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We're going through a healthy-eating phase at the moment, and this includes eating a fair few steamed vegetables. Unfortunately I find steamed vegetables (especially potatoes) can be painfully dull when they make up a good quantity of the dish.

I have an undying urge to season them with something before steaming, but I've no idea with what (nor if this is even a good idea).

Worryingly the last urge like this I humoured was deep-fried egg; which was both amazing and awful.

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4 Answers 4

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One thing we have found that helps in adding flavor during the steaming process is to slice garlic thinly, and line the bottom of the steamer basket with the garlic. Then afterwards, toss the garlic in with the potatoes and add salt/pepper/etc. (I'd probably add paprika, onion powder, and a pinch of cayenne.)

I would imagine orange or lemon peel might work the same as garlic when steamed, although you might get better results tossing the steamed veggies with some zest.

You can also toss the steamed potatoes with vinegar or lemon juice (whether or not it's combined with oil is up to you) along with the spices.

Another option would be to bake your potatoes rather than steam them. Just wash, poke, and bake at 350F for 1 hour. There's no more fat, but the flavor and texture are VERY different. Just make sure not to wrap them in foil, since you won't get the same results. (Wrapping potatoes in foil is essentially steaming them, and the crust won't get crisp.)

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It is going to be hard to get a lot of seasoning to penetrate during steaming, though you could add some aromatics like ginger to the water if you like. A better bet is to add a flavorful sauce after serving. Chimichurri or chermoula would both be excellent with potatoes. They contain some olive oil, but even small amounts of them will make the dish much more appealing and you'll be able to stick with your healthy eating longer.

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I know you specifically asked for seasoning them before steaming, but what about seasoning them after steaming? I like my potatoes with dill and pepper.. Fresh dill works wonders as well.. (now that I think of it, it might work during the steaming as well.. never tried it though..)

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I agree that adding flavor after steaming is a better way to go. If you are steaming carrots and broccoli, for instance, try heavily salting the water (2 tablespoons for a quart of water) using kosher salt (never iodized salt which has a metallic after-taste).

Topping the vegetables with sweet (unsalted) butter and sea salt and freshly ground pepper is a nice touch which brings out the vegetables' natural flavor. '

Also try sautéing garlic and onions in a little olive oil until crisp, add bread crumbs, saute with a pat of butter, season with sea salt and pepper and spoon that over the steamed vegetables.

You might also try roasting vegetables in a 350 F degree oven with a drizzle of olive oil and a light dusting of sea salt and black pepper. The vegetables caramelize and sweeten. www.menwholiketocook.com

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Ah yes, that well known healthy eating companion: lumps of butter. ;) –  Stuart Pegg Feb 17 '11 at 18:23
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