Rice is such an essential ingredient in so many people’s diets that preparing it properly is very important these days. Rice that has stuck to the bottom of a pan and burned is basically inedible, as is rice that has been under-cooked and is hard. Of course, adding more water can be added to the cook to counteract the second problem but, the rice may end up burning anyway.
The other problem facing time-pressed chefs these days is that rice cooked in the traditional method, in a pan over a low heat, not only takes a considerable amount of time, but needs a lot of care and constant attention. The heat from the stove will fluctuate, causing the water in the pot to burn off too quickly. Or, if too much water has been added, the rice will take longer to cook and may end up gluey. Either way, rice cooked using the traditional method needs a lot of effort.
However,Rice that has stuck to the bottom of a pan and burned is basically inedible, as is rice that has undercooked and is hard. While more water can be added in an attempt to counteract the second problem, the rice may end up burning anyway.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Help is at hand in the form of your friendly, convenient rice cooker!
Choosing The Right Size
The first thing to consider when planning to buy a rice cooker is how large a cooker will be needed. It makes no sense to buy a rice cooker that will produce 3 cups of rice if a household of seven or eight people needs to be fed. It would, however, be a good idea to buy a larger rice cooker if parties or family get-togethers are planned. Generally, the smallest rice cooker will produce about 6 cups of cooked rice whereas a medium sized cooker will make 10 cups with the largest models delivering a belly busting 20 cups of rice ready to serve.
Features To Look For
Features are very important in rice cookers, so be sure to check which features are available before you buy. A very inexpensive rice cooker will generally just cook the rice and switch itself off. There will probably not even be an indicator light to let you know that the rice is done. However, more sophisticated rice cookers will provide features that make preparing the rice both faster and easier – and in many cases help get better, more consistent results. For example, some rice cookers come with a steaming tray, which allows vegetables to be cooked at the same time as the rice. Rice cookers that keep the rice warm after cooking will keep the rice fresh and edible for hours after it is done.
To help prevent the rice from boiling over, better rice cookers will feature a steam vent. Another great feature is a clear lid so that you can watch the progress of the rice visually. Some rice cookers even provide separate setting for different kinds of rice.
Cleaning & Maintenance
One last thing to consider will be how easy it will be to keep your rice cooker clean. A pan without a non-stick coating might prove difficult to wash, especially if the rice is allowed to sit in it too long. A non-stick coating or a clay pan will usually be the easiest to maintain and a removable inner lid is very desirable.
Warm & Fuzzy
One of the most highly recommended rice cookers is the Zojirushi rice cooker. This brand of rice cooker has an advanced feature – fuzzy logic!. That means it can adjust cooking times and temperatures automatically to suit whatever type of rice you are cooking. It’s like having a smart thinking appliance.
Most Zojirushi rice cookers have a timer function which is great for when you want cooked cereal for breakfast. Simply set the timer the night before and your breakfast will be ready and waiting for you when you wake. Likewise, you can set the rice to be ready when you arrive home at night!
A rice cooker takes the hassle out of cooking rice and you don’t need to spend a fortune for perfectly cooked rice every time.
With just a little research, by reading some rice cooker reviews, for example, and by understanding which cookers match your requirements, you can easily make great investment that will last you for years.
Hopefully, you enjoyed this post and, if you would like to find out more great ways to use your rice cooker, I have posts covering how to cook pasta, fish, or even lentils. Who knew that a rice cooker could be so versatile ?!