Groceries

Cuckoo Cuckoo, Ruft’s aus dem Wald

I couldn’t resist;  German children’s songs are really catchy. And note, in German, it’s spelled Kuku Kuku.

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Can you believe that considering how much Korean food we eat (nearly every day), we were living without a rice cooker between early August and November? It just took me a while to identify where to buy a rice cooker I wanted which I explain here. I haven’t been trying to be old school or traditionalist about cooking rice, although the rice supposedly tastes better cooked in a regular pot. It’s not very hard to do. Wash your rice – at least ten times to remove all traces of arsenic, they say (and they being my mother) – add water, put a lid on the pot and turn the heat on high to bring to boil. Once the boiling point is reached, turn the heat to low. 40 minutes later, if it’s brown rice less for white, your rice is done.

In theory this method is easy enough. But, it would require me to hover at the stove until the pot reached boil. If I walked away, the pot would boil over making a mess, and too much water would spill/spit out of the pot. I like to cook in the mornings and have everything prepared, easy to reheat and serve to my kids for dinner each evening. When they are home, it is very likely that I have to walk away from the stove when I don’t want to. A preschooler might have a pee-pee accident on the floor, a toddler is attempting to take all of the spaghetti out of a package that I thought was safely hidden from his reach on a shelf, or my oldest might be struggling to open the baby gate at the top of the stairs. I often joke that before kids, I never understood how anyone could burn food. Since my first was born, I have scrubbed scorched pots on a regular basis. Needless to say, having a programmable rice cooker, what I have had for the last five years, was high on my wish list. Just to be able to prepare and program my rice cooker for five o’clock eliminates one more thing to have to juggle.

I had to sell the one I had in America because of the difference in voltage. Previously in Germany, we had a fancy Korean rice cooker that my mother-in-law received as a gift on her last trip to Korea. We were grateful when she gave it to us, especially since my husband prefers the taste of the pressure cooked style rice. It was a pressure rice cooker and could make brown rice, multi-grain rice, and stews. It was also the first time I experienced the programming function. I thought I had given this one to my sister-in-law when we moved to the US in 2010. That’s why I thought I didn’t have to buy one. My sister-in-law didn’t have it though. Neither did my parents-in-law. Maybe the rice cooker was in the pile of things that we had left in storage when we moved. But I wouldn’t be able to find out until May 2013 when we would receive all of our things out of storage when we finally move into our new house.

So finally, I bit the bullet and found a similar model to the one that we have seemingly lost on kmall.de. Kmall is a great resource for Korean food in Germany. You can order many ingredients that you need for most Korean dishes including fresh ones like ddeok (rice cake), kongnamul (soy bean sprouts) and Enoki mushrooms.

I ordered some vegetables along with my rice cooker. Plus some Shin Ramyun Black (the non-MSG ones), which my husband has missed since we left San Diego.

Shin Ramyun Black

The vegetables were partially frozen but they were still pretty fresh and good quality. The whole family loves kongnamul – in soup, as a side dish, with bibimbap.

Kongnamul

And the Enoki mushrooms are always a lovely addition in doejang guk. By the way, these are called paengi beoseot in Korean.

Enoki mushrooms

But the best part of the box, was the latest addition to the family, the rice cooker.

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It’s easy to use and the manual luckily comes with English language instructions (no German). (We previously had a Korean language manual.) We are still getting used to figuring out how much water to put in using the lines of measurement inside the pot. It seems that going slightly under is a good rule of thumb and leads to the perfect balance between moist and not wet.

We are careful to use a non-scratching sponge to clean the pot, but it seems to be an enamel coated pot and thankfully not Teflon coated.

This is for sure a time saver – and I might go so far to say – life saving device.

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