I used to dread cooking rice. I always had a problem. With the exception of pre-packaged, commercially produced rice which I always cooked in the microwave, the pot would almost always boil over. It would be undercooked or overcooked, burnt or just mush. I just couldn’t get it right. Then, I turned 60… yep 60… and dear friends gave me a generous gift certificate which I turned into a sweet little 4 cup Rice Cooker. I’d heard great things but, for some reason even though we probably had rice twice a week, I resisted.
Forgive me. Don’t take this personally if you were anything like me. I had been a dope! Cooking rice became as easy as falling off a log and suddenly I extended my rice horizon from Uncle Ben’s many delicious but heavily processed options, to simpler, frankly yummier fare. To my old standby, parboiled, long grain white rice, I added Basmati, Jasmine, and Brown Rice which I had always failed at. Sticky rice, and Quinoa followed as did Couscous. I still pull out some favourites from my old ‘Uncle’ but mostly I prepare easier on the system, less processed options.
Rice cookers vary by model. Some are very advanced and really expensive with timers and other digital controls. Some cook 4 cups, some cook a dozen. But, they are all basically the same. You add rice and water, turn it on and it cooks it until its ready. That’s usually it.That’s all! Really, they’re generally all the same and an inexpensive one will do just about the same job as something pricier.
They all let you add just about any liquid in which you want to cook the rice. I like to use soup stocks like chicken, beef or vegetable. I also have used juices like orange, pineapple or even tomato juice. Sometimes, I’ll add some fresh ginger or minced garlic before cooking. Sometimes I’ll ‘steam’ some veggies right at the end of the cooking cycle.
But usually, I just spray the bowl with some olive oil, add rinsed rice and a choice liquid and turn it on. It reliably cooks the rice while I attend to other things in the kitchen. The rice is usually ready in 15 to 20 minutes and cooked to perfection. Occasionally, I add too much water. That’s the only time I have trouble and that is, once again, always my fault.
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