Rice Cookers are the Latest Trend for the Modern Kitchen!
Over the last few years, we have seen everything going digital; the trend started with smartphones, and today, one can digitize a whole lot of aspects of their life from entertainment (smart TVs) to even kitchen appliances – Now you do not have to stand in front of your steam cooker for half an hour to make sure you turn it off at the right time! It is slowly being replaced by electronics such as the Rice Cookers, which are electronic countertop utensils meant to cook rice without needing any intervention from your side. You just have to pour in the ingredients, set the machine per your preferences, and in a matter of minutes, you will have your recipe ready!
Although the process seems straightforward, those who have limited exposure to the latest technology may be much familiar with how exactly they can cook using the rice cooker, which is why, below, we have compiled the step-wise procedure on how to use rice cookers, with recipes you would be surprised to know you could cook in your rice cooker. Let’s begin by learning how to use a rice cooker for making various recipes, particularly delicious and fluffy rice (obviously!)
How to Use Rice Cookers (Step-wise)
Different rice cookers from different brands will provide you with specific instructions for their particular rice cookers; however, the primary steps to cook rice in almost every rice cooker remain the same, which are as discussed below (please go through all the steps first before you start cooking):
- Step 1: You must first check if your rice cooker comes with its own measuring cup/bowl/pot or not. There are cookers which do not come with them, and you directly have to pour rice into the cooker. Put it the amount of rice you want to cook through the measuring cup. (Note: The step in which you wash your rice to remove any harmful ingredients before cooking remains the same here also, as in when you cook rice in steam cookers). A crucial point to note here is that you must not fill in the cup or cooker up to its brim, as rice would be expanding while cooking, so this is to prevent their spillage.
- Step 2: Next step would be to pour in the water just enough to submerge the rice, i.e., it must not be too less or too much, just up to the edge of the rice.
- Step 3: Now, if you had a separate pot for the cooker, put it into the rice cooker gently, and you can use a wooden spatula to settle down all the rice sticking around the sides of the pot. After that, simply close the cooker lid, and look for options as per the user manual of your rice cooker. (Though most rice cookers have a simple on/off button for the plain rice, it’s always better to check the user manual once, as the famous saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure!”). And if your cooker was a pot-less one, you can directly start with cooking! Just set the timer per the instructions, and you’re good to go.
- Step 4:Check once while the rice is cooking if the water added is sufficient. Add more if you feel the rice needs more water for cooking.
- Step 5: Take out your spatula and start pouring the cooked, fluffy rice into plates!
- Step 6: Please note that many advanced rice cookers come with the option to keep rice warm for an extended period. So, you can also keep that option enabled after the rice has cooked in order to serve it later.
Surprising Recipes You Can Prepare in a Rice Cooker!
We hope you would be able to cook fluffy and delicious rice using your latest kitchen addition! But if you want to explore more recipes that you can easily make using your rice cooker, read on; you would be surprised to know the utility this kitchen appliance offers you.
1. Pizza Bread
Pizza is one recipe which most of us are not able to get right at home; it doesn’t matter how many times we try it, that texture and taste of a restaurant pizza if almost impossible to get at home unless you have that oven that can be used to make a true pizza. But fret not, as your rice cooker may help you to cook something even more delicious on similar lines, i.e., pizza bread; let’s see how you can prepare it at your home:
- Biscuit dough (pre-made)
- Mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil
- Parmesan (grated)
- Marinara sauce (for dipping)
- Dried oregano
How to Make
- First, take the biscuit dough and mesh it to form a round/oval ball. Stretch it and have it stuffed with mozzarella, and pepperoni. (Note: You can make as many stuffing as you like, per as many you want to serve.)
- Now, spread olive over this closed, stuffed ball of mozzarella and pepperoni.
- Next, take this ball and sprinkle parmesan and oregano over this ball.
- The next step is to start putting these stuffed balls, layer by layer in the rice cooker. (You can sprinkle more Parmesan and dried oregano for added flavour.)
- Just start cooking your pizza bread now by setting the timer at 2 hours. (you can also follow instructions on your rice cooker user manual in case it doesn’t come with a timer.)
- Serve and eat with Marinara sauce!
2. Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese
You might have eaten and even prepared mac and cheese hundreds of time before, but this, take it a step ahead and prepare this delicious recipe using a rice cooker. Here’s how you can do the same:
- About 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 1 tsp salt
- About 1 ½ cups milk
- About ¾ cups shredded cheddar
- About ¾ cups processed cheese product
- Half spoon mustard powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
How to Make
- Take your rice cooker, and simply mix macaroni, salt, and two cups of water in it.
- Adjust the rice cooker on standard settings for 30-40 minutes (or as per your rice cooker user-manual, check for the cooking cycle and adjust accordingly.).
