What is a Rice Cooker and How Does it Work
As Indians we all know about pressure cookers but it is time to learn a few things about a rice cooker. Rice cookers are a great appliance which makes perfect rice, thus the name rice cooker. They are easy to use and even though they are called rice cooker you can make a number of different things in it. To understand a rice cooker we need to know how it works, it has an outer container and a container inside it with a heating element which controls the temperature at the bottom of the outer container. A rice cooker makes cooking easier because it automatically controls its temperature. Also you can remove the inner pot of the cooker which has a non stick coating on it to make perfect rice for you.
If you are new to rice cooker you will need to know the amount of water to put in to make a perfect batch of rice. Note all the water evaporates when cooking in a rice cooker so if you don't put the right amount you won't get that perfect rice you desire. A rice cooker heats the water in it to 100 degrees Celsius and then the automatic controls in it regulates the temperature of the heating element to switch if off or turn it to warming mode after the rice is done.
Not all rice cookers come with a warming setting but most of them do. When the thermal sensors in the cooker detects the pot going over 212(F) degrees it does not shut the cooker off but turns it into a warming mode therefore the rice stops cooking but stays warm in it for a long time. If your rice cooker does not have a warming setting then you should remove the rice from it within half hour of cooking.
Why Cooking in a Rice Cooker is a Good Idea
- A rice cooker makes cooking easy. You can make any type of rice be it an Indian recipe or a Mexican one and you'll get a perfect plate each time.
- Using a rice cooker saves a lot of time as you won't have to wait and count the whistles. It cooks automatically and switches off or turns into warming mode which prevents overcooked or undercooked rice.
- There will be days when you find a layer of over cooked rice when making it in a pan but when using a rice cooker it will never happen. You will always get uniformly cooked rice.
- You can also use a rice cooker to make cereals like oatmeal, or steam vegetables or even make chicken with ease.
- Rice cookers come with settings that help you make various grains and lentils other than rice.
- They come in different shapes and sizes so you can easily choose the one you want for your family.
- Cooking rice in a rice cooker is healthier as well. The rice will have its insoluble fiber intact which will prevent constipations and will help increase your energy as well due to its carbohydrates, proteins and vitamin B still present as it is cooked with steam.
6 Best Rice Cooker Recipes
Here are 6 great Indian recipes you can make in a rice cooker and amaze your friends.
If you are a diehard non vegetarian and own a rice cooker than you need to know how to make perfect Chicken Biryani in it. Here is how you can make it effortlessly. This recipe will make Biryani for 6 to 8 people so read on.
- 4 cups of uncooked basmati rice, rinsed and drained
- 5 cups of water (to cook the rice)
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt (to cook the rice)
Ingredients for gravy
- 1.5 tbsps cooking oil
- 300g (11 ounces) medium brown onions (about 4 medium sized onions) , peeled & thinly sliced
- 1 kg (35 ounces) chicken breasts and/or thigh fillets, diced to 2cm (an inch) cubes
- 4 fresh tomatoes (about 300g/11 ounces), roughly diced
- 32.5g (1 ounce) Biryani Spice Mix
- 1 tbsp garlic paste (25g/ 0.88 ounce)
- 3 tbsps ginger paste/ 2 inched pieced/25g
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 1 cup water
- A handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
- A handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
- A handful of raisins (I substituted with dried cranberries) – optional
- 5 to 6 tbsps almond flakes, toasted – optional
- Note – Be prepared for an additional 2 hours to allow the gravy to infuse the rice in the rice cooker.
- Wash the rice well
- Put in 5 cups of water with turmeric powder and a tsp of salt with the rice and turn it on.
- Now slice the onions, dice the tomatoes and chicken and keep it aside.
- Take a pan and saute the onions till golden brown (by this time your rice should be ready, you can use a fork to fluff the rice a little).
- Now add tomatoes with the onions and cook for 5 minutes, add ginger and garlic paste yogurt, biryani mix and chicken to it.
- Fry it for about 10 minutes or till the chicken is 80% cooked.
- Add 1 cup of water and leave it on simmer till the oil separates from it.
- After the gravy is rice are done take half of the rice in a large bowl and add half of the gravy in the rice cooker, you can add some coriander leaves on it as well.
- Now, transfer the rice from the bowl to the cooker and add in the rest of the gravy on it.
- Close the lid and turn it on to cook setting to let the gravy mix well, this should take about 1 to 2 hours.
- Open the lid and use a fork to mix it well and transfer the Biryani in a serving plate. Garnish it and serve hot.
Khandvi in Rice cooker
Here is how you can make a well know snack called Khandvi in a rice cooker.
- 1 cup gram flour
- 1 cup curd
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp Green chilli paste
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp hing
- 2 tbsp oil
- Pinch turmeric
- 1 tsp mustard seeds /rai
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- As per need Few curry leaves
- As required Chopped Coriander to garnish
- Take a large bowl and put curd and gram flour with spices and mix well.
- Add water and make a lump free batter.
- Strain it into a pot in a rice cooker.
- Turn it on to cook mode and you'll see the batter turn into a thick paste.
- Take a spatula of the paste and spread it on to a plate and cut it in to 2 inch pieces.
