Stainless steel waterless cookware has been gaining in popularity, and with good reason: it’s economical, easy and it allows people to cook healthy meals with little or no added fat, lots of flavor, and high nutrient retention. “Waterless” cookware is somewhat of a misnomer, as small amounts of water are used in cooking.
Waterless cookware is similar in concept to a pressure cooker. Stainless steel waterless cookware comes in a variety of sizes to accommodate many food types. Like pressure cookers, they work by affixing an airtight sealed lid that traps steam inside to cook food. However, unlike its high-pressure counterpart, waterless cookware cooks at relatively lower temperatures and pressures. Here are some things to keep in mind when using waterless cookware:
First, size does matter when it comes to waterless cookware. If you overfill a pot, the food will not cook evenly. It’s important to fill the pot only about two-thirds of the way full. In selecting stainless steel waterless cookware, keep this constraint in mind. You may want to buy more than one size of cookware to accommodate the types of dishes you will be preparing.
Next, be careful to rinse and drain food thoroughly before placing it in the pot, and add no more than one-quarter cup of water prior to cooking. The aim is to steam the food, not boil it. Adding to much water may result in inconsistent cooking, nutrient loss, and an unappetizing result.
Another important factor in using stainless steel waterless cookware is the temperature at which food is cooked. The stove burner should never be set above medium heat. As soon as you notice that the steam valve begins to whistle, the heat should be turned down to low and the steam valve closed to seal the steam inside for proper cooking.
Stackable waterless cookware is another option that can be used to cook more than one pot of food at a time. The key is that if you want the food cooked uniformly, you should only stack foods that may be cooked at the same temperature, for the same length of time. For example, you’ll want to avoid cooking a roast at the same time as delicate vegetables which are likely to become mush by the time the meat is cooked!
Obviously, only the airtight lid included with the cookware should be used in cooking. This is because the lid is designed to form a seal that will not allow steam to escape. Allowing steam to escape will result in dry, overcooked, and possibly burnt food. Similarly, you should not open the lid while the food is cooking, as this also results in a loss of steam and therefore a loss of moisture in cooking. Wait until the food has finished cooking before you open the valve to release the steam. Only then should you remove the lid.
While stainless steel waterless cookware is a safe method of cooking, precautions should be taken in removing the lid after releasing the steam. Steam burns could result if steam was incompletely released. For this reason, you should allow the food to rest for about five minutes before removing the lid. When you do remove the lid, keep your face away from the the pot to avoid the possibility of a serious steam burn.