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I bought this steamer from amazon after getting utterly fed up trying to steam my various veggies in a basket steamer over a pan of boiling water. I dreamt of the day I could whack all ingredients for a whole meal neatly into each compartment, set the timers and sit down with a nice cup of tea waiting for the beep. That idea in itself was enough to make me gladly part ways with my £90. Unfortunately, it didn't quite pan out as I'd hoped.
When the box arrived I realised I had foolishly not checked the size of the product before ordering, so there was the initial kitchen countertop juggling and rearranging to try and find an appropriate spot for the mother of all steamers (that's 35.5 x 30.6 x 26 cm - so you needn't make the same mistake!). I was slightly alarmed by the number of flimsy looking pieces of plastic that came out of the box, and since we don't have a dishwasher, I figured it was going to be a real pain in the behind to wash up.
Once I'd found a space for it, gotten it all together and figured out which pieces go where, I set about reading the instructions. The machine itself is pretty intuitive, so you could probably get away with not reading them. However, there are some really useful guide line cooking times for various vegetables, meat, fish rice etc in there that came in extremely handy as I found them very accurate.
Using the machine is very simple, you fill the water compartment which has a maximum fill line also visible from the front of the machine without removing the lid. This comes in very handy as you can see the water levels getting a bit low and top it up using the very handy pop out spout at the side. You can fill the steamer with more water even while it's in use, without having to remove all of your food or delay cooking at all - a stroke of genius. If you don't happen to notice your water levels running low, not to worry, there's a pretty loud warning alarm and a boil dry safety cut out that will alert you. So once your water compartment is full, just load up your various ingredients in their individual compartments, set the time for each one using the easy-to-use digital display with pre-set guides for cooking times and bob's your teapot.
This machine sounds almost too good to be true, and for me it was. Cooking a whole meal in here is impractical, rice takes over an hour and meat just doesn't turn out well when it's steamed in my opinion. Granted, the hour you wait is all inactive, it's not like you're stood stirring a risotto, but it's a long time to wait if you're hungry after work and need something on the table in 40 minutes.
The 8.2 litre capacity cooks a meal for 4 people, apparently. I think it would serve a family with 2 adults and 2 children, but certainly not 4 adults. I've only ever used it for 2 adults and it was fine for us. While Morphy Richards advertise the 8.2L capacity as a big plus, I actually found it was rather a hindrance, since it took much longer to heat up than conventional steamers, thus adding onto the cooking time.
Then there's the cleaning, ooooh the cleaning... The compartments are apparently all dishwasher safe, which is great, unless like us you don't have a dishwasher. The food really gets stuck in those fiddly little holes and it takes an age to wash up. Woe betide anyone that forgets to clean this thing immediately and is then forced to deal with dried mushed in carrots in the 1000's of little holes.
The keep warm function on the machine, from what I can tell, just continues to steam food lightly. Now if you're not one for unidentifiable mushy vegetables, I'd use this function with caution.
Ultimately, the idea behind this machine is great but in practice it just wasn't as functional as I'd initially hoped. I so wanted this to be a great buy, I really wanted to love it. It's hard to feel any kind of warmth towards it when you're spending 15 minutes of your already short evening scrubbing dried carrot out of a million tiny holes. I wouldn't recommend this machine personally, I regret not buying a simple basic steamer, which in the end I actually did buy and I sold this on gumtree! It was less than 10% of the price too. Live and learn!
My wife and I had eyed this up for a good while before we bought it after having been put off of steaming foods with the hassle we've had with steamers in the past. We'd had the "old fashioned" three tier steamers in both the electric variety and the on the hob pot variety but it all came down to the same thing - the general fiddling around trying to work out timings and which food should be on what level and on and on; which generally makes it easier to use more pots and leave the steamer gathering dust somewhere...
But we decided to try and eat healthier (in other words the wife wants me to eat more veg!) and after looking at the manufacturers description and some reviews we decided to have a punt as it were.
We went for the store purchase option, simply for the comeback if there was anything wrong, and we like to have insurance on things (something Amazon still lacks on) so we purchased it for £70 out of Currys and paid £15 for a three year no quibble guarantee. So off we set with our new toy to see what we could make...
Out of the box assembly is child's play - base unit, drip tray and two large compartments, one of which is split into two with a divider, essentially giving you three separate "cooking" areas. There is also a rack for separating the larger area (so you could cook double the chicken for example by using the extra layer) a rice cooking tray and two sauce trays (which we've found work superbly for cooking more rice if you have guests coming round or a big family). There's a clearly marked water fill line in the base unit, a water level indicator (essentially a clear plastic panel in the base unit), a low water level alarm and a handy little lip that flips out to allow you to top up the water if needs be.
Unlike many modern kitchen appliances the guide that comes with the intellisteamer is actually very in depth and tells you the cooking times you need to steam the majority of most popular meats, veg, rice and pasta and we've only found a need to tweak the times on a few thing to suit our personal preferences and the results have been nothing short of excellent.