- Roll them into tight rolls avoiding making any cracks on it.
- Prepare the tempering by heating oil and adding in the ingredients to it and pour it over the rolled pieces.
Banana Cake in Rice Cooker
You will be surprised to know that you can even make a cake in a rice cooker. Here is a great recipe of a banana cake you can make in it.
- 300 g Bananas
- 150 g Butter
- 150 g Sugar
- 4 Eggs
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- 210 g Flour
- 3 g Baking Powder
- 3 g Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- Confectioner's sugar for garnish
- Banana slices for garnish
- Mash the bananas in a large bowl with a fork.
- Take a pan and melt butter on medium heat.
- In another bowl add sugar, vanilla bean seeds and the melted butter.
- Take another bowl and mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Now mix the banana mixture with the egg mixture and flour mixture and pour it in a rice cooker.
- Cook on high heat for about 10 to 12 minutes then cook on low heat for another 60 to 90 minutes.
- Open the lid and insert a skewer to check if the cake is done.
- Let it cool down and take it out on a plate.
- Sprinkle some confectioner's sugar and garnish with banana slices and you are done.
Indian Potato and Cauliflower
Here is a great recipe of the most favorite aloo and gobhi sabzi for 4 which you can make in a rice cooker.
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- ½" piece ginger, finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 large potato, boiled, peeled, and cubed (about 1" cubes)
- 3 cups cauliflower florets, blanched
- ½ cup diced tomatoes, with juice
- ½ tsp. cumin seeds
- ½ tsp. garam masala
- ¼ tsp. red chili powder
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- ½ cup water
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- Put oil in the rice cooker, cover it and set it to cook.
- When the base of the cooker heats up add the shallots and fry for 3 minutes then add ginger and garlic and fry again for 3 minutes.
- Put in potatoes and blanched cauliflower in it, add tomatoes, cumin seeds, garam masala, chili powder and turmeric to it.
- Mix it well and fry for about 10 more minutes.
- Add in water, salt and pepper and cover it, leave it on simmer.
- Switch it to warm mode and let it cook for 10 minutes or till the vegetables are soft.
- Add cilantro for garnish and serve.
Rice Cooker Chicken Vegetable Soup
Here is how you can make delicious chicken and vegetable soup in winters for your family in a rice cooker.
- 3 to 4 cups water (enough to immerse the chicken)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 oz. each), cut into 1" cubes
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ¼ tsp. fresh thyme
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
- Put water in the rice cooker, cover it and set it to cook.
- Let it boil and add chicken, corn, carrots, onion and cover it, let it boil again.
- After the final boil switch it to warm mode and let it simmer for 2 hours.
- Garnish it with thyme, salt and pepper and serve.
Veg Pulao in Rice Cooker
Tired of making plain rice in a rice cooker? Try this delicious vegetable pulao.
- 2-3 servings
- 1 1/4 cup basmati or long grain rice
- 1-2 small sized carrot chopped
- 1/4 cup peas
- 1/4 cup chopped potato
- 1 red chilli
- 1/2 tsp jeera / cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 green cardamom
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp jeera /cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp ghee
- 3 3/4 cup water
- 1-2 tsp Fresh coriander (chopped for garnishing)
- Put rice and water (water rice ratio is 3:1) and chopped vegetables, all the masalas, salt, sugar and ghee.
- Cover it and turn it on, let it cook for 25 minutes on cooking mode.
- Check using a spoon to see if the rice is done.
- Transfer it on a serving plate and garnish with fresh coriander.
Tips on Choosing the Best Rice Cooker
- You can find different rice cookers in various shapes and sizes although none of them take up too much space on your kitchen counter. The capacity of a rice cooker can be determined by the number of cups of rice it can cook. The rice cookers come in ranging from 1 to 6 liters or more. If you want to buy one for you, you need to determine the size and capacity of the cooker you need according to the size of your family.
- It is important to see how easy it is to use the cooker you like. Most of them come with one touch operations so you simply have to put in the rice with water and forget about it. You can also find cookers with digital controls like self timer, warm mode, slow cooking mode, steaming etc. It is best to go for a one with a self timer to make it easier for you to cook in it.
- Also check for the kind of lid your cooker has. You can find cookers with a see through lid or with a stainless steel lid. A see through lid is good because it lets you check on the rice when you want without having to open it.
- Electric rice cooker comes with two mechanisms: thermal cooking or heat induction. It is recommended to buy the heat induction cooker as it makes perfect rice every time.
- Also look for automatic keep warm function and automatic shut off function before buying a rice cooker. The warm function will keep your food warm till you are ready to eat and the auto shut off will make sure your rice is never over cooker.
- Don't forget to buy a rice cooker with warranty. Go for the one with long warranty to ensure proper repair or exchange in case you need it.
Effortless Ways to Cook Different Rice Recipes.
Simply cooking rice to some may be a simple exercise. Though when it comes to cooking different rice recipes, it becomes and uphill endeavor. To help you out, a rice cooker is your best choice. Detailed with unmatched rice recipes, above are the best Indian rice cooker recipes. A rice cooker is also an accessory to consider, and for this reason a number of great tips to choosing the best rice cooker have been given above.