One of the easiest ways to cook broccoli, or other vegetables for that matter, is by steaming. Steaming is the process in which water, when brought to a boil, becomes a gas which is what you use to cook your food. That’s because this superheated gas is hotter than the boiling water it once was. But despite its high temperature, the vapor is a gentle way to cook without any leeching of the nutrients contained in the food.
That’s why steaming is a diet-friendly method of cooking food. Not only does the food cook gently and still contain most, if not all, of its inherent nutrients prior to cooking, there is no need to add ingredients to cook it. It is just water after all.
Best of all, it’s super simple. All you need is something to steam in—your rice cooker, a microwave, a large pot, or even a frying pan will work in a pinch. If you’ve have a steamer, you’re set. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it. Once you have these ready, time to steam.
Here’s what you do:
Cut the florets from the broccoli. Trim the stem until the tender center is exposed. Slice the tender stem into sticks. Add these tender pieces to the florets. Discard the rest. Make sure the pieces are relatively similar in sizes to ensure even cooking. Set aside.
In the rice cooker:
Place the broccoli in the steamer insert that fits inside your pot. Pour enough water so that the bottom of the steamer insert isn’t touching the water. Place the steamer insert with the vegetables in the rice cooker. Cover and turn on to bring the water to a boil. Once the rice cooker begins to steam, give it a few minutes (5 minutes should be enough) before checking for doneness. Remove from the cooker. Serve.
In the microwave:
Place broccoli in a microwave-oven safe container. Pour enough water to cover the florets, then place the lid on top of the container without locking it in place. This will allow steam to escape if necessary. Place the container in the microwave and cook for 1 minute on High. Check for doneness then cook for another 1 minute if necessary. Remove from oven and serve. (Careful when lifting the lid as the steam will be hot.)
In a pot:
Place an oven-proof bowl on the bottom of a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to come up halfway up the side of the bowl. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, place broccoli on an oven-safe plate. Lower heat to a simmer and place plate of broccoli on top of the bowl and above the simmering water. Cover and steam 5 minutes or until tender. Turn off heat and remove from pot. Serve.
In a frying pan:
Pour in enough water to cover the bottom of a frying pan and add broccoli. Cover. Place over medium heat and let the water come to a boil then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer about 5 minutes or until tender. Check for doneness and steam for another minute or two until the desired doneness is achieved. Turn off heat and serve.
Want more flavor? Chop up a few cloves of garlic and toss with broccoli. Toss in other vegetables. You can also drizzle the vegetables lightly with olive oil or sesame seed oil for a side dish that you now know is fast and easy to not only prepare but also to cook.