Rice cookers have been around for over 60 years after originally being invented in Japan by Toshiba. After they increased in popularity, other companies started getting involved and making their own. Before long, the market was saturated and rice cookers were all over the world with different abilities and multiple features.
The term rice cooker was formerly used to describe rice-cooking utensils throughout Japanese history (and all throughout the world), however, the modern rice cooker is known as a suihanki. After it’s invention rice cooking changed for people all over the world as it was now a lot easier to cook rice to the perfect consistency.
Despite initially using a heating mechanism to heat up the rice until it reached a certain point, rice cookers have come a long since then and are now a lot more efficient and energy saving.
We’ve produced this article to help you learn a little more about rice cookers, what they can cook, and what the best way to use them is. Specific information isn’t always available online and it’s always safe to see what you’re buying before you actually buy it. So, if you’re looking at investing your money into a rice cooker or you already have one but don’t know what to do with it – keep reading.
What is a Rice Cooker?
Before we go into detail about the different foods you can cook, we thought it would be good to clear up what a rice cooker actually is. It is an automatic kitchen appliance that is designed to steam or boil rice; there is often a thermometer on the outside of the bowl that heats up and lets you know how hot or cold the rice is inside. There are more complex rice cookers that have other sensors and components, but a conventional rice cooker is a pretty simple and neat appliance to have in your kitchen.
The way the rice cooker works is the cooking bowl (in the center of the cooker) is filled with rice and water. It’s at this point that you should estimate how much you will need; you don’t want to cook too much but you also don’t want to cook not enough.
The rice water is then heated at full power until the water reaches 100°; the rice cooker cannot get any hotter than that as the water will start to evaporate. However, at the end of the cooking process, there will be no water left as most of it will have been absorbed by the rice. Once the rice is cooked some rice cookers will switch to a warming mode which will keep the rice at a nice warm temperature that is safe to eat.
Reasons Why You Should Buy One
There are many reasons why you would use a rice cooker if your household eats a lot of rice and you aren’t that good at cooking, it then it is an automatic lifesaver. Cooking rice is typically a process that requires a lot of attention; if you’re boiling it on the stove top, it can easily become burned on the bottom of the pan, or more often than not, when you think the rice is done it’s still crunchy.
Having an electric rice cooker allows you to simply turn it on, set the heat, and leave it until the rice is done. If you don’t need it immediately, you can even leave the rice on the warming mode.
Despite taking around 30 to 45 minutes to boil rice (which is considerably more than the 10-minute boil-in-the-bag deals), the rice comes out fluffy and fresh, a taste you may only really ever get at an authentic Japanese restaurant or somewhere that specializes in rice cooking.
How to Cook Rice Using a Rice Cooker
It isn’t always just as simple as putting rice and water into the heating bowl of your rice cooker; there are steps which you have to take to ensure the rice cooks thoroughly and to the best taste possible. For every cup of rice, you add to the inner bowl, you have to add the same amount of water (or adding the water until it fills up to the line provided).
Once you have securely fitted the inner bowl back into the rice cooker, you can connect the rice cooker to the power and get started. Some people recommend you add vegetable oil to the rice so that it doesn’t stick together during the cooking process and while we understand this is a logical thing to do, it can often mix with the water and create a paste that you don’t want. Just be careful if you’re using oil or something similar.
When the rice is finally cooked you can sir it and serve it as quickly as possible; this will ensure the rice doesn’t start sticking together or get starchy. Whenever you’re not using the rice cooker make sure that it isn’t plugged in or wasting energy.
Try Cooking Something Else
Contrary to popular belief you don’t just have to cook rice in a rice cooker since it’s invention and popularity people have been finding all different ways to successfully use it to cook other food ingredients including oatmeal, rice, beans, grains and even vegetables.
If you’re looking for the perfectly cooked piece of broccoli or carrots, then boiling and steaming them in a rice cooker could completely change up your meal planning. Similarly, you can add oatmeal with your desired amount of milk (and/or water) and create a delicious breakfast perfect for those days when you’re rushing about. If you do decide to make oatmeal, then just treat the dried oatmeal as rice and the milk or water as the water.
Depending on how you like your oatmeal to taste (soft or crunchy) then you may want to leave the rice cooker on for a longer or shorter amount of time. it is essentially all down to your personal preference, but cooking other food items in your rice cooker can be exciting!