At this time of year with the crisp Autumn mornings, it’s so important that we have a hearty filling breakfast – especially the kids. So, its a great time to be thinking about one of the most nutritious, filling breakfasts you can get – porridge. In recent years, porridge has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity and, whereas in the past it used to be considered bland and boring, often eaten with salt or sugar and a splash of milk, these days people are adding cinnamon, apples, blueberries and even honey to spice it up a bit. I think its delicious – and its very healthy.
But did you know that you can actually cook great tasting porridge in a rice cooker without the hassle and mess of the traditional stove top method of cooking?
Well, you can, and I’m about to explain how to do it.
So, lets take look…
Porridge Is Versatile
Yes it is, there I said it! Most people think that porridge is just oats soaked and then boiled – and if thats how you eat it then no wonder you think its boring!!
Whereas many people enjoy it this way – in Scotland you may well be shot for eating it any other way – most of us like to add extra ingredients or put some toppings on – and this opens up a huge number of possibilities. In fact, it’s not unknown for me to make porridge into my main meal of the day.
But, whether you want it for a hearty breakfast, a tasty lunch , or sweetened gourmet-style for dinner – porridge can fit the bill.
An, did I mention that its super-healthy? Because its made primarily from oats, its great for digestion and is full of fiber – just what we need these days. Of course, its not just oats – look at some of the different ways its made around the world:
- Arroz Caldo
- And more…
However, no matter what base ingredients you use, there’s one thing that all good porridge grains have in common – they should have a thick texture and be high in starch.
But, before I go on, lets put one thing straight.
There’s been a real upsurge in the number of microwaveable porridge products on the market. These are usually pre-mixed sachets or pots of porridge with a filling or topping and can be cooked in a few minutes by adding milk and placing them in the microwave. There’s no doubt they are handy – and I eat them as well – but there’s nothing quite like the taste and texture that you can get by cooking from scratch – and thats why I always prefer to make my porridge in a rice cooker.
How to Cook Porridge In a Rice Cooker
Luckily, cooking porridge in a rice cooker is about as simple as it gets.
But why use a rice cooker? Why not use a pot or even a slow cooker? Well here’s my take on it:
- Pressure cookers and slow cookers are big and bulky. They take up a lot of space in your kitchen and they aren’t that easy to clean.
- Cooking on the stove-top gets very messy and needs you to constantly stand over the pot stirring and watching.
A rice cooker, on the other hand, is the most convenient way to cook porridge. Because a rice cooker is more of a set-and-forget devices, its usually just a case of throwing the mix in, pressing a button and going away to get ready for school/work/have a long lie 😉
Another thing I like about cooking porridge in the rice cooker is that it cooks like a slow cooker and so the taste is better but it works for any quantity from a single bowl to a large family meal whereas slow cookers work best for larger batches.
The best way, I find, to cook porridge is to prepare it the night before. put it into the rice cooker and set the timer – this is pretty much standard on most rice cookers – and you can wake up to delicious hot porridge first thing in the morning. Or, if your cooker is a budget version you can still cook it the night before and leave the porridge in overnight on keep warm mode. Just be sure to add a bit extra milk to the mix to preventit drying out overnight.
It doesn’t matter what grain you to use, a rice cooker works well with any types of grains, even the notorious difficult steel-cut oats.
How I Make Porridge In a Rice Cooker
There are a couple of factors to take into account when cooking porridge – what consistency are you after (thick or thin) and what grain will you be using.
Since I grew up in an Asian household, I was used to eating porridge made from rice and the variety of choice was Jasmine rice. Its great for porridge because its git a high starch content and so comes out nice and creamy. This kind of porridge is still eaten across a lot of Asia and is known as Congee. Its delicious and I highly recommend that you try it.
Here’s how I cook rice porridge using a rice cooker:
- Rinse the rice thoroughly. Its important that it be clean so be sure to remove and dirt and other impurities.
- Put the rinsed rice directly into the rice cooker pot
- Add water or stock. Personally, I like to use chicken stock and it should be 1:8 rice: liquid if you want a thicker Congee and 1:10 for a thin one.
- If you have a modern rice cooker like as the Zojirushi NS-TSC10, then you can simply push the “Porridge” cooking setting. Otherwise set up the cooker according to your preferences and get cooking.
- Stir the rice every now and then to help make it more starchy.
- Once the porridge is cooked, transfer it to a bowl and add your favorite topping. Normally, I have my Congee with beef or chicken and mushrooms but its also great with most kinds of vegetables.
The process for cooking porridge using oats is almost identical except you can add milk instead of chicken stock for a rich, creamy consistency. Porridge made with oats is, in my opinion, a bit more bland that rice porridge so I normally add some sugar or honey after its been cooked.
Tip: If you let the porridge cool its forms a lovely skin which can hold honey or soft fruits such as strawberries or blueberries. Nuts are also great for a high fiber, high energy breakfast.
Should You Soak The Rice?
I know a few people who like to soak the rice first. That’s fine but, personally I dont bother. It does reduce the cooking time a little though, so remember to adjust your cooker accordingly. For oats based porridge you should definitely soak the grains – I recommend leaving them overnight as they will absorb a lot of water and cook faster.
That also applies if you are using brown rice or red, and black rice.
So, hopefully I’ve managed to convince you that a rice cooker is a great way to cook porridge and that there are several kinds you can make. Whether its tasty rice porridge or a super filling and healthy oatmeal porridge, its very easy to make.
So, go on, fire up your rice cooker and start eating some of the healthiest food you can find.
Thank you for reading