A rice cooker is one of those appliances that make things easier for you in the kitchen.
You might argue that cooking rice is simple and that by using your conventional pot, you can cook rice that would be equally as good as the rice cooked with a rice cooker.
The truth is that cooking rice may seem like no big deal for a lot of people, but cooking it consistently to perfection is where the challenge is, and perhaps, that is why you need to use a rice cooker.
A rice cooker uses a thermal sensor to cook your rice at the right temperature, and to also know that your rice has been cooked perfectly.
This appliance is easy to use. All you have to do is to follow the few simple instructions with no stress to make rice that is of the perfect texture.
An advantage of using a rice cooker over your conventional cooker and pot when cooking rice is that you don’t need to monitor the rice cooker as much as you need to with your conventional cooker, and also, when using a rice cooker, you can always expect to meet perfectly boiled rice whenever you are ready to eat.
Rice cookers are relatively cheap, their size makes them portable and easy to store in the kitchen as they do take up so much space.
Rice cookers are just an amazing piece of kitchen appliance to have, and if you want your cooked rice to always have that fluffy texture, then a rice cooker is what you need to achieve that.
Even if you’ve mastered how to cook rice on a stovetop, there are still a couple of ways that the rice cooker would come in handy; here are some great reasons why you should have a rice cooker;
Why cook with a rice cooker?
1. Rice cookers make multitasking easier
Using your conventional pots doesn’t give you as much allowance for multitasking as a rice cooker would.
It could be a challenge if you had to make three or more dishes all at once, and at the same time boil rice too
Too much attention to the rice on the cooktop and the other meals might be ruined.
You may also lose track of time as you as trying to get the other dishes ready and leave the rice too long on the cooktop that it dries out and loses the fluffy texture you wanted.
Often it’s a work-related stuff that needs your attention. It doesn’t matter how much of a professional you are in cooking rice in a pot, getting distracted while cooking could ruin your recipe.
With a rice cooker, you don’t have to be bothered about getting distracted. You don’t even have to bother about monitoring the rice too much. All you need to do is to measure the ingredients you need, put them in the rice cooker and turn on the button. Then you wait for the rice cooker to do the rest for you.
Whether it is stew, vegetables, or a meal on the frying pan that requires enough attention, you get the chance to focus on the other meals you’re cooking, or attend to something work-related as you wait for your rice to be ready in the rice cooker.
The sensors on the rice cooker are able to tell when your rice has been cooked to perfection. For some models of rice cookers, once it’s done cooking the rice, it automatically switches to a keep warm mode until you’re ready to serve your meal.
2. Rice cookers could be used for other recipes too
The misconception so many people have about rice cookers is that they are used to cook only rice. Although primarily used for cooking rice, the rice cooker can do much more than that.
There are a lot more other recipes that a rice cooker can be used for, and just to cook rice alone.
You could use them for a whole lot of other meals like quinoa, porridges, eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, and even pasta.
Rice cookers could also be used in making other dishes
There are also so many different rice varieties of rice and each has its own peculiarities. They may include parboiled rice, brown rice, and long grain rice.
There are also different rice recipes for you to also try out with your rice cooker if you get bored of one variety of rice.
With a rice cooker, you have more than an appliance that cooks just rice, and you could begin to search for more interesting recipes to try out with your rice cooker.
3. Rice cookers are reliable
There might have been times when you didn’t get your rice cooked properly just because you got distracted or used the measurements incorrectly.
There could also be times when you had to leave someone else to make the rice, and they just couldn’t make it the way you like.
Another attractive feature of the rice cooker is its ability to be consistent when it comes to cooking rice.
Using a conventional pot, there are some things you have to pay attention to for you to get the rice to cook properly all the time.
The quantity of the water has to be measured properly for the right proportion of rice, unless the rice dries up or becomes too soggy, and then to get the texture you want from the rice, the rice has to be heated at the right temperature and for the proper duration.
If you don’t apply these factors at the right proportions then the rice becomes soggy or too dry.
You might get the temperature wrong, or heat it for a longer duration than expected that the rice ends up drying up or becoming sticky.
With your conventional pots, you might not be able to replicate the same wonderful recipe all the time. However, when using a rice cooker, rice gets cooked wonderfully almost all the time.
With a rice cooker, it doesn’t matter who cooks the rice, as long as you have your rice and water are measured properly, then you can be sure to get your rice how you like it.
All you have to do is to stick to the simple instructions, and your rice comes out awesome
4. Rice cookers make cooking rice easier for beginners
Rice may be pretty simple to cook, but when it comes to getting it to that fluffy texture, then it requires skill. It’s even harder for a beginner.
