How To Steam Vegetables
Steamed vegetables are a nutritious and quick choice for any dinner table. We show you two ways to properly steam vegetables - in a basket and by blanching.
Step 1: You will need:
- 200 g broccoli, cut into florets
- 200 g cauliflower, cut into pieces
- 200 g green asparagus
- 200 g green beans
- 60 g salt
- a little olive oil
- 2 ltr water
- some salt and pepper to taste
- 1 saucepan
- 1 steamer
- 1 bowl of iced water
- 1 tray, lined with paper towel
- 1 set of tongs
- 1 slotted spoon
- 1 small knife
Step 2: Heat the water
The first method of cooking is called "blanching". It is a quick way of cooking vegetables while retaining their nutritional values and this technique is especially good for green vegetables. Begin by placing the saucepan on a high heat and fill it with about with 2 litres of water. Now add the salt and bring it to a strong rapid boil.
Step 3: A Quick Tip
Use 30 ml of salt for every litre of water. The salt creates a barrier on the surface of the vegetables and also raises the temperature of the water, sealing in the nutrients.
Step 4: Blanch the vegetables
Now place the bowl of iced water next to the pan in preparation for 'shocking', the vegetables, later on. Then add the asparagus into the boiling water. Allow the water to come back to the boil then prick them with a small knife to check for readiness. The asparagus should be soft but firm at the same time. Blanching the asparagus for roughly 30-60 seconds is enough for it to be perfectly cooked. Remove them with your slotted spoon and place into the bowl of ice water, to shock the vegetables, for 30 seconds or until cold. This will immediately stop the cooking process as well as preserve colour, and crispiness. Once removed from the ice, set them aside on the tray lined with paper towel. Keeping them in a cold place will also help to maintain colour and freshness.
Step 5: A Quick Tip
Since all vegetables cook at a different pace always cook the different types separately.
Step 6: Add the remaining vegetables
Next add the broccoli and allow it to blanch for 60s. Then test it by pricking a knife in the stalk of the floret. Remove and place it in the iced water for 30s or more, until cold. Remove and place on the tray lined with paper towel. Add the green beans. Repeat the entire blanching process, for about 60s. Finally add cauliflower and blanch for 3-5 minutes. These vegetables can be reheated by placing them in hot water.
Step 7: Using a steamer
The second method of steaming is by using a traditional steamer. Begin by bringing the water to a boil over a high heat. Once the water begins to boil, close the steamer to allow its internal temperature to build.
Step 8: Add the vegetables
After the steamer has been covered for a minute, add the asparagus, the broccoli, the green beans and the cauliflower.
Make sure to keep them in separate groups. This will make them easier to remove when they finish, as each one cooks at a different time. After a minute and a half, prick all the vegetables with a knife, to test them. Then remove just the green vegetables. Place them onto a tray lined with paper, to drain a little. The cauliflower needs to steam for another 3 minutes. Remove it after this time
Step 9: Chef's top tip
Our chef recommends blanching vegetables rather than steaming as they maintain more nutrients and quality.
Step 10: Season, and serve
Transfer all your blanched and steamed vegetables onto a serving platter. Season to taste with olive oil, salt and pepper. Your vegetables are now ready to serve. They go wonderfully with any type of meat, can be served with a cheese or herb sauce or even just as they are.