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Rice cooker must-haves?

a
AzCats Feb 20, 2002 12:13 PM

Okay, I've finally come to the realization that while my trusty Krups steamer is great for steaming green beans and asparagus, it will never come close to making not too sticky, not too mushy, perfect rice, let alone even edible brown rice. I know, sometimes it takes me awhile to catch on...

Which puts me in the market for a rice cooker. After doing some initial Internet shopping, I see that they range from about $30 up to $200, with varying bells and whistles. I'm usually a "you get what you pay for" kind of shopper, but I'm having a hard time justifying another expensive kitchen appliance purchase, especially since we probably only make rice a couple of times a month.

So my questions to you are: What are the bare minimum requirements for a decent rice cooker? Can I get away with one of the mid-range $50-$60 models and still get consistently great rice, just without bells and whistles? Do any of you have specific brand/model recommendations?

  1. j
    Jeff Lee Jul 31, 2005 07:00 PM

    I forgot to mention that the model number of the B&D Rice Cooker was a RC850. It retails for $34.99 and even though I was fortunate enough to steal mine for $12, I am buying another at $34.99 for my sister. I noticed it sells for $44.95 in some places. It is worth it.

    1. j
      Jeff Lee Jul 31, 2005 06:09 PM

      I paid little and love it. Spend the money on the Rice not the cooker. I got a Black&Decker that normally retails for $39.99 for $12 on a closeout at Lowes. I saw their $19.99 model at WalMart today but I would spend the extra $20 if you have to for the steam recapture. I ate Rice once a year and I now eat it twice a week [and continue to do so after having my B&D cheapie for three months. I HIGHLY recommend Jasmine Rice. It almost needs no added flavor (like butter etc). I now eat fish twice a week because I keep looking for things to have with my new love, Rice!

      1. j
        Jeff Lee Jul 31, 2005 06:08 PM

        I paid little and love it. Spend the money on the Rice not the cooker. I got a Black&Decker that normally retails for $39.99 for $12 on a closeout at Lowes. I saw their $19.99 model at WalMart today but I would spend the extra $20 if you have to for the steam recapture. I ate Rice once a year and I now eat it twice a week [and continue to do so after having my B&D cheapie for three months. I HIGHLY recommend Jasmine Rice. It almost needs no added flavor (like butter etc). I now eat fish twice a week because I keep looking for things to have with my new love, Rice!

        1. s
          Susan Mar 1, 2002 02:10 PM

          For anyone who is into Persian style rice, National makes a rice cooker that is calibrated for cooking Persian rice -- that's the kind with the crust (tah deg) at the bottom. You can get it from groceries that specialize in Persian ingredients.

          It's a wonderful invention--throw in a stick of butter, rice, water and anything you want to add (cooked lentils, or dill, or dates) and leave it along for an hour ot two.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Susan
            g
            gore Dec 28, 2003 09:05 AM

            Where can I get one? I live in Ohio. Please let me know
            Thanks
            Maideh Gore

            1. re: gore
              v
              Val G Dec 28, 2003 09:13 AM

              If you live near an Asian grocery, they will likely have rice cookers in stock. You can also mail order. Here's a link to Amazon's selection:

              Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/sea...

            2. re: Susan
              g
              gore Dec 28, 2003 09:06 AM

              Where can I get one? I live in Ohio. Please let me know
              Thanks
              Maideh Gore

              1. re: gore
                a
                allan Jan 8, 2004 11:41 AM

                http://www.appliances.com/x0x2677x2743/697.html
                They sell it and they are in Ohio.

                Link: http://www.appliances.com/x0x2677x274...

            3. s
              starflyer Feb 22, 2002 10:51 AM

              The rice cooker to get is the Tatung brand.. you can find it at Asian grocery stores. Why is Tatung so good? It's simple and versatile. The main body of the rice cooker is like a hot plate that you actually pour 1/4-1/2 cup of water into. The metal bowl where you put your rice and water into, goes directly into this small pool of water. When the rice cooker is on, it boils the water in the main body which keeps the temperature even and cooks the rice. The versatility comes in that you can put just about anything into the main body of the rice cooker to steam (raised from the small pool of water of course)... you dont need a special "rice pot"... any metal container that fits into the rice cooker works!

              The Tatung rice cooker is simple so it's durable and easy to clean! My mother has had her Tatung rice cooker for as long as I can remember!

              Thats my recommendation. I feel like an advertisement.

              Link: http://www.cs.rpi.edu/~nienc/images/s...