A few things that any beginner would find hard when using a conventional pot to cook rice include: telling what amount of water and rice to cook, or knowing if the rice is ready as well as getting it to the right texture.
Also, different varieties of rice might have their peculiarities when it comes to cooking them, which make it harder for someone who doesn’t know how to cook.
All these could be pretty confusing for anyone who doesn’t know has to use a conventional pot, but when a rice cooker is available, the rice comes out perfectly cooked that you won’t be able to tell that the food was made by a beginner.
The instructions are pretty simple, rice, water and you’re ready to go.
With minimal effort, as well as with little or no skill, you can make rice. All you need is to push a button and the rice cooker simplifies the process for you. You don’t have to get worried about the details for different varieties of rice; some rice cookers have settings specific for the variety of rice that you want to cook
The rice cooker stops cooking when the rice has been cooked to perfection and even keeps it warm until you’re ready to eat.
Now everyone who doesn’t know that you use a rice cooker would think that you’re a chef.
5. They can be used in small spaces
You don’t have to be bothered about space to keep your rice cooker when you get one. A rice cooker is small and can stay on your kitchen counter or even in the kitchen cabinets until you’re ready to use it
The rice cooker doesn’t take so much space in the kitchen and can be used for small kitchen and even dorm rooms. Or maybe you’re staying somewhere for a short while and you feel like you don’t need so many other pots and appliances in their kitchen, a rice cooker is often enough and is also very portable.
The rice cooker eliminates the need for getting both a cooktop and pot, all you need is one simple appliance that does everything cleanly and is also very easy to clean.
6. Newer and exciting features
Rice cookers are becoming more innovative and more and more sophisticated; newer models are programmable and have many interesting settings.
Older versions of rice cookers had only a single setting for one type of rice, but the newer models are also considering other varieties of rice. There are specific settings for white rice, brown rice, as well as porridges. Some rice cookers even have settings for steaming foods such as vegetables.
You have newer models of rice cookers that have programmable features to modify the heating depending on how you want the cooked rice to come out.
Some rice cookers make use of a concept known as fuzzy logic to ensure that your food is cooked properly by adjusting the heating of the rice, depending on the conditions both inside and outside of the rice cooker.
Certain models of rice cookers make use of induction heating to heat your rice, induction cooking is a more efficient way for cooking as heat is dissipated more evenly and rice is more uniformly cooked.
Some have removable, nonstick interiors which are also very easy to clean.
Features to look out for in a rice cooker
Rice is a staple food eaten very often in some parts of the world.
Assuming you are somewhere rice is eaten regularly, then a rice cooker should be on your list of essential kitchen appliances.
Using a rice cooker is most likely going to make your work easier especially if you are going to be eating rice often.
However, before you go ahead to buy a rice cooker, here are a few interesting features that you might want to take note of so that you can select the best rice cooker for cooking your rice.
1. The Capacity of the rice cooker
Rice cookers come in various sizes, the small sizes which may contain 2 cups of rice might be enough for making rice for only one person, but assuming you want to make rice for more people, there are also medium and large-sized rice cookers, the medium-sized pressure cookers would be enough for 5 cups of rice while the large-sized pressure cookers are just enough to make 10 cups of rice or more. There are much larger-sized rice cookers, but these types are mainly used for commercial purposes and to keep rice warm, either in restaurants or for events.
2. Keep warm feature
The Keep warm feature of a rice cooker allows your rice to stay warm after cooking. Although most of the new rice cookers would have this feature, the duration for which they can keep your rice warm may differ. You can check for how long a particular rice cooker can keep rice warm before you buy it.
3. A removable non-stick bowl
The Rice cooker has an inner bowl. It is in the inner bowl that you pour the rice and water into. The inner bowl of a lot of rice cookers is made of nonstick and might also be removable; this makes it easy to clean the rice cookers when you’re done cooking especially since the rice does not get stuck on the surface.
4. Steaming trays, baskets, and other accessories
Some rice cookers come with accessories such as steam trays or baskets. These accessories could allow you to use the rice cooker for more than cooking rice alone. The steaming trays or baskets can be used for vegetables while boiling your rice.
5. Programmable rice cookers
Some rice cookers have multiple settings you can adjust by yourself.
So if you like your rice to be cooked differently, these rice cookers could be adjusted to your preferred settings.
Induction rice cookers vs. non-induction
Newer models of rice cookers make use of the principle of induction to heat the food in the rice cooker. There are magnets within the rice cooker that generates heat using magnetic energy; this heat is easier to control and spread evenly across the meal to cook. Other rice cookers may use an electrical coil that generates heat.