Rice Cooker Information Print E-mail

NEW: Sauté-Then-Simmer™ is the first rice cooker function that allows rice cookers to be used to sauté at a high heat for a prolonged period of time, making it perfect for preparing Spanish rice, pilafs and risottos. Click here to learn more.

WHO NEEDS A RICE COOKER? Washington Post Article by Bonnie S. Benwick and Joe Yonan
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For all-in-one rice cooker recipes, click here.

Benefits

Rice cookers are popular and fit today's lifestyle. The all-in-one convenient cooker makes perfect rice every time, and can prepare entire meals with little to no tending! Many cookers can steam meat and vegetables as the rice cooks, providing whole meal options. Other uses include soups, stews, breakfast cereals, and even desserts.

With the versatility of rice and the variety of cooker sizes, consumers can cook for one or cook for a crowd.

How to Use

In general, combine rice and water in the cooker. Press button to start and when finished cooking, it will stop automatically by sensing a rise in temperature and change in moisture content that occurs when rice has absorbed all the liquid.

Types

There are many brands, styles, sizes and features available. Care should be taken to follow individual manufacturer's directions when preparing rice or meals.

Pot-Style Rice Cookers

Pot-style rice cookers are inexpensive, easy to operate and great for family dining. They range in size from 3 to 30 cups (uncooked rice). Rice cooks in a removable inner pot (usually aluminum or nonstick, but also available in stainless steel), which inserts into the rice cooker body and is covered with a vented lid. Most will come with a steam tray attachment that inserts over the rice for cooking vegetables, chicken or fish simultaneously. A single switch turns the cooker on, and cooking automatically stops when the rice is ready. Almost all rice cookers will switch to 'keep warm' mode when the rice is finished, which holds it at serving temperature until the cooker is turned off.

Cool-Touch Rice Cookers

Cool-touch rice cookers have hinged lids that better seal in steam and moisture. They range in size from 4 to 10 cups (uncooked rice). The basic cooking method is the same as in a pot-style unit, except the inner pot (and steam tray, if applicable) are sealed inside the cooker which remains cool to the touch throughout the cooking process. Though slightly more expensive, cool-touch rice cookers offer greater portability (they can be brought right to the table for serving) and improved moisture retention. Many cool-touch rice cookers feature digital controls and include features such as delay timers, specialized functions for brown rice or sushi rice, and even slow-cook functions.

Features to Look For

Keep Warm
The "keep warm" function means that rather than turning off, the rice cooker will switch to a lower temperature after cooking to keep the rice warm and moist until serving.
Steam Tray
Steam trays are relatively common and frequently useful attachments. The steam tray will insert over the rice as it cooks for simultaneous steaming of meat and vegetables. This is ideal for quick, all-in-one meals (and healthy, too!).
Delay Timer
With a delay timer, you can program the rice cooker in advance. For instance, you can set it up in the morning to have rice ready to eat when you return from work.
Brown Rice
Some cookers feature a brown rice button that for this longer cooking variety. The rice cooker will soak and cook the rice with a 'smart' heat sequence; all you have to do is push the button.
Fuzzy Logic
Also known as SensorLogicâ„¢ or Smart Logic, Fuzzy Logic technology uses a microprocessor to "sense" and adjust for different amounts and types of rice in order to give the right amount of heat varying points in the cooking cycle.
Other
Other rice cooker features include slow cook, quick-cook (a cooking cycle that bypasses the soak stage for faster rice), cake functions and more. These are great added-versatility options that make rice cookers even more fun to cook in.

Notes About Rice Cookers

Measuring Cup Size - Industry vs. Standard
A measuring cup is included with any rice cooker you buy. This measuring cup will adhere to rice cooker industry standards (180 ml or about ¾ cup) and is NOT the same size as a standard US measuring cup (240 ml or 1 cup). If a recipe you are using does not call specifically for "rice cooker cup", you may need to adjust your recipe accordingly.


Information courtesy of Aroma, www.aroma-housewares.com