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Rice Cooker Advice

DeniseM

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I just got my first rice cooker - I'm trying to streamline some of my cooking with a broken hand.

The directions that came with it are very vague - the base underneath the pot seems to be spring loaded. Does the appliance turn off when a certain amount of water weight has boiled away or what?

Can you make things like rice pilaf in a rice cooker? - mine only came with directions for plain steamed rice.
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
$10 (Used, Of Course) Black & Decker Rice Steamer.

I just got my first rice cooker - I'm trying to streamline some of my cooking with a broken hand.

The directions that came with it are very vague - the base underneath the pot seems to be spring loaded. Does the appliance turn off when a certain amount of water weight has boiled away or what?

Can you make things like rice pilaf in a rice cooker? - mine only came with directions for plain steamed rice.
Our el cheapo basic model has a wind-up timer that just goes DING 1 time at the end of the set time to announce that that the rice (etc.) is done. I think the timer also shuts off the boiler when the set time expires, but I won't swear to it.

We mostly use the rice steamer to steam rice (duh!), but we've used it to steam other grains, also dried beans that have soaked in water all night.

Yum.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

 

frb

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I think there's a built in sensor to determine when the rice is done and then it stops cooking (ie. dings, pops). Keep in mind the rice cooker is still on to keep the rice warm, until you unplug it or turn it off completely. At least that's how ours works. Can't help you with the rice pilaf, never tried it!
 

DeniseM

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The link said a thermometer determines when all the water has been absorbed by a sudden increase in tem.- (Thanks Theresa!) - makes sense.

But, what is the spring underneath the pan for?

** Never mind - I just didn't read far enough:

Water and rice sit inside the cooking pan while it's inserted into the rice cooker's shell. The pan's weight depresses the thermal-sensing device, and the heating plate quickly brings the water to a boil. The sensing device is a small, spring-loaded thermometer that gauges the temperature of the pan's contents. It's set into the bottom of the rice cooker's main body.
 

Passepartout

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My el cheapo one works pretty much as you suggest. The weight of the water/rice mixture holds down the internal switch until a certain amount of water has absorbed/evaporated. Mine doesn't have a keep-warm feature. It works fine with plain rice, long grain, sushi, basmati, all the normal types. Wild rice has to cook waaay too long (it's really a grass seed, not rice). I've found that if I spray the inside with Pam, and use chicken broth instead of plain water it makes good rice and is easy to clean. We haven't tried rice pilaf. Try one of those folding steamer baskets in it to steam fish and veggies.

Jim Ricks
 

ricoba

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Since I am married to a Filipina, I have some expertise in using a rice cooker.

These are the instructions I learned from my Mother in Law, many years ago.

Put in the desired amount of rice (for ours a cup will fill ours)

Rinse and clean the rice 3 times. Just wash it, stir it by hand then pour out the water...Why 3 times I don't know but that's what I learned.

Now, put an open hand on the rice, with your fingers touching it and then fill the water up to where the water reaches about the first knuckle on your finger tips.

Put the lid on, pop down the button and wait. It will turn off by itself, let the rice rest a minute or two afterward before serving.

I have consistently made excellent rice, by simply following these simple steps. :)
 

DebBrown

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I just have a cheapy one - $5 at CVS. I use it for all types of rice and also quinoa and oatmeal. It's pretty easy.

I agree about rinsing the rice though. This keeps it from getting too spongy/sticky. Different types of rice will cook a little differently. I find some need a bit more or less water. If the rice is mushy or too sticky, try a little less water next time.

Deb
 

SDKath

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What kind of cooker did you get? I need a new one too. K
 

DeniseM

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It isn't fancy - it was $17.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond after a 20% off coupon - Proctor Silex 10 cup rice cooker

But I tried it tonight and it worked great!

 

DeniseM

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I got a new food processor too! -
 

frb

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Nice Denise! Not only a Starwood moderator, but now also a Ronco expert!:rofl:
 

DeniseM

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Nice Denise! Not only a Starwood moderator, but now also a Ronco expert!:rofl:
I like to cook from scratch and since I broke my right hand, I'm trying to find some appliances to make the job a little easier! :D
 

rsnash

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Since pilaf starts with browning aromatics in a bit of oil, then sauteing the rice before adding liquid, it won't make a true pilaf. But you can get similar results by adding some cooked chopped onion/garlic (cook a bunch and keep it in a container in the fridge (how many recipes do you have that start with dicing and browning an onion? Make a lot at once and use about 1/4 cup (cooked) per onion needed by recipe)), and cooking the rice in stock or broth. You can add other pilaf ingredients (herbs and chopped nuts for example) by folding in as you put rice into a serving bowl.

I resisted buying a rice cooker for a long time, but my dh got annoyed by another pot of overcooked stove-top rice and insisted. It is now one of my most used gadgets. Even though it technically takes longer to cook rice, especially brown rice, it doesn't feel that way. Here's why: You measure your rice, add your liquid, hit start button. Now you pay no attention to the rice until dinner time. No waiting for water to boil to lower the heat, no worries of boiling over and a messy stove, no over cooking to mush or burning a pot.

You can even start it in the morning and it will be waiting and warm for you when you get home. Or, just start it as soon as you realize you want rice for dinner, before doing any other prep. It's usually done before I am done with everything else. And, make extra. My rice cooker cooks up to 3 cups (raw) rice, so I make a full batch. It takes about the same amount of time. But that is at least 4 meals worth, so some goes in the fridge and some goes in the freezer (in meal size portions). Easy to reheat for a quick side dish in the microwave.

The other thing I make now all the time is oatmeal. Real oatmeal, not the instant packets, but the recommended-to-soak-overnight kind. (I buy Steel Cut Oats or 7 Grain Cereal Blend from the bulk bins at whole foods for ~$1.20/lb). I make a full cup (max for my cooker for porridge), fill to just above the indicated water line (it always seems to need more), add 1 tsp salt, other seasonings like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and 2-3 oz chopped dried fruit (apricots, prunes, cherries, whatever you like). Set cooker to porridge setting (the asian brands all seem to have this, but they usually cost a bit more). If you use a rice setting it won't cook right. Fabulous HEALTHY breakfast. I get 5-6 servings out of a batch. So, once again, it is something that takes a long time to cook (I usually set it up on a timer at night), but I get several days of easy to reheat in the microwave breakfasts. Top with freshly toasted chopped nuts, mmm.

Another hint for the rice, is to use slightly less water than indicated, especially if the rice is going to sit a while keeping warm before you eat it.
 

Icarus

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Am I the only one with a fuzzy logic rice cooker?

They always have one or another at Costco.

They are great. But you aren't going to get one for $17.99.

-David
 
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