Author Topic: Rice Cooker?  (Read 17941 times)

2ndTimer

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Rice Cooker?
« on: February 18, 2015, 12:13:21 PM »
I was just on another thread and someone asked what the benefits are to a rice cooker over just cooking it on the stove.  I want to know too.  We eat rice quite often so if there is an advantage it might be worth it for us.  Convince me to buy a rice cooker.

GizmoTX

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2015, 12:39:37 PM »
A rice cooker controls the cooking temperature without you having to watch it, preventing burned or soupy rice. If the cooker has a timer, rice can be prepped in advance & be ready when you want it. Some will then switch into "keep warm" mode. Ours has a porridge setting & timer, and makes awesome overnight steel cut oatmeal or rice pudding. Ours also has a setting for making GABA brown rice, which is sprouted brown rice containing the amino acid gaba; it involves much longer cooking time at a low temperature.

An excellent alternative to a rice cooker is to use a pressure cooker & a technique called pan in pot, especially if you will also be cooking something to be served with the rice. A pressure cooker dramatically reduces the time needed for making brown rice.

The electric Instant Pot is an excellent pressure cooker that has a timer & also works well as a rice cooker or slow cooker; our son has this as his only small electric appliance in his college apartment.
 


Capsu78

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2015, 01:00:19 PM »
I have had one for over 15 years, (from Japan)  and I am very fond of it- it was a gift to myself from a long ago bonus check.  However, with so many rice options out there I am hard pressed to notice a difference in the outcome.   If you could, I would consider keep cooking it on the stovetop and look for a used one at a garage sale or Goodwill.  There really is not much that goes wrong with them.

jobhopper

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2015, 01:13:32 PM »
Best thing for us is you do not have to monitor the rice (stirring it, etc). Just seems super easy. We are fairly frugal, and we decided to buy one. Great purchase.

RH

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 01:18:49 PM »
Set it and forget it! I can actually start cooking the rice well before everything else and it will automatically keep it warm. I don't have to coordinate the timing of all parts of the meal being ready at the same time.


gimp

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2015, 01:19:48 PM »
You shouldn't be monitoring the rice (stirring) regardless. Rice is the easiest thing to make. Clean it with water, drain it. Pour in the appropriate amount of water (depending on the rice, 1:1 to 1:2 rice to water.) Bring to a boil on a stove. Close pot with lid, turn heat down to about its lowest setting, let it sit for ~20 minutes steaming itself. Or longer if you forget it's there. You're done. Clean, set on stove, bring to boil, lower heat, let sit, don't touch it, don't look at it, don't do anything with it for 20 minutes or so.

No idea why y'all need an extra implement to do something so trivially done on a stove.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2015, 01:22:09 PM »
I've always had a rice cooker and steamer. They cost $30-$50 and last 10yrs. My current one has two baskets so I can steam rice and veggies at the same time or two sets of veggies.

I'll always have one. So convenient and so low cost. I also like slow cookers for the same reason.

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RapmasterD

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2015, 01:26:56 PM »
You shouldn't be monitoring the rice (stirring) regardless. Rice is the easiest thing to make. Clean it with water, drain it. Pour in the appropriate amount of water (depending on the rice, 1:1 to 1:2 rice to water.) Bring to a boil on a stove. Close pot with lid, turn heat down to about its lowest setting, let it sit for ~20 minutes steaming itself. Or longer if you forget it's there. You're done. Clean, set on stove, bring to boil, lower heat, let sit, don't touch it, don't look at it, don't do anything with it for 20 minutes or so.

No idea why y'all need an extra implement to do something so trivially done on a stove.

+1

neil

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2015, 01:36:33 PM »
The rice comes out perfect every time.  New ones function to cook for the time it needs to cook (it is not fixed) and then move to a stage to keep the rice warm for a period of time before shutting off.  You could argue that is a skill someone should learn, though.  When I was younger, I found undercooked rice very demotivating for making rice dishes.  For years I just didn't even bother and usually made pasta.

When you are preparing bigger meals, you can start the rice ahead of time (the rice cooker will keep the rice uniformly warm pretty well) and it provides more real estate for other items if you need it.

I know people with Japanese-made Zojirushis that basically last forever, but I have not had problems with the $30 budget cooker I purchased.  I usually refrain from buying kitchen trinkets, but I've found my rice cooker useful. 

