I’m not sure if you can tell this about my personality from my posts alone? Or is it Post Malone?……. But I can be extremely impulsive!!!! Last week I had a craving for Asian buns (namely Mantou) so after work one day when I caught up with my folks for dinner at their’s, I suggested to go for a walk with them so on the way I could pick up a bamboo steamer from their local Asian grocer.
But my mum instead turns around, pulls open her cupboard and hands me a brand-new unused Bamboo steamer! And tells me that I could have it. *Shrugs*.
I assume most people are familiar with the above sight? You’d recognise it empty (after you’ve devoured whatever tasty dim-sim which used to sit within it), and you’d also recognise them stacked-up 10 high, recalling the sight of them obscuring the view of the diminutive Yum-cha trolley pushers?
But you and I can now have our very own Yum-cha at home! Just grab a selection of frozen buns and dim-sims from the freezer section of your go-to Asian grocer, and have yourself a cheeky after work Dim-Sim spread! Who needs to wait for the weekends?!
Obviously you don’t need a Bamboo Steamer to enjoy Yum-cha at home, but here are 5 advantages (that I can think of at least) why a bamboo steamer is superior to using a porcelain plate:
One. Evenly cooked – the bamboo steamer with its slatted bottom, ensures that the steam cooks the bun from the bottom up, thus ensuring a more even cook.
Two. Avoid soggy bottoms- when you use a plate, you run the risk of water pooling on the surface of the plate leaving you with a soggy bottom (and no one likes a soggy bottom). The slats in the bamboo cooker ensures that all moisture which lands on the surface drains back down to the bottom of the wok, which gets re-steamed.
Three. Stackable- as the bamboo steamer is designed to be stacked one-on-top-of-each-other, if you want you can elect to purchase 2, and using a deeper pot, you can cook double the amount of dim-sims at the same time!
Four. Reduced over-hang – depending on the size of your wok or pot, in the past if you use a plate, it might be so wide that there isn’t much space in-between the edge of the plate and your cooking device, thus inhibiting the movement of steam. But because the bamboo basket has no over-hang, it allows free movement of steam, which equates to a faster cooking time and an evenly cook bun (important if your buns are meat filled).
Five. Easy to pick-up – as bamboo doesn’t conduct heat like a porcelain plate does, when it’s ready, it’s super easy to remove from the wok with fingers! No risk of shrieking in surprise by how hot the plate has gotten, and then dropping it!
The only other apparatus you’ll need is a wire tripod frame to balance your steamer over the 1cm depth of water. And perhaps a sheet of paper towel or a leaf of lettuce, to place at the bottom of the steamer, to avoid the bun-bottom from sticking (as everyone likes an intact bottom).
To this day I don’t know how much a bamboo steamer actually costs. I’m thinking it can’t be much more than $10 if that?
Kmart sells one for $10, while if you gain more confidence in brand names, Avanti has one for $24.95. If you’re inspired to get a bamboo steamer, happy steaming! Say hello to Tuesday night Yum-cha at yours!