But the thing that sets this apart from other steamers in my opinion is the separate compartments it has and the ability to time things to perfection. With the three compartments you can easily fill the steamer with what you want to cook, set the times, press the button and walk away until the timer starts beeping. There's no adding the next level if it's time for the broccoli to go on, or lifting the tray with the potatoes off and sticking the meat underneath as the potatoes take longer but the meat would drip onto the potatoes - that hassle is no longer there with the intellisteamer. You put the foods in their compartments (for example rice at the back, carrots in the front left and chicken in the front right) choose the times for each compartment and press the steam button. Rice (taking longest to cook) will start first and will take about 40 minutes, and the cooking time will count down from 40 until it reaches the next start time (carrots at 30 minutes approximately) which will then start cooking and will continue counting down until the chicken comes on at 18 minutes (all times taken from instruction manual) and when everything has steamed away for its allotted time the steamer's alarm will go off and it's time to dish up and eat. If you're not ready to eat just then though the steamer will keep the food warm for up to minutes making it truly a hassle free cooking solution.
The resulting quality and taste of the food are as impressive as it's hassle saving - other than the occasional miss reading of instructions in terms of volume of foods against steaming times from my part nothing has ever came out of the steamer raw or shriveled up like a prune, the manual gives very clear and detailed instructions and with a little simple maths it's easy to work out what your doing.
One thing that I couldn't leave out of this review is the quality and ease of rice cooking with the intellisteamer. If like me you have an uncanny ability to make rice and the bottom of a pot develop and strong attraction to each other I'd say it's worth buying just for that alone; albeit it would be a very expensive rice cooker!!
Before buying this we had looked at some reviews in various places and one criticism was the difficulty in cleaning the steamer after use. Well I can say from experience that as with any electric steamer the small holes in the plastic steaming compartments can be very fiddly to get into. I have found however if you are cooking meats or anything that leaves residue that the best thing to do is to stick the steaming compartment straight into hot soapy water as soon as you've dished up your food - as with any kitchen task if you let things dry in they can be a nightmare and the little holes in this steamers compartments are no exceptions.
Another thing some may take issue is space. The steamer itself is not small and can take up a lot of space in a small kitchen and when you are cleaning it the steaming compartments, rice trays etc and drip tray do take up pretty much a full drying rack so you need to keep this in mind. I will say however that my wife and I have a very small kitchen and we re-arranged things in order for the steamer to stay out as we use it a lot!
Ease of use
Superb Instruction Manuals
Easily cook full meals with no hassle
Maybe a bit expensive for a steamer
Can be fiddly to clean
However in my opinion the pros as they stand far outweigh the cons and I need to give this item five stars - we both work and don't have a lot of time to cook. We can come home, bung stuff in the steamer press the button and go get ourselves ready to eat, no more standing in the kitchen stirring or watching the clock.
Where to start on this marvellous machine? All you need is 30 minutes to have a healthy, easy and quick to clear away dinner leaving you more time for the evening or even afternoon!!
Having 3 separate compartments (1 with a separator to make it 4) you can fill each one with different vegetables, meat and sauces and set the timers to have the meal ready all at the same time! Perfect!
Its easy to work out how the Steamer goes together, there is a great manual inside giving you 7 days worth of meal ideas, which are really simple to make with practically no preparation time! I would try the "Hoisin Duck with Egg Noodles and steamed Chinese-spiced vegetables" its ready and on the table in 37 minutes and tastes delicious!
The water level can be seen by the Water Gauge at the front, although if you have stuck it on and ran out the kitchen to watch your favourite hour long TV programme then do not worry, either the Steamer will have finished its cycle and a buzzer will sound, or if the water boils completely away, before this happens a warning buzzer will sound and if left it will auto-power off to avoid damage.
When the steamer finishes its cycle, a buzzer will go off. If you are not ready to eat, or your friends have not arrived then you can leave your food in the steamer and push the steam button which then keeps the food warm on a low steam.
There are so many things that you can cook perfectly in this machine, I made a Chicken Korma the other week. It cooked the rice perfectly, chicken was cooked and tasty and the sauce was hot and then easy to pour over the rice and chicken in a bowl!
I really am very impressed, I have invited my friends over for dinner and left it cooking allowing me to spend time with them rather than all stand in the kitchen.
After all that cooking, I bet your thinking what about the mess you are left with isn't it hard to clean? Well the answer is no.
When you have finished allow the steamer to cool-down for 5 minutes to avoid scalding yourself (I have done it and it hurts!) Remove the compartments and the grey middle section that separates the top with the base with the water in and put all of it in the dishwasher, as it is dishwasher safe!
The base is normally clean, it not a damp cloth will get rid of any residue left.
If you live in a hard water area you may get a lime-scale build up on the 3 heaters which you can use a mild descaling product on. If left then it can slow the cooking power and that means more waiting time!
