The Chinese steam food is largely made by steaming cooking method. Food is put in woven bamboo trays that stack one atop the other, and the temperature should be high enough to keep the water boiling during the cooking process.
This sealing steaming system can cook several kinds of food at one time, which is energe-efficient. You can put meats, fish, dumplings, buns stuffed with meat or a sweet bean paste-bread in the same container to steam.
After a high heat has brought the water to a boil, and the ingredients inserted, the heat is lowered as the steaming process begins (to avoid vibrations and a burned pot) – If the food has been placed initially on a serving platter, there will be no need to transfer it to another platter for serving at the table. Once cooked, food should not be left in the steamer unless the heat has been turned off before cooking is complete, after which the cooking process continues for a few minutes. Thus overcooking is avoided.
Steaming preserves flavors and food nutrients through the use of steam temperature rather than higher temperatures that destroy or leach these values in discarded boiling water. Several tiers can be used in the steamer to cook different foods simultaneously. Cooking time usually varies between 15 to 30 minutes for meat patties but can range from 20 minutes to 5 hours (which may require more water), depending upon the type of food to be steamed. However, meats cooked in this fashion must be of top quality. Chinese steamed foods are to be consumed right away – these foods are delicate and cooked to perfection. Reheating leftover steamed meats, steamed fish and seafoods often become soggy and limp and lose flavor upon reheating. The highlight dish of this method is the Dimsum (wrapped meat balls).
Chinese cooks use two methods of steaming:
1) Where the ingredients are suspended above the boiling water and the steam around them does the cooking;
2) Where the pot of ingredients is immersed part-way into the boiling water, and cooking action is performed both by it and the steam.