Did you ever have that difficult time of wanting to cook something but don’t have stove nor pans and pots? Are you saving up money to buy just one type of kitchen appliance? Fret no more because electric rice cookers are here for your cooking convenience. Sit back, relax, and read this new post on how to use an electric rice cooker.
The Electric Rice Cooker and Its Origin
The electric rice cooker, as most of us probably know, is an automated electric kitchen appliance used for cooking, boiling, or warming rice.
“It utilizes an insulated outer container and an inner removable bowl, often coated with a non-stick surface, and has an indicator for water level to be maintained vis-à-vis the quantity of rice” (Consumer Voice Report 2013). The history of electric rice cookers even goes way back to Japan’s post-war period.
People who had a difficult time cooking rice over pots and stoves led Japan’s largest companies, particularly Sony and Toshiba, to create a device to make cooking rice better and easier in order to feed the big rice-dependent countries like Japan and the rest of Asia.
The very first successful rice cooker was made in 1955 by Toshiba and was eventually followed by more as technology became more advanced through the years.
How to Use an Electric Rice Cooker – Examples
You may be probably wondering since the introduction of this post what electric rice cookers can do. Do they just cook and warm rice? Actually, they can do more; that’s the beauty of rice cookers.
Despite its name, rice cookers are multi-functional and can do more than just cooking your perfect rice. Although there are many different kinds of rice cookers, even the very basic two-setting – cook and keep warm, can be used to cook more than just rice.
Some of the many dishes you can cook with electric rice cookers are:
- breakfast foods like frittatas and boiled eggs
- side dishes like beans and mashed potatoes
- whole meals like pork roast and steamed meats and veggies
- and even desserts like banana bread and salad
Curious? Read along to know how to cook your favorite mac and cheese in your rice cooker.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Rice Cookers
From all the posts you’ve read on this blog, you may have already got the idea that rice cookers give you tons of benefits. Some advantages of rice cookers in your kitchen are:
- It’s hassle-free
- It saves up your time
- Most often than not, it cooks the perfect rice
- It can cook more than just rice and is therefore a versatile kitchen appliance
- It keeps your rice and/or dish warm until you serve
Although rice cookers have all these great benefits, it would be a little bias to only talk about its advantages. With this, here are also the disadvantages of rice cookers:
- Some rice cookers have difficult manuals (if you’re not techie enough then you might have a problem with this).
- Like all many different appliances, the quality and durability of rice cookers depends on the brand and ISO approval.
- The best rice cookers are most often than not, expensive.
- Rice cookers don’t actually speed up the cooking process.
I personally think that these disadvantages are not hopeless cases and can be prevented with the right choices. There are particular rice cookers that are cheap but can do quite well the cooking for you. In the case of manuals, one can eventually learn overtime. For the cooking process, even though rice cookers take a while, the end result is often positive. Also, you can multitask as the rice is cooking.
Furthermore, despite these disadvantages, the impact and immediate widespread of rice cookers are undeniable.
Cooking Rice in an Electric Rice Cooker
Preparing rice with an electric rice cooker is really hassle free since your only concern is preparing the rice and not on the cooking itself. Cooking rice actually goes through four phases or stages of cooking (Toothman 2008):
- Sitting in water
- Absorbing water (steaming)
If we look at these stages, we can really tell that rice cookers greatly does all the cooking for us. Basically, the cooking of rice in a rice cooker depends on the rice variety and the type of rice cooker.
In general, it goes through these series of steps:
- Wash or rinse the rice by sifting your fingers through the water and the rice grains. In some rice varieties and rice brands, you’re advised to skip this part. (Be sure to read the manuals!)
- Add water to rice after rinsing. The ratio of your standard one cup of white rice to water is usually 1:1. Again, this depends on your rice variety and sometimes your rice cooker.
- Place your inner pan on your rice cooker’s main body. Make sure to wipe the outer surface of your inner pan for safety measures since your rice cooker requires electric current.
- Cook your rice (see your rice cooker manual for reference on how to start cooking).
- After cooking, fluff your rice and serve. Remember that your rice cooker has a function to keep your rice warm until you are ready to serve so no rush!
Cooking a Mac and Cheese in an Electric Rice Cooker
We’ve talked about the many different recipes you can cook in a rice cooker and I’ve mentioned that I will introduce one dish, particularly mac and cheese, to you in this post.
Mac and cheese, a shorter term for macaroni and cheese, is an English dish consisting of macaroni pasta and cheddar cheese sauce. Sometimes, it is added with other ingredients such as vegetables and meat.
Here is the step-by-step guide of cooking simple mac and cheese in a rice cooker (based from a recipe courtesy of Food Network):
- 2 cups of macaroni pasta
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 ½ cup of evaporated milk
- 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup cubed processed cheese
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Put together your macaroni pasta, salt, and water in your inner rice cooker pan.
- Set your rice cooker to standard cooking mode (see your rice cooker manual for reference).
- When most of the water is absorbed, put in your evaporated milk, cheddar cheese, processed cheese, and black pepper together. Stir them in.
- As your rice cooker turns into warm mode, close the lid and occasionally stir in the ingredients together for about 8-10 minutes.
There you go. Enjoy your mac and cheese!
The invention of electric rice cookers has led to positive reviews and widespread usage. Indeed, rice cookers contributed a lot not just in rice consumption but in the culinary world as well. With all these great benefits particularly in food consumption, it is safe to say that electric rice cookers are worth buying since it not only saves you time but gives you immense help in cooking the perfect rice as well as other sorts of dishes.
So purchase your own rice cooker now! I promise that you won’t regret it.
If you have extra commentaries and suggestions not included in this blog post then do comment them down below.