- Aileen McKernan
Why a Rice Cooker is a Nice Addition to your Collection of Kitchen Gadgets.
Rice. A staple of diets far and wide. Carbohydrate of choice for both developed and developing nations around the world. Fluffy. Light. Filling. Fueling. Feeling good and good to go. The perfect base for chilis, stir fries, and more.
I didn't always feel that way. In fact, I hated it. My only experience of it was white, bland, lost in a sea of a sop of sauce from my parent's stir fry. Oh they loved it though. I remember the distinct colors of the Carolina rice box, the only brand my mom would buy, and how when the water boiled it spit a film on the lid. It seemed like it took forever to cook on the stove top. I never understood all the fuss for this rice thing.
Until I was an adult and I was going gluten free and exploring grains and carbs I could eat and learning that brown rice was better because it had all the nutrients in it, not stripped away like it's pale white counterpart. Oh and I actually liked the taste, a little toasted brown rice with butter, salt, and pepper was better than snacking on popcorn.
Except I didn't know how to cook it, well anyway. I had a small rice cooker I used frequently until I decided I needed to learn how to really make rice, because that's what a chef said was a skill every cook needed to have. So I learned how to toast and perfectly simmer down a pot of rice into rice that dreams are made of. Light, Fluffy, Chewy Goodness. The rice cooker was relegated to the Good Will as I resolved to only make stove top rice for the rest of my life.
Shortly thereafter I was gifted another kitchen gadget, an Aroma Rice Cooker and Multicooker. Well, I couldn't let a good kitchen gadget, a Christmas gift go to waste so I gave it a go and made some rice in it.
The results SHOCKED me. Far better than my small rice cooker which tended to burn the bottom of my rice if I let it sit too long, this steamer perfectly cooked my rice with no crust on the bottom. The keep warm function worked in such a way that it didn't burn it. It seemed no matter how much or how little or how imprecise my measurements of rice and water were, the rice came out perfect every time. If I forgot about my rice because I was showering, cleaning, or doing other things, it was still perfect. Perfect chew. Perfect fluff. Perfect flavor. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. It far exceeded my Instant Pot's ability to make rice and it came pretty darn close to a perfect stove top version without the worry about whether it was simmering too high or what. Set it and well...you know the rest of that tag line.
What about toasting the rice before I cook it? Yep because this is a Multi-Cooker I can set it to the sauté function and toast my rice in oil before I add water and then set it to the rice function. Another neat feature is how big the pot is. Whereas my small rice cooker could cook 1 cup comfortably this bad boy can cook up to 4 cups of rice at a time. That's far more than I ever ventured on the stove top.
So if you're looking for a kitchen gadget that saves time, makes cooking more enjoyable, and helps you cook and serve food that is as good for you as it is good, look into getting a real rice cooker like this Aroma one I own. Because it is a steamer and slow cooker there are tons of uses you can get out of it. I've even made eggs sous vide in mine!
And if you're looking to add even more flavor and goodness to your rice try making my favorite blend, brown rice and tricolor quinoa. For every 1 C of rice add 1/4 C of quinoa. The water ratio's are the same. Double the water for every unit of rice/quinoa. Happy Cooking!