A Message to the Unconverted: you really want a rice cooker.

Creative Commons image by anomalous4
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To those of you who don’t own a rice cooker…

I know what you’re thinking. What self-respecting home cook keeps a one-hit wonder? Especially a single-purpose appliance that hogs counter space AND requires electricity.

To those of you who have one…

Remember when that was you?
Few things divide the cooking community into two distinct, equally impassioned camps like the rice cooker.

How it works

You can add in all manner of functions and features and upgrades, but at its core, every rice cooker is a bowl to hold rice and water that’s set inside a housing with a heat source and thermostat. The cooker heats the water to boiling, and when the temperature reaches 212° F, it switches to  a prolonged simmer. The thermostat recognizes a second temperature change when all of the water has been absorbed, and it switches to a lower setting that holds the rice in a perfect state at the perfect temperature for serving.

Rice cooker advocates will speak of its versatility in the kitchen, its ability to steam so much more than rice; think dumplings and fish and custards and cereals. They’ll praise its safety and ease of use, with no open heat source and an automatic shut-off, so well-suited to children, seniors, and dorm rooms. They’ll tell you how it doesn’t heat the kitchen in the summer, humidifies it in the winter, and is easy to clean.

But that’s not why I love my rice cooker.

It’s because of the rice.
I don’t know about you, but my toaster doesn’t always make perfect toast. My car doesn’t get the mileage it should. My children don’t always listen to me.
But my rice cooker always gives me perfect rice.

If you’re still not sure you want to part with precious counter space, take a look at some other odes to the glories of the rice cooker.

Read Ben Casnocha’s tribute for a unique take on the appliance he has dubbed El Padre.

Six weeks of nothing but meals from the rice cooker was fodder for Sally’s Kitchen’s list of rice cooker dishes with surprising entries like tacos, spare ribs, and macaroni and cheese.

The Kitchn brings you 5 things you can make in a rice cooker that aren’t rice.

And about that unconverted remark in the title; yes, the pun was fully intended.

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4 Responses to A Message to the Unconverted: you really want a rice cooker.

  1. Definitely a must have.

    I love my rice cooker. And not just for making plain rice. Enhanced versions to go with all kinds of cuisine are a snap. For Indian dishes I will put in cumin seeds, tumeric, some garlic and a little ginger paste. I might use low sodium vegtable stock or water. Everything else is per the instructions. Once done we typically serve it with lental stew, pakora and naan. We have done mexican style, sweet rice with saffron. The sky is the limit.

    Jason

  2. christine says:

    I don’t think I could live without my ricecooker. I make rice and quinoa in it a few times a week, plus it has a steamer tray that sits over the bowl. I steam greens like it’s goin’ outta style!

  3. Janice says:

    And you didn’t even slam me for my use of a lolcat!
    Thanks.

  4. Andrew says:

    Love my rice cooker. In fact, I just used it as a slow cooker for split chicken breasts tonight in a red wine sauce. Delish.

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