Halogen ovens are wonderfully versatile and can prepare food in a number of different ways. Grilling, baking, roasting and air frying are quick and easy – but steaming food is definitely another option, and one which is very good for you (as well as being tasty).
Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to prepare food. There’s absolutely no fat or oil involved, just some (very) hot water. It’s similar to boiling in some respects, but boiling removes some flavour from certain foods, and some of the healthy vitamins and minerals are also removed by immersion in boiling water.
Boiling can also make some foods, vegetables in particular, a bit soft and squishy. Steaming, on the other hand, will leave vegetables crunchy and full of flavour.
The trouble is, steaming food can be a bit of a faff. You can buy special steamers, with multiple trays to hold different foods and a heater for the water in the base. You can also buy some rather nice fan like contraptions or bamboo holders which can be used to keep the food above the water level in a standard pan. They all work, but they clutter up the kitchen and are just a little fussy to use and clean.
- Put the food to be steamed on the steaming tray, put it on the low rack and add water to the bottom of the bowl.
- Put the food to be steamed into a tightly closed tinfoil wrap with a couple of teaspoons of water.
Either way works, but I prefer the second technique. If you put the food in the steaming tray (it’s the one with the holes in it that came with your oven) and the water in the main bowl, you will still get a certain amount of infrared grilling from the halogen lamp. It will be slightly faster of course, so it’s good if you’re in a hurry – but it’s not exactly steaming the food, or not only steaming the food if you see what I mean.
I like to put the food into a little foil package with some water, a couple of teaspoonfuls is usually okay – but use a little more if you have a larger amount of food to steam. I think it’s a good idea to create a little dome above the food, allowing space for the steam to circulate – and you definitely need to make sure that you get a good tight seal at the edge of the foil package.
Here’s a short video that shows the general technique:
You probably need to experiment a little, but vegetables that are soft and small, e.g. sliced/diced peppers, mushrooms etc., will cook within 15 to 20 minutes at 200 C (400 F). Harder and/or larger vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, will need somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes at 200 C (400 F), depending upon how small you slice them up.