I have collaborated with Queensgate Shopping Centre regularly as one of their #Qbloggers. However this device was bought and paid for by myself and is not in collaboration with anyone mentioned within this review.
Please see my disclaimer for more information.
Recently I treated myself to an electric food steamer, the Morphy Richards Intellisteam Compact. It has turned out to be a really good buy so I thought I’d talk you through why it gets the LovedByLaura seal of approval.
Before I dive into my review however, let’s talk about why an electric food steamer is a handy device to have in your kitchen.
Steaming vegetables helps to retain more of their nutrients in comparison to the boiling method. I also find that steamed vegetables retain more of their fresh flavour and have a better texture as the cell walls don’t get broken down as aggressively.
A lot of recipes recommend steaming tempeh as a first step before moving on to either bake or fry it. This is because tempeh naturally has a slightly bitter taste to it, but a ten minute steam removes this and relaxes the composition. This allows the tempeh to absorb marinades better and gives it a more tender texture overall.
If you want soft and fluffy rice, give it the steam treatment! I use wholegrain rice most often and have found that using the steaming method helps the rice to absorb all of the water and puff up nicely. Once you perfect the rice water ratio, it’s an easy way to ensure perfectly cooked rice every single time.
Traditionally buns and dumplings would be cooked in a bamboo steamer as these are designed to keep the buns dry during steaming. However it’s easy to adapt your electric steamer for the job. Simply place a kitchen towel between the main compartment and the lid. This helps to catch any steam that would otherwise fall back down onto the buns.
I’m going to have to dedicate a whole post to making bao buns at home. In the meantime, I’ll just say this: They’re fun to make and the buns are incredibly delicious served fresh!
No fat is used when steaming, so if you’re looking to reduce the fat in a meal, cooking with steam will help!
As the name suggests, the Morphy Richards Intellisteam Compact is a smaller unit than many other models with a single tier for steaming. It still takes up space (about the width of a small microwave) but height wise it’s low enough to slide into the gap between my cupboards and countertop.
The unit is white and grey so it integrates well within my neutral kitchen. It’s made up of the base which holds the heating element, controls and water tank, with a separate drip tray that sits on top of this, followed by the main tray where all the food is placed.
There’s also a rice tray that you can pop into the main compartment when needed. Once you’ve filled the steamer, you just pop on the lid and you’re good to go.
One of Intellisteam’s best features in my opinion is the ability to control the steam on the left and right hand side independently using the digital control panel.
Say you want to cook rice and vegetables, you can split the main compartment into two halves using a ‘slot in’ divider which prevents the steam generated on one side from crossing over to the other side. You add everything you’ve prepped to the main tray at the same time, set the rice side to cook for 40 minutes but the vegetable side to only 8 minutes.
When you press ‘start’, the device begins sending steam to the rice side since this has the longest time, but only starts the vegetable side when the rice has 8 minutes remaining. In other words, the device ensures that both compartments finish their steaming at the same time.
I have found this function to be incredibly handy. I can just pop everything in and not have to worry about clock watching.
You can see this function working in action here.
I only needed to steam some tempeh so I just set the right side up. The slot in divider isn’t a perfect seal and as the steaming goes on some moisture does make its way through to the other side. In my experience, it’s not enough to affect the cooking of any food in the side that hasn’t officially started at that point.
The only thing I’m not so keen on with this steamer is that the main compartment tends to collect some residual water. There is a drip tray underneath, but not everything makes it through. It can therefore be difficult to get the food out after steaming without also picking some of this residue up.
The best solution I’ve found is to transfer the food into a colander before serving to let any excess water drain off.
Assembling and disassembling the device for cleaning is really straightforward and the parts are easy to rinse and/or wipe out. Some are also safe in the top shelf of the dishwasher. You’ll need to buy some white vinegar to give the unit a deep clean and descale every so often.
I purchased the Morphy Richards Intellisteam Compact electric food steamer from my local John Lewis at Peterborough’s Queensgate Shopping Centre . It cost £69.99 which is slightly cheaper than I’ve seen it listed at most other retailers.
Overall, I’m really pleased with my purchase and making good use of it. There are both cheaper and more expensive electric food steamers on the market, but I find this one well priced for what it delivers and for ease of use. It gets the LovedByLaura seal of approval!