Other uses for a rice cooker?
I just bought a small, inexpensive rice cooker. Since I am usually only making rice enough for two people, I have put this purchase off for a long time. However, now that I've got it, I'm wondering if it has other cooking uses. Do any of you 'hounds use your rice cookers for something other than cooking rice? And how do you do it? Thanks!
Re "cooking rice for two people": If you use parboiled rice aka converted rice aka golden rice, cook as much rice as your cooker will cook. Freeze it in plastic sandwich bags for individual portions than zap it for use. I haven't found any other kind of rice that this method works with. Basmati and long-grain get smooshy but the golden rice grains stay nice and separate. Golden rice is mostly in the ethnic grocery stores. It's worth tracking down for this very convenience-producing method.
There is a cookbook written on this topic in English. There are also a few in Japanese. The Japanese ones suggest making bread and cakes, as well as soups, stews and rice mixed with vegies, chicken, rice, etc.
At culinary school in Japan, we just made rice pilaf. Sauteed onions in oil, then added the rice, sauteed for a few minutes to cover the rice with oil. Then, put the rice in the rice cooker and finished it there. Always a nice change to regular white rice.
The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. ISBN 1-55832-202-7
In the table of contents for this book:
Risotto (that sounds cool actually...)
Polenta, Grits and Hominy
Little Bites (dim sum, dolmas, tamales)
Very international mix of recipes and types of rice included. It makes for a great reference book as it is pack-full of information.
Good Luck. I love using my rice cooker for more than just rice! It is also very easy to clean.
Yes, this is the definitive reference available in English. It is very detailed in its distinguishing the size of the cooker and the grains being cooked in it; I have found it invaluable - I created a spreadsheet for synthesizing its multiple tables, a spreadsheet I keep on my frig for quick reference when I use the cooker.
A couple of worthy tips: let your whole grains soak before cooking if you want them tender, and don't add salt to them (it acidulates the water and makes the bran tougher to cook properly).