              1. z
                zim Feb 21, 2002 09:45 AM

                well my little indian grandmother who lives in an ashram, basically a village, in india, where the electricity comes and goes, has one appliance.

                A rice cooker.

                pretty much every south or east asian (i.e. heavy duty rice-eater) has one.

                I use the 1 knuckle technique - adjusting *slightly* for rice variety. For indian food i add a touch of ghee and salt for flavor (it also prevents rice from drying out if you use keep warm)

                don't use the dishwasher, hand clean and it should stay non-stick.

                I have a pretty cheap one (it does have keep warm, but I almost never use it)

                1. a
                  AzCats Feb 21, 2002 08:23 AM

                  Not only did I learn about rice 'cooker' preferences, I learned about rice 'cooking' preferences as well!

                  I think I'll be heading out after work today to go pick up my brand new bargain-basement rice cooker, and use the stovetop method when I want REALLY good rice.

                  Thank you all for your wonderful insights!

                  1. j
                    jenniferfishwilson Feb 21, 2002 12:16 AM

                    The only one-food-utensil I've ever owned is a rice cooker. We eat rice so often we wore one out. Our current one is a Hitachi but I don't think it matters. You want a on/off and a warm/cook button and that's it.

                    1. p
                      P Feb 20, 2002 08:09 PM

                      One question you might one to consider as a rice cooker must have: really good quality rice. You mentioned brown rice in your query; are you only cooking brown rice? If you do cook white rice, are you cooking long grain, medium grain, glutinous (a.k.a. mochi rice), Jasmine, etc? How important to you is fabulous rice? I make trips to an Asian grocery store to buy sushi-quality rice and consider it worth every penny.

                      1. s
                        Save your money Feb 20, 2002 05:09 PM

                        I have been using the same rice cooker for nearly 20 years: a medium-sized National brand cooker. It is faultless and turns out perfect rice every time. Just follow the manufacturers directions on correct measurements (although even then it is forgiving). I cook rice frequently and for the occasional cooker I can't imagine money better spent. Fuzzy-logic?? Puh-leez.....

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Save your money
                          j
                          jen kalb Feb 20, 2002 08:49 PM

                          Likewise. We inherited a bare bones model 15 years ago - it works just fine. Has a keep-warm feature, no nonstick. the asians have this appliance knocked, dont need any fancy stuff.

                          1. re: jen kalb
                            w
                            wrayb Feb 21, 2002 12:49 AM

                            Don't go patting the Asians on the back too much. While the initial design is elegantly successful they now are the ones leading the way with the fuzzy logic $250 cookers too. The have little voices and different whistles and all sorts of features.

                            One Japanese TV commercial pushing one of these cookers with little female voices piping up for all sorts of reasons featured a celebrity (a man) who had had a very messy public divorce. In the commercial he keeps smiling at the camera and repeating: My Life, My Wife, My Rice (close up on cooker).

                        2. c
                          cypressstylepie Feb 20, 2002 03:13 PM

                          since we're on the subject, and I just discovered the steaming method, i have to admit that i don't cook rice well at all. it's either underdone or overdone. But even if I sautee the grains dry before adding boiling water, it still comes out fuzzy, not nice separate, pilafy, intact grains. i know what i should do, but it doesn't come out right. probably because i'm so inexact with my liquid ratio- I just add until it's cooked. any tips? I believe a rice cooker will not produce this type of rice, right? Mine's hibernating in my mother's basement until I get a bigger kitchen.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: cypressstylepie
                            w
                            Wendy Lai Feb 20, 2002 03:28 PM

                            You are right, a rice cooker will not make rice pilaf type of rice. A rice will make the perfect white rice the kind you get at Chinese restaurants.

                            I don't make rice pilaf so I can't tell you what the methods for that is, but I know you can't just add water until it's done, that will always come to to be too much water. Rice needs time to absorb water, so add some, then wait a while before adding more.

                            1. re: cypressstylepie
                              f
                              Fatemeh Feb 20, 2002 06:26 PM

                              The single biggest trick to fluffy rice is soaking the rice in lightly salted water for SEVERAL hours first. I actually put mine in before I leave for work, which gives it a solid 10 hours soak time before I start cooking.

                              This draws out the starches that cause the stickiness. Then, to cook it the Persian way, boil the grains JUST until they are still cruchy in the centers, but beginning to cook on the outside.

                              Drain, then pile it all up in a mound in the pot, wrap a rag around the lid of the pot, and let the rice steam for 20 or so minutes.

                              Light, fluffy, beautiful long-grain rice!

