Following up on my previous post on Kmall and how much I value my new rice cooker, I thought I should be more explicit on how I use it. Coincidentally, I also just found Luisa Weiss’ post dedicated to praising her newly purchased Cuckoo and made a few comments on how one can maximise an electric rice cooker. I’ve added these below.
One of the most frequently expressed sentiment on The Wednesday Chef comments is how a rice cooker could be an essential appliance. Well, if you don’t get why, then you obviously don’t make that much rice or cook many other grains or have small children underfoot. When you eat rice nearly every day, there is no question how helpful this appliance can be.
So let me explain the different ways I use my cooker:
- Our main use is for making brown rice for dinner. When I prepare dinner in the late mornings, I wash my rice and put it in the rice cooker and set the timer. I pretty much follow the water guide for white and brown rice that is on the inside of the pot, erring on the side of putting a bit less water. This is sad, but the hardest part is remembering how many cups of rice I just washed. Once you recall how many cups of rice you have in the pot, you fill the water up to the corresponding dash mark. Even though the lines start at 2 cups, I’ve successfully made one cup of rice plenty of times.
- When we are running low on brown rice or to give my kids a break, I make boribap (barley rice). I basically mix pressed barley into white rice. Regardless of what kind of rice – basmati, long-grain, etc – the rice comes out perfect. (We are getting used to how much water to add for large quantities though.)
- Sometimes for breakfast, I’ll make jook (rice porridge). My kids like to drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil and sprinkle sesame seeds on this. Serve with some gim, and they have a nice hot, filling meal to start the day. I prepare this the night before and program it for the morning. Just add four-five times the regular amount of water. Jook is also what I make for anyone with a stomach bug.
- I often pack rice with some side dishes (egg, raw or steamed, seasoned vegetables) or make kimbap (maki is the Japanese version of kimbap) for my girls’ lunches. You can only do this with fresh rice in our house, since we don’t have a microwave. Same as with the jook, I prepare this the night before and program it to be ready for me to prepare and pack in the morning.
And here are some of the ideas that I offered on The Wednesday Chef’s comment section on how to either ooch up some nutritional value in general or take good care of your rice cooker and your rice:
- As soon as your rice is done cooking, add frozen peas or corn to the top. I add about 1/3-1/2 a cup. Just let it sit and thaw out for another few minutes before serving.
- When the rice is done cooking (along with your peas if you added them), fluff all of the rice in the pot.
- Preserve the non-stick life of your rice cooker pot by washing your rice in a different container. I use a Tupperware mixing bowl.
- Wash your rice at least ten times to remove traces of arsenic.
- For basic rice cooker models – this doesn’t seem to apply to my deluxe Cuckoo model – unplug the rice cooker once the rice is done cooking and you no longer need the keep warm function. This prevents a crust from forming at the bottom of your rice – only if you don’t like that crust of course.
In the future, I’m going to try to experiment in cooking other things including sweet potatoes. There is a setting for sweet potatoes after all. And I want to learn how to use this white thing. Anyone know what I can do with this?
ADDENDUM: I also discovered that the rice cooker heats up cooked rice well. We are currently living without a microwave, so I put leftover rice in the pot and press the reheat button. It only takes a few minutes before it beeps, but then I leave it in the cooker longer to “keep warm,” so that the rice gets hot. You can add other cooked foods too to get similar results.