- When the water is fully absorbed, take milk, cheddar, processed cheese product, and black pepper and mix them well into the macaroni.
- To cook, set the cooker to cook/warm mode (as per your cooker’s settings). Please remember to keep stirring so that you don’t have any residue stuck up at the bottom later on. Cook until the cheese in completely melted.
- Your mac and cheese is ready to eat and serve!
3. Chilli Chicken using Rice Cooker
Here’s a recipe for non-vegetarians to make full use of their rice cookers.
- About 450-500 grams ground chicken
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 cup tomato sauce (plain)
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ packet chili seasoning (per your preferences)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to Make
- The recipe is pretty straightforward to make; first, put the chicken in the rice cooker, and have it fully cooked
- Once you see that the chicken has turned brown means it’s fully cooked. Now you can remove the excess fat.
- Next, add beans, tomato sauce, and mix for a few minutes.
- Add to it all the seasonings, and cook it for another cycle on the rice cooker.
- Your chilli chicken is ready to serve!
4. Something for Dessert: Rice Cooker Carrot Cake
You might have previously made cakes in steam cookers or ovens; now, get to learn how you can make a carrot cake using a using cooker.
For carrot-orange cake
- 4 Eggs - whites and yolks separated
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp orange zest (from 1 orange)
- 1 cup carrot, peeled & grated (about 3-4 thin carrots)
- 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted & finely chopped
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
For carrot ribbons
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
For cream cheese - yogurt frosting
- 8 oz (about 240 ml) low-fat cream cheese in block - American neufchatel cheese (at room temperature, softened)
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
How to Make (the cake)
- First, grease your rice cooker (bowl), which can be done either by using butter or vegetable oil; simply put a few drops into the bowl/cooker and wipe with a paper towel.
- The next step is to sift the flour and baking powder. Once done, you can keep them aside for later use. Then whisk the egg whites.
- Next, add the ingredients in the following order: egg yolk and salt, oil and vanilla extract, orange zest and vanilla extract, and chopped nuts.
- Next, you have to add flour into the egg mix; please make sure you don’t overmix it.
- Pour the batter you’ve prepared until now into the (greased) rice cooker; make sure you let all the air bubbles removed.
- You’ll have to “steam” or “multi-cook” it for about 40 minutes (in case your rice cooker happens to have this option). Otherwise, you’ll have to cook twice.
- That’s it, your cake is cooked; take it out from the cooker, put it on a big plate, and allow it to cool. It’s advisable to refrigerate it using a plastic cover overnight to enjoy its entire flavour.
- First, take softened cheese cream, Greek yoghurt, and confectioners’ sugar and whisk them together, followed by their refrigeration.
- For the preparation of carrot ribbons, add sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small pan/pot and heat them until sugar seems dissolved. Meanwhile, make the carrot ribbons, and once the sugar is dissolved, add them to the pan, and cook the overall mixture on sim heat (uncovered) until the ribbons turn shiny. They will soon turn sticky, which is your sign to remove them from the gas. Keep it aside for about 30 minutes, and make them dry afterward using parchment paper.
- For the final assembly, slice through the carrot cake horizontally, and start pouring the cream you prepared earlier, and sprinkle over carrot ribbons as you like!
Tips on How to Clean Your Rice Cooker
While you enjoyed all those delicious recipes made with your new rice cooker, it’s also crucial to take proper care for it to make it last for a long time! Here are some steps and tips to keep in mind how you can clean your rice cooker:
- First things first, never directly pour water on to the cooker! Also, don’t directly start the cleaning process right after cooking; wait for the cooker to cool down.
- You must remove each detachable part from the cooker for a more robust cleaning.
- For cleaning each part, you can make a cleaning solution such as using chlorine bleach, dishwater liquid, and hot water, and simply soak all the parts into the solution.
- You must be extra cautious while cleaning the inside of the cooker (or cooker pot) and follow practices such as not using rough sponges to clean them (only prefer soft cleaning clothes), not washing other utensils inside the cooker, and so on.
- Let each part dry completely before installing it back into the cooker; finally, clean the outside of the cooker with a damp cloth.
Food for Thought - Rice Cooker vs Instant Pot: Which is Better Suited to Your Kitchen?
These two items belong to the same class of kitchen utensils but are different in a lot of ways; so if you’re still looking to buy a rice cooker, you may want to make a comparison to an instant pot and make an informed decision after considering both devices’ pros and cons. Here are some factors you can consider to make the comparison:
Consider the Size
Rice cookers come in different sizes and capacities. The capacity of a rice cooker is measured by the total number of rice cups it can cook. While buying an electric cooker, the first thing to consider is the size of your family. If you are a small family of 5 to 6 people, consider buying a cooker of 3 to 5 litres of capacity. Also, consider how many cups of rice you typically need.