You can steam in a frying pan with as little as a 1/4-inch of water, or in a pot with about 1-inch or so (and the veg hanging above in an inset metal colander).
THE KEY to steaming is to get the water boiling, throw in the veg, then on with the lid, and then cook for between 4-5 minutes.
- For vegetables without dense construction (from swiss chard to broccoli, etc) you only need a maximum of 4-minutes.
- For brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beets and other dense vegetables, steam for a maximum of 5-minutes.
NOW – get em out of that pot after the designated cooking time. WHY? Because they’re so hot they’ll continue cooking even after being pulled from the pot. And if you leave them in there, they’ll cook even faster and ultimately overcook. Thus the reason to get em outta there fast and into an open bowl to cool off. That way they’ll stay nice and crunchy. BTW – steaming is a good way to kill germs as well. And so is vinegar.
Other advantages to steaming – It conserves energy and nutrients. Cooking vegies in water takes way more energy and time because of the water volume involved. It also sucks nutrients out of the vegetables during the process. Steaming is therefore better all the way around.