Shanghai Chicken
Use microwave steaming bags to create elaborate steamed dishes like Shanghai Chicken, above.




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KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.



January 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Vegetables

Steaming Splendor:

Easy, Convenient, Tasty Steamed Vegetables


Part III: Ziploc Zip ‘n Steam Microwave Bags


CAPSULE REPORT: Part I of this article focused on Birds Eye Steamfresh Fresh Frozen Vegetables—bags of frozen vegetables that steam in the microwave. Part II presented McCormick Steamers—a plastic bag and seasoning combination in 10 different flavors. In this final segment, you get nothing but the bag from Ziploc. BYO food and steam up a storm in these specially-devised Ziploc bags.

Ziploc Zip ‘n Steam Microwave Bags

Ziploc and its competitor, Glad, both make microwave steaming bags. Since the products are so similar, we’ll focus on Ziploc. (Although we admit that we were taken aback that, in their recent “America’s Steamiest Chef” contest to promote Glad SimplyCooking Microwave Steaming Bags, the brand offered voters five male chef contestants. Aren’t women chefs also “steamy,” and shouldn’t there be a diversity of choice? Otherwise, call your contest “America’s Steamiest Male Chef.” We protest! However, because the recipes are so good, you can download the Steamy Chefs 2008 pinup and recipe calendar and get steamy with them.)

What both Glad and Ziploc show is how easy it is to steam up elaborate recipes in microwave bags. Ziploc offers recipes such as Shanghai Chicken and Zucchini with Spicy Mandarin Ginger Glaze served with Warm Sesame Cabbage Salad with Soy and Scallions (shown in the photo below). Or, steam up desserts like Apple Dried Cherry and Walnut Compote or Poached Pears and Raspberries with Cinnamon Cardamom and Toasted Coconut. You could steam plain string beans—or Green Beans With Sun-dried Tomatoes and Almonds.


Glad Steamiest Chef Calendar
The Steamy Chefs 2008 calendar features five chefs, ten steaming recipes and two chef pinup poses (one shown above).

America’s Steamiest Chefs get fancier. Govind Armstrong makes a truly impressive Steamed Corn And Spring Onion Pudding With Buttered Shrimp (a two-bag production) and a Steamed Bulgar Salad With Asparagus And Shiitake Mushroom; G. Garvin whips up a simple but delicious Steamed Cauliflower And Goat Cheese Cup and Steamed Chilean Sea Bass With Baby Bok Choy And Cherry Tomatoes; Dave Lieberman takes on Shrimp Curry and Mediterranean Style Artichoke; Aarón Sanchez cooks up Steamed Bass Yucatan Style and Bananas Faustos With Cherimoya Salsa; Sam Talbot makes Steamed Mussels Provençal and Chinese Steamed Halibut Filet With Broccoli Rabe. (All the recipes are in the calendar.)

Chicken Dinner
Prepare dinner ahead of time, and steam it up in minutes.

The Joy Of Steaming

The bags let you steam fresh or frozen vegetables, potatoes, fish, poultry, fruit, rice. Microwave cooking lets you cook:

  • With low-calorie steaming
  • With great convenience—you can steam and mash potatoes in the bag
  • With more flavor—unlike broiling with topical seasonings, steaming imbues the flavors into fish and chicken
  • Without pots and pans—to clean up, just toss the bag away

Each bag is printed with cooking time guidelines for everything from vegetables to hot dogs. The bags are made in two sides:

  • Medium, for 2-3 servings
  • Large, for 3-5 servings

Why Special Plastic Bags

Why do you need “microwaveable” plastic bags? Why not take a regular plastic bag, punch a few air vents and microwave away?

While you can reheat food in a regular Ziploc bag, steaming requires even application of heat for a sustained period of time. The plastic of the Ziploc Zip ‘n Steam bag is a different type. The bags have patented vents that allow food to be steamed under pressure, so that it is cooked thoroughly and evenly, without the addition of water (the moisture in the food generates the steam, using the technology of the bag; you can add a teaspoon or butter or oil after vegetables are cooked). The bag inflates during the cooking process, ensuring efficient steaming and even cooking.

Apple Compote
Apple, dried cherry and walnut compote atop vanilla ice cream.

The bags are 100% dioxin free (as as is the entire Ziploc line), and meet the safety requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for temperatures associated with defrosting and reheating food in microwave ovens (as well as room, refrigerator and freezer temperatures).

Zip ‘n Steam Microwave Bags

  • 10 Medium Bags Or
    7 Large Bags

Available at supermarkets


Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are
subject to change.

Ziploc Zip n Steam
You can keep yourself steam-happy for some time with this selection of McCormick Veggie Steamers, Potato Steamers and Seafood Steamers.



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