Are you a fan of rice and enjoy eating different dishes made with rice often? Well, if so then might already know that rice is a staple food in different parts of the world and over half of the world’s population consume rice on a daily basis.
Eating rice has many benefits that you will notice over time. For example, rice is a great source of vitamins and minerals (vitamin D, fiber, iron, thiamine, niacin, calcium). It is rich in carbohydrates, it does not contain any cholesterol or harmful fats, is has diuretic and digestive qualities and it can protect your body from many types of cancer. Wow!
You can also cook rice in many different ways: you can boil or steam it in a pot, you can fry it in a pan or you can buy a rice cooker and let it cook itself.
With a specialist rice cooker, it is really easy to cook your rice because it is designed to prepare the rice by boiling or steaming it to a pre-defined program that you choose. The cooker consists of a thermostat, a heat source and a bowl that is designed for cooking.
It is true that some cookers might have more components or sensors and can also have different ways of working, but the majority have the basic components mentioned above.
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Basic rice cookers models
You might be wondering how the basic rice cookers work. Well, you simply have to fill the cooking bowl with the amount of rice and water that you want and set the cooking program.
While the cooking process is in progress, the mixture heats the water which quickly reaches a temperature of 100°C (that is 212 °F). You will notice that, at the end of the cooking process, there won’t be any water remaining because the rice will absorb some of it and the rest will be evaporated.
At this point, you will see that as the heating process continues, the temperature will rise above the boiling point and this will make cause the thermostat to kick in. This is because rice cookers are designed so they wont burn your rice!
There are some cookers on the market that will switch to power saving mode that consumes less power but will keep the rice warm to a temperature of around 65°C (that means 150 °F). Some simpler models will not have this feature though and will simply switch themselves off.
You can try to experiment with different ways of cooking with your rice cooker, for example, you will notice that if you add more water, the cooking process will take longer but the rice will come out softer and fluffier.
It will usually take between 30 minutes and one hour for most rice cookers to complete the cooking process. The more advanced models have an interesting option that can approximate the time of cooking before the process starts, from the start point to finish and you can get others that will actively monitor the rice and adjust cooking time to give the best results. Of course, this functionality comes at a price..
The amount of time that your rice will take to cook will depend on different factors: the amount of rice that you want to cook, the heating elements and the power that they have and even ambient air pressure.
Types Of Rice
Rice cookers can be optimized to prepare certain types of rice in the best way. A long grain rice is usually cooked using a boil-and-strain method or steaming.
If you cook this type of rice with a Japanese rice cooker, you will notice that the texture will become a little bit stickier and the taste will change. Many oriental people prefer this consistency.
Brown rice is slightly different when it comes to the cooking process because this type of rice will take longer to be fully cooked in comparison to white rice.
There are 3 common varieties of Asian rice, and each takes a different time to be fully cooked so you should consider the kind of dish you are preparing and adjust the times appropriately. African rice (Zizania or Oryza) can be cooked using the same process and works well in most rice cookers.
Rice cookers are a great purchase for most families that enjoy eating different types of rice. They can cook using both a boiling or a steaming process and can handle a range of foods.
So, in conclusion, no matter what type of rice you want to cook, a rice cooker is a valuable time-saving appliance that can handle the entire cooking process for you. Now, its time to go and choose the model you need.