ZiziPB

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2015, 01:44:35 PM »
You shouldn't be monitoring the rice (stirring) regardless. Rice is the easiest thing to make. Clean it with water, drain it. Pour in the appropriate amount of water (depending on the rice, 1:1 to 1:2 rice to water.) Bring to a boil on a stove. Close pot with lid, turn heat down to about its lowest setting, let it sit for ~20 minutes steaming itself. Or longer if you forget it's there. You're done. Clean, set on stove, bring to boil, lower heat, let sit, don't touch it, don't look at it, don't do anything with it for 20 minutes or so.

No idea why y'all need an extra implement to do something so trivially done on a stove.
+2

Write Thyme

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2015, 01:52:26 PM »
Rice cookers probably save on electricity vs. using the stove.  I have an "Instant Pot' which is a rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, etc. all in one. I love it. Perfect rice every time.

Miamoo

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2015, 02:47:10 PM »
You shouldn't be monitoring the rice (stirring) regardless. Rice is the easiest thing to make. Clean it with water, drain it. Pour in the appropriate amount of water (depending on the rice, 1:1 to 1:2 rice to water.) Bring to a boil on a stove. Close pot with lid, turn heat down to about its lowest setting, let it sit for ~20 minutes steaming itself. Or longer if you forget it's there. You're done. Clean, set on stove, bring to boil, lower heat, let sit, don't touch it, don't look at it, don't do anything with it for 20 minutes or so.

No idea why y'all need an extra implement to do something so trivially done on a stove.
+2
[/quote

+3

1967mama

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2015, 02:52:38 PM »
I use my rice cooker about 3 days a week. Love it!

I love the fix it and forget it feature. I'm a busy mom of a large family and easily forget things on the stove. I do rice and quinoa in mine.

If mine broke, I'd replace it right away.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2015, 02:55:19 PM »
You shouldn't be monitoring the rice (stirring) regardless. Rice is the easiest thing to make. Clean it with water, drain it. Pour in the appropriate amount of water (depending on the rice, 1:1 to 1:2 rice to water.) Bring to a boil on a stove. Close pot with lid, turn heat down to about its lowest setting, let it sit for ~20 minutes steaming itself. Or longer if you forget it's there. You're done. Clean, set on stove, bring to boil, lower heat, let sit, don't touch it, don't look at it, don't do anything with it for 20 minutes or so.

No idea why y'all need an extra implement to do something so trivially done on a stove.
+2
[/quote

+3

It is not very kind of you to make fun of people who use a rice cooker. I like for several reasons:

1. Brown rice takes twice as long to cook on the stove (40 minutes), so I can set it and forget it
2. I can use the delay timer when I am at work and have rice ready when I get home
3. My rice often came out hard or something, I am not a very good cook. This makes it easier.

madamwitty

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2015, 03:11:37 PM »
I use my rice cooker about 3 days a week. Love it!

I love the fix it and forget it feature. I'm a busy mom of a large family and easily forget things on the stove. I do rice and quinoa in mine.

If mine broke, I'd replace it right away.

+1

Rice cookers can be inexpensive and last for years. I cook rice often and find the convenience worth the minimal outlay of money. Set and forget.

If you cook rice less than once or twice a week it's probably not worth it.

4alpacas

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2015, 04:26:45 PM »
You shouldn't be monitoring the rice (stirring) regardless. Rice is the easiest thing to make. Clean it with water, drain it. Pour in the appropriate amount of water (depending on the rice, 1:1 to 1:2 rice to water.) Bring to a boil on a stove. Close pot with lid, turn heat down to about its lowest setting, let it sit for ~20 minutes steaming itself. Or longer if you forget it's there. You're done. Clean, set on stove, bring to boil, lower heat, let sit, don't touch it, don't look at it, don't do anything with it for 20 minutes or so.

No idea why y'all need an extra implement to do something so trivially done on a stove.
I completely agree with your assessment.  However, I am *really* lazy in the kitchen.  Anything I can set and leave until it beeps(i.e. breadmaker, slow cooker, rice maker) is used frequently in my kitchen.  I spent years not cooking, so I'm okay with my laziness. 

I should also mention I use the rice cooker a lot on the weekends when I'm doing my bulk cooking.  It's nice to not have to juggle pots on the stove. 

