Passionate home cook, Sara Oteri is helping debunk the myth that steam cooking is only reserved for veggies, rice and dumplings. As a contestant in the 2015 series of MasterChef, Sara describes her cooking style as “spontaneous, relaxed, health focused and always delicious” and brings that same vibrant energy to the Will It Steam? recipe series.
“You don’t need to be a master cook to master the art of steam. It’s all the recipes you know and love, and so many more, that can be made better with the power of steam,” says Sara.
“I love steam cooking mid-week, even for things you wouldn’t associate with steam immediately, because it tends to reduce cooking time,” she says,
adding, “combining water with hot air throughout the cooking process, the steam function gets you richer colours, crispier crusts and a delicious soft inside texture.”
“This isn’t about precision chopping or a sauce that takes days to make, but instead unexpected dishes for family and friends made with love and care.”
Here, Sara shares her top three steam oven cooking secrets to transform your home cooking classics.
Secret 1: Flavour your steam
Nothing beats a piece of equipment that can achieve multiple things in one, like the Electrolux steam Oven (EVEP618DSD). Dishes won’t become soggy, even with the presence of steam, but the real secret to successful steaming is to create flavourful steam. If you add delicious herbs and seasonings, your steam will carry aromas that season the food as it cooks. My Fish Pie with Leek and Potato Mash has tarragon, parsley, lemon, garlic and leek steam flavours that make fish moist, while the mash pie top still has a flaky, golden crust finish.
Secret 2: A hit every time
Steaming is a technique where little can go wrong. There’s no more hit and miss with steam ovens, as the name suggests, they use humidity (instead of simply heat) to cook your food, meaning the risk of burning is minimal. It means with a recipe like my Firecracker Cauliflower, an epic vegetarian side dish of a whole tender cauliflower smothered in a spicy and saucy rub, you can basically set and forget. Plus, the Smart Food Probe alerts you when food reaches the desired core temperature and switches the oven off, so you get the perfect result.
Secret 3: Handles with care
The Steam Oven’s ability to bake with great consistency is impressive. Plus, it’s a gentle way to cook, which means fragile tarts, flans and cakes get equal love, edge to edge with steam. Take my Zesty Lemon Bars for example – they use the steam oven’s gentle consistent heat to set the smooth lemon curd perfectly atop the crumbly short crust base.