One main problem if you have a small kitchen as this steamer takes up approximately 30 cm width and depth, whereas its height is just under 30cm.
If you are looking for an alternative to cook clean healthy foods, then this would be a perfect buy. As it is steamed, minerals and vitamins in the food are locked in rather than escaping into water if you were to cook in a saucepan.
The currently price for an elite easy to use cooking machine is well worth it, I guarantee you will never have the urge to pickup and saucepan to cook your vegetables or when cooking meats to use a grill or pan fry as the taste is kept in the foods rather than charred or boiled!
If you buy it, I would really like to hear some of the things you have cooked and exchange my own recipes for this amazing steamer!
I bought the Morphy Richards 48780 Intellisteam from Amazon, the cheapest price around as far as I can tell. It is much better than steamers I have had in the past, for a number of reasons. You can use pre-programmed times for foods such as rice, vegetables, and pasta, but can alter the times as well and save the new setting if you find that, for example, you prefer your vegetables with a little more crunch. Using a digital system seems a better principle to me than the traditional knob found on other steamers, since mine broke on my old machine, whereas it is going to be tough to break the buttons on this machine. The Intellisteam compartments seem quite sturdy and it comes with useful inserts such as a container for rice, and a divider for the front compartment. You don't have to use the front and the back at the same time, which saves on washing up. It also looks quite good, coming as a grey unit with a blue digital screen (fits in well with my kitchen design!). My only criticism is that I find it quite heavy, and the only cupboard I have big enough to fit the steamer into is high up, so it is a struggle to put it away. Other than that, I am completely happy with it.
Last year I decided to upgrade from my steamer that was 3 pans on top of each other. They were good enough but decided to go on to buy an electric Tefal steamer. Something that I did regret when I realised that it was making my worktops live with electic everytime it was switched on. Still within warranty but no outcome from contacting the company. So it was time to go out and buy a new one, something that I felt I could trust not to have the same problem and something not made by Tefal hopefully.
So wandering round Comet I came across this steamer. It's priced at £77.86 in Comet but also available from Amazon for £68.04. I really thought I would have to take time to seriously think about paying so much for a steamer. But reading up on it kind of won me over pretty much straight away.
So once getting this home and setting it up on the worktop I was still impressed with the look of it. It is silver and black in colour with a blue light digital timer. The plastic compartments are tinted blue with black handles. I love the look of this. The buttons are easy to press and simple to use, it's very straight forward once you read the basics.
The difference you will notice straight away as it is not tiered like most other steamers. The three compartments on this are all on the same level. This does mean it is a lot bigger than other steamers so does take up a lot of worktop space.
The reason for this is obvious though and the reason why it has been call the Intellisteam. The steamer has the choice to have the three compartments to be set for different times. For instance if you had something on the back needing t be cooked for 30 minutes then one other compartment for 20 minutes and the last for 10 minutes you put all your food in the compartments and set the timer for each. The Intellisteam will then switch each compartment on when needed so all your food is ready at the same time but also means you can just put it all in at the same time and get on with doing something else or just time for you to relax. Even better is you can save you're timings in the memory for future use.
There is also pre-set times for different items life chicken, fish, vegetables and rice so you no longer need to guess how long you are putting things in for and again this means you don't have to keep going back to check that it's ok and not over-cooked.
Once the food has been cooked it beeps to let you know it's finished but can keep the food warm for up to 40 minutes, so there's no rush if you are busy doing something else or waiting for you're roast beef to cook in the oven.
I do leave this out on my worktop instead of putting away after use but it's not too heavy so easy to lift and put in your cupboard but just remember to empty the water out first. There is a cord storage plug and cord wrap to store neatly underneath the base, so no more cables hanging out whilst stored in the cupboard. I would not recommend using on wortops with cupboards sitting just above it as there is a lot of steam like most steamers. I don't have cupboards above mine and works brilliantly.
8.2 litre capacity.
Cooks complete meals for up to 4 adults.
Instant steam production for instant cooking to help retain vitamins.
Includes a rice tray, a food plinth, 2 sauce trays and also a removable divider wall so the two front containers can be used as one container.
Visible water gauge which allows water levels to be checked during cooking and theres also external water top up for handy water top up during cooking
Removable drip tray for easy cleaning. All are dishwasher safe as well as the containers and drip tray, so no cleaning after dinner either!!
Boil dry safety cut-out - this is an alarm that will go off and will also stop cooking food if water boils dry.
In three simply steps you can create a delicious healthy meal / Simply arrange your food into one of the three versatile compartments, set the different cook times and enjoy a delicious healthy meal cooked to finish altogether / IntelliSteam has a helpful pre-set time guide clearly displaying how long it takes to cook foods such as chicken, fish, rice, sauce and even eggs so if you are new to Steaming you donãt need to worry / You can also personalise and save settings for future use, so if you like your vegetables crunchy you can adapt the timer to suit your preference / Short name: Morphy Richards 48780