ShaneD

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2015, 04:55:45 PM »
I've never had a rice cooker, but I do know a few folks that use theirs like a slow cooker, along these lines: http://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutson/surprising-things-you-can-make-in-a-rice-cooker#.bfXX6bkxY

I, however, have never made a decent batch of rice using the traditional methods. Wrong stoves, wrong pots, wrong me: no idea. Just always burnt or mush or both. Best thing I ever did was start cooking it like pasta until al dente, drain, and let steam for a few minutes. Super simple and works for all types of rice. I've heard of it as a method attached to a particular chef's name, but I can't remember the name (and my Internet skills are failing me), but here's Saveur's old take on it: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Perfect-Brown-Rice

2ndTimer

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2015, 04:58:18 PM »
Thanks to everybody who responded.  Based on what you have told me, I don't think I will be buying a rice cooker any time soon.  If a free one shows up, I will give it a try.

Annamal

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2015, 05:02:30 PM »
Perfect rice every time + great risotto.


madamwitty

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2015, 06:47:46 PM »
Best thing I ever did was start cooking it like pasta until al dente, drain, and let steam for a few minutes. Super simple and works for all types of rice. I've heard of it as a method attached to a particular chef's name, but I can't remember the name (and my Internet skills are failing me), but here's Saveur's old take on it: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Perfect-Brown-Rice

I've never cooked it this way, but I've read somewhere (Consumer Reports?) that certain traditional cultures cook it this way and it's better at removing toxins like arsenic.

whiskeyjack

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2015, 08:03:03 PM »
After a long time waffling I just purchased one at Christmas.   I was dubious about introducing something new to sit around on my counters, but I justified it by getting one that is also a slow-cooker/steamer so I replaced my previous slow-cooker.

The main advantage is that you can start the rice whenever and then forget about it and it will not be burned when you finally remember it.    It never boils over onto my stovetop.  I had no trouble cooking good rice on the stovetop but I'd say 1/3 of the time *something* would happen.  The kids, the phone, someone being wrong on the internet, and I'd forget the rice and wind up with a layer of black on the bottom. 

With the potential of failure gone I find we eat more rice.

Secretly Saving

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2015, 08:05:07 PM »
If you had told me that I would ever feel that a rice cooker was a necessity, I would have laughed in your face.  But now, I admit, I am a full convert.  It is the number one used kitchen gadget in our household.  We use it ALL the time.  It even bakes cakes!  We cook rice early in the week and can still eat rice two days later.  It's still warm and moist and ready to go.

gimp

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2015, 08:24:18 PM »
Discussions of the necessity of rice cookers aside - I'm not educated in food safety but I might recommend you NOT keep rice sitting for two days in the danger zone (warm, not hot or cold). But hey, you'll probably make your immune system stronger...

1967mama

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2015, 08:24:52 PM »

The main advantage is that you can start the rice whenever and then forget about it and it will not be burned when you finally remember it.    It never boils over onto my stovetop.  I had no trouble cooking good rice on the stovetop but I'd say 1/3 of the time *something* would happen.  The kids, the phone, someone being wrong on the internet, and I'd forget the rice and wind up with a layer of black on the bottom. 

With the potential of failure gone I find we eat more rice.

+1  This is so me!

Zikoris

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2015, 09:06:30 PM »
I think it's worth it. I make rice on the stove sometimes if I'm making something fancy, but the rest of the time I stick with my six year old housewarming gift. I don't know what the giver paid for it, but it sort of looks like the $20 ones I've seen. Works great.

If I were buying one myself, I'd probably go for the one with a steamer on top. Super easy meals.

GreenPen

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2015, 11:36:17 PM »
You shouldn't be monitoring the rice (stirring) regardless. Rice is the easiest thing to make. Clean it with water, drain it. Pour in the appropriate amount of water (depending on the rice, 1:1 to 1:2 rice to water.) Bring to a boil on a stove. Close pot with lid, turn heat down to about its lowest setting, let it sit for ~20 minutes steaming itself. Or longer if you forget it's there. You're done. Clean, set on stove, bring to boil, lower heat, let sit, don't touch it, don't look at it, don't do anything with it for 20 minutes or so.

No idea why y'all need an extra implement to do something so trivially done on a stove.
+2
[/quote

+3

+4

worms

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2015, 05:01:06 AM »
You shouldn't be monitoring the rice (stirring) regardless. Rice is the easiest thing to make. Clean it with water, drain it. Pour in the appropriate amount of water (depending on the rice, 1:1 to 1:2 rice to water.) Bring to a boil on a stove. Close pot with lid, turn heat down to about its lowest setting, let it sit for ~20 minutes steaming itself. Or longer if you forget it's there. You're done. Clean, set on stove, bring to boil, lower heat, let sit, don't touch it, don't look at it, don't do anything with it for 20 minutes or so.

