Steaming Pork

Steaming is a moist heat method of cooking. It results in tender and moist meat through the use of steam. When steaming meat, minimum shrinkage occurs, and it is one of the most healthy methods of cooking because no additional fat is used. Although water is used in this process as in boiling, the meat retains more of the nutrients because it does not sit directly in the water, preventing the nutrients from being leached out of the meat. Pork can be steamed with a traditional steamer that fits on top of a saucepan or by using a rack that sits in the bottom of a tightly covered pan that allows the food to be suspended above the water. Steaming can also be accomplished by the use of an electric steamer or a bamboo steamer.

Steaming is very popular in Asian cooking and most often the pork is ground, diced, cubed, or sliced before steaming. Ribs are also steamed. Many times other ingredients are mixed with the meat or poured over it and they are then steamed. Ground pork and diced pork are often mixed with other ingredients and formed into balls or loafs before steaming.

When steaming pork with a traditional steamer, fill the steamer pot half full of water and bring to a full boil using a high heat. Depending on the recipe, herbs or other flavorings can be added to the water to be imparted into the meat during steaming. Place a single layer of meat in the steamer and place the steamer in the pot over the boiling water, making sure no water is coming up through the holes in the steamer. Cover and cook for the amount of time indicated on the recipe being used. If using a rack or tray in the bottom of a large pot instead of a traditional steamer, add at least one inch of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Place the pork in a heatproof dish and place the dish on the rack in the pot of boiling water. Be sure water is not boiling up over the heatproof dish. Cover with a tight lid and cook for the appropriate time. Check for doneness and if thoroughly cooked, remove meat from steamer and serve as directed on the recipe.

Steaming Tips:

  • Marinate cubed pork, sliced pork and ribs before steaming to give them a distinctive flavor.
  • Impart flavor into the meat by adding ingredients to the steaming water, such as onions, carrots, celery, and fresh gingerroot.
  • Other ingredients, such as vegetables, can be steamed with the meat but be sure to not overcrowd.
  • For efficient use of time when preparing recipes that call for pork and rice, steam pork over rice as it is cooking.
  • Avoid removing the cover to the pot during the cooking process. This will allow heat and steam to escape, resulting in extended cooking times.

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