only benefit I can see with bamboo is that they look good enough to serve from.
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAH42 View Post

I like the IKEA stabil steamer insert.
http://m.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/art/30152346/
Cheap, stackable and dish washer safe.
Only benefit I can see with bamboo is that they look good enough to serve from.

 

Nice, thanks!

 

Yeah, the Bamboo has the authentic look, and people use them to serve ,which I find very important imo, as I don't have to move any dumplings.

post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 

I just read that you should soak the bamboo in water when you first get it?

 

 

Are there are steps that we should take to season or prepare the steamer for first time use?

 

 

Also, is there any specific temp/setting on our stoves we should be using with this, or should it be max temp/boiling water to steam?  Not sure if there is specific uses for more or less steam, I think of this due to the notion of "low and slow" when doing meat bbqing or smoking.

 

 

thanks all.

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