No idea why y'all need an extra implement to do something so trivially done on a stove.
+2
[/quote

+3

+4

I am a +5 in general, but surprised that no-one has mentioned using the microwave instead! 15 mins covered on simmer plus some sitting time and it is all in the serving dish, so less washing up.  I'm sure that, like 1001 other gadgets, a rice cooker has its merits, but who has kitchen space for all these extras!

StetsTerhune

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2015, 05:21:36 AM »
This is the rice cooker I have. Cheap, gets the job done. We've had it 3-4 years, it's going strong.

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-RC3303-3-Cup-Cooker/dp/B002CVTT52

Yes, I know cooking rice on the stovetop is easy. But not this easy. It takes less than 30 seconds to measure and start it. Then you walk away.

On the stovetop you have to at least be around until it comes to a boil and you turn it down. And until you really get to know a stove, you probably have to be around for the simmering part too. If you're cooking other things in the kitchen, that's not that big a deal, but for me the biggest advantage to a rice cooker is with leftovers. I'll cook and freeze a bunch of indian/chinese/thai/african/whatever food. Walk into the kitchen, start rice, throw something in the microwave on low, whole process takes 45 seconds. 25 minutes later, I'll wander back in and dinner will be ready.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty lazy when it comes to cooking a lot of the time. If having this thing saves you from ordering a pizza once, it's paid for itself. I'd estimate it's saved me from doing something lazy and more expensive for dinner at least 100 times.

Phil_Moore

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2015, 05:25:00 AM »
I can make good rice on the stove, but with a rice cooker it's perfect every time and I get a free spot for a pan.

I've used a few over the years and in my experience the ones that give best results seem to be the really cheap Chinese ones (bonus points if they have pink flowers on them).

mskyle

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2015, 08:25:32 AM »
I was super skeptical about getting a rice cooker but my boyfriend really wanted one, so we got a cheapie (it doesn't even beep when it's done). I am a complete convert. Things I like:
* requires zero supervision, so I can put rice in the cooker and just not worry about it until the rest of the meal is done (especially easy if the meal is just reheating a main dish in the microwave or cooking something in the oven)
* frees up a burner and pot if you're making something more complex
* parts are all dishwasher safe, unlike my pots
* I can just put the pot insert in the fridge if there's leftover rice

I use the rice cooker more than any other small appliance except the kettle (and that includes the microwave).

4alpacas

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2015, 08:54:18 AM »
I can make good rice on the stove, but with a rice cooker it's perfect every time and I get a free spot for a pan.

I've used a few over the years and in my experience the ones that give best results seem to be the really cheap Chinese ones (bonus points if they have pink flowers on them).
Woohoo!  We've had two inexpensive ones, and I love them!  I will admit that I'm hard on my rice cookers because I use it a lot. 
I was super skeptical about getting a rice cooker but my boyfriend really wanted one, so we got a cheapie (it doesn't even beep when it's done). I am a complete convert. Things I like:
* requires zero supervision, so I can put rice in the cooker and just not worry about it until the rest of the meal is done (especially easy if the meal is just reheating a main dish in the microwave or cooking something in the oven)
* frees up a burner and pot if you're making something more complex
* parts are all dishwasher safe, unlike my pots
* I can just put the pot insert in the fridge if there's leftover rice

I use the rice cooker more than any other small appliance except the kettle (and that includes the microwave).
That is a good point.  I'm always shuffling pots when I do my bulk cooking on the weekends.

I don't think a rice cooker is a necessity, but it saves me time and headaches.  Tonight, I'll toss rice, peas, chicken stock, cashews and shredded chicken (precooked, from the freezer) into the rice cooker.  I'll workout...when I come back, dinner is ready!  Woohoo! 

minimalist

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #31 on: February 19, 2015, 09:20:27 AM »
I'm not lazy, but I am often cooking/baking or doing other things while rice is cooking and prefer not having to monitor the rice by using a rice cooker.

pipercat

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #32 on: February 19, 2015, 09:52:41 AM »
The only appliance that gets more use in our house is the coffee maker. 

ShaneD

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #33 on: February 19, 2015, 11:18:47 AM »
That extra burner note is a good point, if you've got the counter space to use instead. Our (came-with-the-apartment) stove is so small, only 1-2 burners are every usable at a time.


Best thing I ever did was start cooking it like pasta until al dente, drain, and let steam for a few minutes. Super simple and works for all types of rice. I've heard of it as a method attached to a particular chef's name, but I can't remember the name (and my Internet skills are failing me), but here's Saveur's old take on it: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Perfect-Brown-Rice

I've never cooked it this way, but I've read somewhere (Consumer Reports?) that certain traditional cultures cook it this way and it's better at removing toxins like arsenic.

