Cooks' Tools

About the Rice Cooker:
Why do I need one? Boil 4 cups water, toss in 4 cups minute rice, 5 minutes later done.

What am I missing that I need another appliance on my counter dedicated to rice? (Steamer; drop in a $5 folding steamer basket).

I know I am missing something, and the urge to buy one is strong…

Minute rice is dehydrated, pre-cooked rice. Rice cookers cook uncooked rice.

If you want to cook uncooked rice on the stove top, the process is typically:

Put in quantity of rice, put in quantity of water that is of a 2:1 ratio as the quantity of rice (i.e. 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of rice) and, option, put in some butter.

Bring water to boil, then turn the heat down to low and leave it at a simmer. Put a lid on and let simmer for ~ 15-20 minutes. Afterward, turn heat off, let sit for another 15-20 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

With a rice cooker, the process is: pour water and rice into the container at a 2:1 water:rice ratio. Turn rice cooker on. Come back 30-40 minutes later to a pot of cooked rice.

The best reason to get a rice cooker is the economy of uncooked rice. You can get uncooked rice at < $1 per pound, which is certainly cheaper than cooked rice.

I have the 4 cup Cuisinart rice cooker for sale in this event.

It was messy to use until I learned a trick from a very useful amazon reviewer.

Put the basket on top of the rice cooking pan and the glass lid on top of the basket every time you use the steamer. If you don’t put the steamer basket and just use the glass lid then it will boil over a little and get sticky rice water all over.

Putting the steamer basket on top of the pot gives it enough venting space to let the bubbling rice-water cool down without leaking out around the glass top.

I too have the rice cooker. It is great. We use it for rice and fresh veggies. Honestly, if you’ve always eaten “minute” rice, you’re in for a surprise as to how good rice can actually be…

Does the rice cooker work well for brown rice?

I use brown rice regularly, it’s the same. Mine also knows when to turn off. I think it tells from vapor being created. I don’t even set a timer. It doesn’t turn OFF off. It turns to WARM. So, if I go out, it is ready when I get back.

Please realize I am talking about MY rice steamer. You’d have to research if THIS one has the same options.

I use my rice cooker to made quinoa also. After rinsing the quinoa I use 2x water to 1 measure quinoa. Easy peasy!

If you want a rice cooker, you’re better off with one that actually seals on the top instead of just a lid. One like this:

Many thanks!

In addition, Minute Rice is bland and mushy.

My rice cooker is a lot fancier than this, but I can just toss the rice and water in before I start fixing dinner, and I know I’ll have rice when I’m done with everything else, no matter how long it takes. Even if I get distracted and don’t come back for an hour or two.

I can also toss steel cut oats in it at night and tell it to have my oatmeal ready at seven in the morning, but I doubt this one will do that.

Yep, what everyone else said. Uncooked non-instant rice is a different thing than the cooked instant stuff. Not only is it cheaper, but better for you. And you can buy it in 25 pound bags, seal it in smaller containers, and it will last for years.

I like to add butter, and various spices to suit my mood. Cajun, garlic, chicken bullion, etc. Cooks it right in. And WAY better than those instant side-dish packets. And WAY cheaper.

And it is totally set it and forget it. You can even set many of them hours before (not speaking for the one here, don’t have it). For example, you can do a crock pot meal, with a pot of rice on the side, and it’s just done when you get home from work.

Also, if like me, you weren’t familiar with the difference between uncooked and instant rice, you may discover that you like rice a whole lot better than you thought.

For me, being able to remove one more prepackaged crap-food from my diet was a real win.

Oh my. I never thought of that. Does yours keep the water separate until cook time? What model do you have? I would consider buying a separate one just for that…

Regarding rice cookers: There are two kinds-cheapos and better ones.

The cheapos are the ones with glass or metal lids that sit on the top. They often boil over.

The better ones have a hinged top with a gasket that makes the unit act almost like a pressure cooker.

Sanyo makes a great one with programs for differnent types of rice and has a thick titanium-coated bowl. And there is an “Aroma” brand that is also OK and less expensive.

Look for the hinged top and the gasket. You will never go back to the other ones!

The crockpot is a great deal, even compared with recent deals in stores. The next-cheapest crockpot I found was a clearance 4-quart for $13 at Fred Meyer. $4 more for 2 extra quarts? Yeah, I could swing that.

No, the oats soak in the water overnight, which is a good think, since steel-cut oats need a good soaking.

I’ve got ten-year-old Zojirushi rice cooker. It has neuro-fuzzy logic but not the spherical heating element of the newer ones.

That may be more than you want to spend on a rice cooker. I found that, after I got it, I cooked rice a lot more often, just because it was so easy. I usually cook basmati rice, too, which tastes great and is still a lot less than Minute Rice if you buy ten or twenty pounds at a time. Trader Joe’s has two pounds for three dollars if you don’t want a big sack of mouse bait in the pantry.