Just as the traditional method of steaming matooke in banana leaves and layering up different other foods, a steamer will do this perfectly well but in a modern way. You do not need banana leaves and stalks.
Gigi Mulira, a home owner, has used a two layered steamer for more than 10 years. She says she normally uses it to steam cassava and potatoes.
According to her, the cooking is basic like when you are using a saucepan. The difference is that you have compartments to put different foods. Having her food steamed gives her a satisfaction of eating non-soggy food.
“When I steam cassava or potatoes, they come out nice and hard as compared to boiling directly in water. It does not come out sticky and soggy as happens when boiled in water,” she says.
Steamers give you a choice of using electricity, or your favourite stove or cooking stones. So before you hit the market, you need to consider the sets of food you normally cook, the longevity and convenience. You may need two layers, three layers or four layers depending on how much food you prepare, you may need electric or non-electric depending on how delicate you handle your cutlery or even aluminium and steel depending the longevity you need the appliance for.
All these will help you get the right steamer for your kitchen.
Electric steamers have a plug you insert in a socket and you are all set.
It also has the digital settings that help you set the temperature and time to know your food is ready so you can remove it when it time is out. This is, however, delicate because if you do not know how to use it, you may damage the whole thing because of wrong settings.
According to Davidson Bagambagye, director 2fumbe Ltd, the owner of the steamer, who has got all directions from the seller needs to use it or teach a person going to use it so that it lasts.
Knowing how to use it though makes your life much easier in a sense that you don’t have to keep in wait. When cooking is done, the steamer automatically switches to a keep-warm setting for one hour before turning off to avoid overcooking the food. Speaking of settings, there’s a digital touchpad that makes controlling the cooker easy.
Around Arua Park, electric steamers can be purchased at Shs150, 000 and Shs120, 000 for three and two tiers respectively.
From online shops, an electric steamer can be acquired at an average of $40(about Shs148, 000).
In shops on Ggaba road, a second hand three tier electric steamer can be acquired at Shs300, 000.
With this kind of steamer, the source of heat can be your charcoal stove, gas cooker, or even from cooking stones. It is the same make with that of electric, only that you do not use electricity but the methods of setting the steamer up is the same. Put water in the bottom pan, put one tier on top of it with let’s say fish, add the next tier with maybe rice, and the next with vegetables and close the top tier with a lead and put to the source of heat.
The non-electric steamers are mostly used as comparison to electric.
A non-electric aluminium steamer can be got at Shs180, 000 on Ben Kiwanuka Street in Kampala. A stainless steel goes for Shs190, 000. From online shops, non-electric steamers range from Shs250, 000 to Shs265, 000
This mostly depends on the number of tiers you want and the material of the steamer.
Combi steam oven
“Combi”, being a short form for combination, these ovens combine convection and steam cooking. There are advantages attached to each feature of this oven; the convection ovens cook faster than traditional ovens, which means faster food preparation (and lower energy use). They also tend to keep moisture in better than traditional ovens and cook more evenly.
According to forbes.com, steam ovens keep more nutrients in your food, keep its colour better, and eliminate the need for oil. Steaming also prevents cross-flavouring, so you can cook a salmon and chocolate torte at the same time without getting a fishy dessert.
From online shops, a combi steam oven can be purchased starting from $3, 000 (about Shs11.06m).
A non-electric stainless steel will last longer since it is easier to wash and durable. It is also hard to stain and if so, it can easily be cleaned without leaving marks on it. A non-electric aluminium on the other hand, needs care since it is delicate in setting. One fall on the ground will bend it and that will lessen its longevity, so one needs to be extra careful when handling it. It also has more chances of getting stained especially when it is left on heat for a long time, leaving you with a dark pan. Choosing a lid is also vital since there are transparent and non transparent lids. “A transparent lid will help you know when the food is ready without opening the steamer. A non transparent lid will need you to open first and check the food. This in turn slows down the cooking process since the water will need to boil all over again to create more steam,” Bagambagye says.