Thanks, madamwitty. I'll have to remember that. Sounds way better than that I'm rice-challenged.

GizmoTX

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2015, 03:30:11 PM »
Using a rice cooker or pressure cooker gives you vastly better tasting rice & far cheaper than "minute" rice or boil-in-bag rice.

netskyblue

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #35 on: February 19, 2015, 03:43:32 PM »
How do they work out energy-wise against an average electric stove burner? 

I too am in the camp of bring it to a boil, turn it down & let it be for always-perfect rice.  But maybe there's an energy saving advantage.  I do make rice frequently.

Also, I make rice 90% of the time with chicken stock as the liquid, and a pat of butter stirred in.  Occasionally I use tomato juice to make spanish rice.  Can these be put in a rice cooker?

4alpacas

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2015, 03:55:57 PM »
Also, I make rice 90% of the time with chicken stock as the liquid, and a pat of butter stirred in.  Occasionally I use tomato juice to make spanish rice.  Can these be put in a rice cooker?
Yes.  I put a lot of things in my rice cooker.  When my dog was on a special diet for her upset stomach, I cooked chicken and rice in 6 cup batches for her.  I cook frozen peas and broccoli with my rice.  I use chicken stock and cashews. 

I have no idea for the energy cost of either appliance.  My rice cooker definitely doesn't put off as much heat as my stove, so I appreciate it in the summer.
edited to add:  I have a gas stove.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 03:57:48 PM by 4alpacas »

chops

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2015, 04:50:51 PM »
Big Fan of rice cookers here.  Use it 2x/week.  I generally do not buy new kitchen shit but after the fiance showed me how much better (and easier) rice is with this gadget, I was hooked.  It tastes awesome everytime.

 - Chops

Breaker

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #38 on: February 19, 2015, 06:38:30 PM »
I've never had a rice cooker, but I do know a few folks that use theirs like a slow cooker, along these lines: http://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutson/surprising-things-you-can-make-in-a-rice-cooker#.bfXX6bkxY

I, however, have never made a decent batch of rice using the traditional methods. Wrong stoves, wrong pots, wrong me: no idea. Just always burnt or mush or both. Best thing I ever did was start cooking it like pasta until al dente, drain, and let steam for a few minutes. Super simple and works for all types of rice. I've heard of it as a method attached to a particular chef's name, but I can't remember the name (and my Internet skills are failing me), but here's Saveur's old take on it: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Perfect-Brown-Rice

+1 For the BuzzFeed web site.  Some of those recipes look wonderful.  I think I will do the Steel Cut Oats on Sat.

I use my rice cooker often, it is really convenient and easy.  Besides that they are cheap and you will probably be able to find one at the Goodwill bin store that you love 2ndtimer.

madamwitty

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #39 on: February 19, 2015, 07:44:17 PM »
I've never had a rice cooker, but I do know a few folks that use theirs like a slow cooker, along these lines: http://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutson/surprising-things-you-can-make-in-a-rice-cooker#.bfXX6bkxY
That link just blew my mind. I had no idea my little rice cooker has such deliciousness waiting to be unleashed.

horsepoor

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #40 on: February 19, 2015, 08:08:25 PM »
I like it because I can throw in the water and rice, push a button, then leave the house for an hour to go to the gym or whatever, and throw together a fast stirfry when I get home, and not worry about cooking the rice.  Brown rice won't cook in the time I have available to tend it.  The white rice will cook faster, but then be kept warm if it waits 30-40 minutes to be reunited with the rest of the meal.


MMMdude

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #41 on: February 19, 2015, 10:08:11 PM »
Hate kitchen gadgets but i do have a rice cooker. Love it and you can find them for 5 bux at goodwill. New ones at walmart go for 15 bux. Dont understand the fancy $200 ones i see in chinatown

Ynari

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #42 on: February 19, 2015, 10:36:47 PM »
For some reason, I've never even considered this question. Everyone that I eat around has a rice cooker, and no one would consider NOT having one.

I'd rather have a rice cooker than a microwave. But I guess it's what you grow up around/get used to/how you like to cook. My grandma used to be a microwave-chef when they first came out, so she's super great at making random things in the microwave. My parents end up grilling or baking most of the time. Me? I have a super simple rice cooker with a steamer and I make rice, eggs, buns, dumplings, fish, veggies, soups, etc etc etc in it. Simplest most functional kitchen item I own.

