Review: The Steam Zone Sage by Heston Blumenthal

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We steam a lot of dishes in Chinese cooking, usually using a wok with some heat proof plates. It takes a while to cook and can be quite limiting, depending on the size of your wok and plates available. It also takes up a lot of room on your stove top which limits how many other dishes you can cook while your wok is on use. If you don’t have an inbuilt steam oven, the ideal solution to this is to have a stand alone steamer. I got to try the new Steam Zone from Sage which is the perfect solution, especially when cooking Chinese food.

The Steam Zone by Sage is one of their newest in their range of high-end kitchen equipment. It is a very food steamer, a very stylish stainless steel machine with some very clever functionalities. It is unlike the other plastic steamers on the market right now as it is only one level of steam baskets and they are separate for steaming different foods.

Sage by Heston lumenthal The Steam Zone electric Steamer
The Steam Zone electric Steamer

I tested the Sage Steamer on a few dishes and was very impressed by the efficiency, the food cooks very fast, it’s easy to use and love the long tray that I can use to steam a whole fish.  I think Asian families will love it for this one feature alone. Look at this monster sea bass that I steamed in the Steam Zone. I think it was over 2kg and I had to bend the tail to fit it in.

Sage The Steam Zone Steamed Whole Sea Bass
Steamed Whole Sea Bass

For an electric steamer and it has some other unique features.

What I liked about The Steam Zone by Sage

  • There are different food cooking zones using the 2 18cm steaming baskets, so that you can cook different dishes at the same time without the flavours intermingling.
  • The long oval steaming tray is designed for steaming fish and this is going to be a great replacement for my wok, which is what I use to steam fish right now. It eliminates the problem of having a big enough wok and a long enough plate to steam the fish on.
  • The “Rapid start” feature means that the machine starts up very quickly (30 seconds), no waiting for the water to boil
  • There are 2 sets of timers for the steam baskets which allows you to steam different things at the same time
  • The “Sync” feature ensures that both sides will finish cooking at the same time
  • There is a handy “Keep Warm” feature which is great if you are cooking other dishes on the stove too.
  • It’s very simple to use, you just switch it on, select high/low/keep warm and set a time and off it goes.
  • It will stop working if the water level drops too low.
  • There is a handy window to gauge water level on the front.
  • The ergonomic design makes it very easy to use, to lift the pans out and can be used interchangeably.
  • External water spout to add water without moving any of the steaming baskets or trays.
  • It beeps when you have reached the cooking time you set.
  • All the parts are machine washable.
  • Built in descaling function which is essential in London where the water is very hard. You just add vinegar and water and turn the machine on.

What I didn’t like

  • The steam baskets are not that big, so if you were to cook for a big group, you might have to do it in several batches. I would like to see the option to buy more steam baskets that we can add in tiers for more cooking space.
  • The handles on the steam baskets and the lid are not heat proof so be careful when you use it.
  • It has quite a large footprint, so it takes up a lot of space on your kitchen worktop.
  • There are no recipe booklets included and the instruction booklet does not have a comprehensive list of cooking times.

What can you cook with the Sage Steam Zone

Making Chinese Dumplings in The Steam Zone
Making Chinese Dumplings in The Steam Zone

Steaming food is always recommended as a healthier way to cook your food. Most recipes I see are not that exciting and quite bland. Besides the most common use, that is to steam vegetables, you can use this for a multitude of dishes.

I made some Chinese steamed dumplings using the two steam baskets. (Next time, I will use the larger steam tray instead). It’s quite simple to make at home and you get all the family involved too.  There are no set timings for dumplings in the instruction book so I had to improvise. I steamed the dumplings on HIGH for 9 minutes. You can find the recipe here.

I also steamed an enormous Sea Bass in the larger steaming tray, which took about 5 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to steam. The fish was done to perfection, not overcooked. Here is the recipe for the Chinese Style Steamed Sea Bass.

There are a lot of steamed dishes in Chinese cuisine that I would like to use this machine to do. A lot of other recipes require steaming the food to part cook food before frying or roasting too. Recipes will follow:

  • Steamed eggs
  • Steamed ribs with black bean sauce
  • Steamed Hainanese chicken for Chicken Rice
  • Steamed glutinous rice for New Year
  • Steamed rice cakes
  • Steamed coconut layer cake

The Steam Zone Specifications

Sage The Steam Zone

2 stainless steel steam baskets in one layer - The Steam Zone
2 stainless steel steam baskets in one layer – The Steam Zone
Simple control panel - The Steam Zone
Simple control panel – The Steam Zone

Have a look at what comes in the box with your Steam Zone machine.

  • Accessories Included: Base, Plastic insert, Stainless steel steam tray (40cm), 2x 18cm Steamer pots, 2x Glass lids, Stainless Steel lid
  • Dimensions:  H29.8cm x W27cm x D50.4cm
  • Model name / number  SFS800BSS
  • Power  2200W
  • Weight Information  5kg

Where to buy

You can check the latest deals and buy it from Amazon, John Lewis or eBay.

Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Steam Zone
Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Steam Zone

The Sage Steam Zone was gifted for review. 

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