The Aluminum Foil Hack For Steaming Food In A Pinch

Steaming meat topped with basil pesto
Steaming meat topped with basil pesto - Rapideye/Getty Images

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Some foods take particularly well to steaming like dumplings, buns, fish, and certain types of veggies. However, getting that perfect steamed effect can be difficult if you don't have the proper equipment to facilitate it. Steamer pots or steamer baskets are the standard, but not every home cook has one. Thankfully, there's an easy way to get around needing this specialized equipment. All you need is a pan, a lid, a heat-proof plate, and some aluminum foil.

Here's how it works — scrunch the aluminum foil up into a few wads and place them in the pan in such a way that the plate can rest on top of them, slightly raised from the skillet's bottom, per YouTube. Add water to the bottom of the pan, then put the food you want to steam on top of the plate, turn the heat up, and put a lid on top of everything. As the water at the bottom of the skillet heats, simmers, and evaporates, the steam stays trapped in the pan, gently cooking the food on the plate.

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Tips For Best Results

Aluminum foil roll and balls on pink background
Aluminum foil roll and balls on pink background - Mouse family/Shutterstock

There are some important notes to remember to ensure you get the best results possible and don't end up making a major steaming mistake. For instance, make sure you take time to arrange the plate and aluminum foil so they're completely stable in the pan. A wiggly, wobbly plate can lead to the dish falling, dropping your steamed food into the hot water and causing it to become simmered instead. Three aluminum foil wads should be enough to keep it stable. Foods with a flat bottom that will sit sturdily on the plate and not roll around too much are ideal — think fish filets, gyoza, and steamed buns, to name a few.

Be sure to use a deep enough skillet as well — you'll need to fit not just a layer of water into the pan, but the aluminum to raise the plate, the plate itself, and the food on top — and then you need to close the lid to boot. If the lid isn't closed tightly, the steam will escape and the food won't get cooked properly so be sure you'll have enough room in the skillet to make this hack work.

Other Ways To Steam Without A Steamer Pot

Colander isolated on white background
Colander isolated on white background - Cunaplus_m.faba/Getty Images

If the aluminum foil method isn't your style, there are other ways to get deliciously steamed food without having to invest in a steamer pot or basket. If you have a heat-resistant colander at your disposal, you can use this as a steamer basket. Simply put the food in the colander, place it on top of a large pot with water in the bottom, put a lid on top of the colander, and allow the food to steam.

If you don't have a colander available an aluminum pie pan will work as well, though you'll need to poke it a few times with a sharp knife to let the steam through. Use your knife carefully and make sure the perforations are big enough to vent steam but not large enough to let food slip through.

You can also steam food directly in your microwave. Just put the food in a bowl, add a touch of water, seal the dish with plastic wrap, and cook it. This method shines when it comes to vegetables that can take a little extra water, such as broccoli or sugar snap peas, though it'll also get meat and seafood cooked in a pinch.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.