MMMaybe

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #43 on: February 20, 2015, 07:08:10 AM »
Love my rice cooker. I never understood them either until I moved to Asia and got my Zojirushi on sale. It makes eating rice so much more convenient but then I am all about labour saving devices!

PMG

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #44 on: February 20, 2015, 08:00:13 AM »
I have a cheap black and decker 3 rice cup cooker. It wasa gift. I've had it a year. It burns the rice if I don't unplug it before it's done, so it requires the same amount of attention as stove top.  I was competent at stovetop rice. 

I keep it to cook in hotel rooms when I travel and I'll likely be moving to an apartment without large appliances.

I've cooked quiche and soup and other grains in it.  I use the steamer tray often.  Ive cooked small pieces of chicken on the bottom where they get the most heat, then rice, then veggies in the steamer tray.  Quick meal with little clean up.

I am fond of having the extra stove space.  I often use small appliances (rice cooker, bread machine, crockpot) in the living room.  They don't put off a lot of heat but I might as well enjoy it in the room I spend the most time in.

I am not fond of the starchy water it sprays everywhere. Messier than stove top rice. 


FarmerPete

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #45 on: February 20, 2015, 01:16:55 PM »
If I need a device to cook my rice, I might as well get takeout.  Probably cheaper to get an exchange student from China to live with us and cook rice for us instead.  Would probably be more profitable too.

mm1970

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #46 on: February 20, 2015, 09:53:58 PM »
I love my rice cooker.  My husband replaced ours with one that is non-stick, but takes a lot longer.

Still, coming home from work and dealing with 2 kids (one a toddler) - I pretty much ONLY cook things that don't require any hands on work, so rice cooker, slow cooker, bread machine, roasting vegetables, etc.

Plus I bulk-prep and cook on the weekend.

pancakes

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #47 on: February 21, 2015, 04:05:39 AM »
I was about to purchase a rice cooker when I learned to make good rice on the stovetop. I don't really have space for another appliance in my apartment so it worked out well. 

My method is a little more hands on than gimp's though.

1. Rince rice well
2. place rice and water (2:3 rice:water for all white varieties) in a saucepan that has a lid
3. simmer uncovered until the water is level with the rice
4. turn to low, put on lid and cook for 10 mins
5. take off the stove and leave for another 5 min
6. fluff it up and pop the lid back on until ready to serve

No stirring required and not much monitoring either. This method has never let me down.

I think if you wanted to reduce the electricity costs you could easily experiment with reducing the 10 minute cooking time and increasing the 5 minute standing time.

SpinGeek

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2015, 03:00:07 PM »
My parents gave us a small rice cooker a few years ago. I want to love it for all the reasons above -- fill it, hit the switch and forget it until it pops. But every single time I use it, the rice sticks. Even if the rest of the rice is swimming in the water. It's a real pain to clean.

I had rice cooking down to a science on our old electric stove: 1 part rice, 2 parts water, bring to a boil in a good stainless steel saucepan. Turn off the burner, slap on a lid and start cutting up the ingredients for the stir fry for the next 20 minutes (with various interruptions from the SO and the cats). Do not lift the lid until you're ready to eat.

For brown rice, just add doing something else for another 10-20 minutes before hauling out the cutting board. The residual heat in the burner usually got the job done. If the house was particularly cold, I'd leave it on the lowest setting.

Now that we have a gas stove I bring it to a boil, cover and turn the gas down to the lowest setting on the smallest burner. If I get the veggies and meat chopped too fast (or I cheat with frozen bagged veggies), I empty the dishwasher before I start cooking.

RootofGood

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Re: Rice Cooker?
« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2015, 03:11:57 PM »
Asian wife here, so it's kind of essential. 

Ours is a $125 Tiger model (made in Japan only, pls).  JNP-1500 or JNP-1800 for the kitchen appliance curious. 

Perfect rice every single time and it stays perfect all day (though I usually unplug it and let it sit and remain warm for at least 1 more meal.  The kind of rice that people compliment you on, and ask where it's from.  And profess their love for rice. 

We use it roughly every other day (family of 5).  We spend almost zero on dining out, and the rice cooker helps with that endeavor.  It even saves us serious cash when we do hit the Chinese take out place on the corner (accessed by walking, of course).  We spend $9-10 for 2-3 pounds of meat and skip the rice or noodles.  Before I leave the house, I fill the rice cooker and press "rice cook" and walk back in the house 20-30 minutes later to perfect rice. 

It's not quite up there on the importance level with my laptop or the dishwasher, but pretty close.