Dim sum steamers are the choice for making one of the most well-known and appreciated Asian dishes of all time. Originally made from bamboo, these baskets were the accepted oven in China when ovens were scarce, and were used to cook everything from meats and vegetables to cakes. The baskets are fast and efficient tools that keep moisture in and they take minimal heat, unlike ovens. In modern times, they have been praised as a healthy cooking tool since no fats or oils are required to make a thoroughly cooked, delicious meal.
Dim sum steamers are available in earth-friendly bamboo as well as durable stainless steel. Each dim sum steamer basket is tightly woven to hold in the flavors, unlike basic steaming methods which allow fragrances to escape with the steam. Nutrients are also held inside the foods, allowing the true flavors and unique traits of each food to fully manifest within the steamer.
Generally during steaming, the bottom of the basket is layered with parchment paper or cabbage leaves to prevent sticking. Many varieties of bamboo steamers are available with multiple tiers, each of which can be layered with parchment paper or cabbage leaves. It is a common practice to cook a variety of foods together in one basket but separated by tiered platforms. Meats, seafood and vegetables can all be cooked together with the type requiring the longest cooking time placed on the bottom tier. This allows the flavors of the foods to mingle and complement each other inside of the dim sum steamer.