It has been over 60 years since Toshiba released the first rice cooker that was commercially successful. After they increased in popularity, other companies started getting involved and making their own that had varying capabilities 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 way since then and are now a lot more efficient and energy saving.
What Foods Can I Cook in a Rice Cooker
Contrary to popular belief foods other than rice can be prepared in a rice cooker. Since it’s invention and increasing popularity, people have been finding different ways to successfully use it to cook other foods including oatmeal, eggs, vegetables, beans, grains and even desserts.
Oatmeal can be prepared by adding water and steel cut oats to the inner cooking pan. After placing the pan in the body of the cooker, plug the unit in. Depending upon your rice cooker, use either the "steel cut oatmeal" or the porridge setting. After the Keep Warm setting is activated, open the lid, stir and add milk or half&half and brown sugar if desired. Some rice cookers are equipped with a timer function that allows you to put the oats and water in the cooker the night before and it will be ready in the morning. Depending upon 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 seems that every blogger has the right technique for making the perfect boiled egg. It was surprising to learn that it can be done using a rice cooker (the eggs are actually steamed). The two advantages are being able to cook a number a eggs at a time and ones that are easy-to-peel.
Place a cup or two of water and the eggs in the steamer tray and set it in the pot. The time needed to cook the eggs is dependent upon your unit and whether you prefer soft or hard boiled eggs. Most units come with recipes and suggested cooking times. After reviewing several websites it seems the most common range is 10-25 minutes.
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. Here is a great description of how to cook beans in a rice cooker. The beans can be soaked before placing them in the cooker or soaked in the cooker.
Fixing macaroni and cheese in a rice cooker is fairly straightforward. A simple, tasty recipe can be found here.
Other foods that can be prepared in a rice cooker are: pork roast, cheesecake, chocolate cake, chili, stew and a whole host of soups.