                              1. re: cypressstylepie
                                j
                                Jujubee Feb 20, 2002 07:14 PM

                                Try rinsing the rice in several changes of water until the water runs clear. I swirl it around in the pot with my hand while running cold water in and then drain it. After about 1/2 dozen or so times the water is more or less clearish. At least for the type of rice I eat (either Jasmine, or Japanese short/medium grain like Kokuho) it does make for more distinct grains. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but really it only takes about a minute or two.

                              2. g
                                galleygirl Feb 20, 2002 02:50 PM

                                I have a totally uncool rice-cooker/steamer, by hamilton beach, that I bought for $17 at Costco about 8 years ago...It has NONE of the bells and whistles, in fact, it's the kind with the bowl for rice and water that sits OVER the water receptacle, which I gather, are looked down upon by true afficionadoes...Guess what? I love it, it won't die, and it makes perfect rice everytime! I HAVE considered one of the more expensive models, since it has proven it's worth, but if it ain't broke.. :)
                                However, on the lowcost LC shopping expedition, I saw Salton cookers for $17.99 at HomeGoods, and a Japanese brand, possibly the one mentioned, for $49..It was mighty tempting to step up...

                                FWIW, I was one of those people who didn't cook rice a lot, because I could never get it right...It's so easy, that I'm apt to eat it much more now...I even put on the cooker when I call for take-out Chinese, Korean, or Japanese.....

                                1. w
                                  Wendy Lai Feb 20, 2002 01:58 PM

                                  While all the new fancy rice cooker that have function like non stick and keep warm, they are not as nice as what an old fasion electric steamer/cooker can do. When we were growing up, there are these electric pots that you put water in than you put an inner pot with rice or whatever else you want to steam. You push the on button and when all the water is gone, the cooker will shut itself off. Most of the time these cooker are large and can accommodate whole fish or other foods. Most of the time they also have a keep warm function.

                                  That being said. Making perfect rice is not so much the cooker as the the ratio of water to rice. Any old cheap brand from Costco or Chinatown will make you good rice if you know how much water to use.

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: Wendy Lai
                                    w
                                    wrayb Feb 20, 2002 02:26 PM

                                    Yes.

                                    And it matters if you have fresh and quality rice. While rice has reasonable shelf life (I am not knowledgable enough to start spouting recommendations) there are limits. Not that it spoils but the taste does change, usually noticably for the worse. Also, fresher rice needs less water.

                                    1. re: Wendy Lai
                                      c
                                      Carrot Feb 20, 2002 02:31 PM

                                      So what is the best rice to water ratio for a rice cooker?

                                      1. re: Carrot
                                        w
                                        Wendy Lai Feb 20, 2002 03:05 PM

                                        Yes, that would be the next logical question. But the answer is not that straight forward. Different type of rice take different amount of water. Right now I'm cooking jasmin rice (I buy 25 pounds at a time), which is a long grain rice that is not as sticky as Japanese sushi rice, but not as unsticky as basmati rice. I'm using equal amount of rice to water. I think for stickier rice you would use more water (by more I mean only a few spoonsful more) and less stickier rice you use less. I think the shorter the grain the sticker they are. Also, the type of cooking methods also makes the amount of water needed vary. I find if I don't use a rice cooker and cook rice stove top (and I don't mean the cook it in water and drain it in a colander, I mean steam the rice stovetop so that when the water evorapes the rice is done, which believe you me is an art form) it would take a bit more water.

                                        Oh, and to make things more complicated, different people prefer their rice differently. My mother always like hers more softer and smooshier than mine, so she uses more water...

                                        The whole thing goes on and on. I would suggest if you end up using a rice cooker, to start out with one to one ratio and adjust according to your own taste.

                                        1. re: Wendy Lai
                                          g
                                          Greg Spence Feb 20, 2002 03:28 PM

                                          Here's the formula for water to rice: Put rice into pan. Fill with water until the water comes to the first knuckle of your index finger when you lightly touch the surface of the rice. Bring to a boil, cook for 20 minutes covered, over low heat. Don't remove the cover until the time is up. Works for any rice (except wild) every time. The ratio of water to rice is automatically correct every time, regardless of the type of rice or the size and shape of the pan.

                                          1. re: Greg Spence
                                            k
                                            KirkK Feb 20, 2002 03:52 PM

                                            Hey it's the first knuckle method - just the way Mom taught me - I use it til today. I make adjustments based on freshness (i.e. New Crop rice needs less water) As well as how well drained the rice is after rinsing. So those "New Crop" labels you see on rice from time to time have a direct relationship to cooking......

                                            1. re: KirkK
                                              d
                                              Dennison Feb 20, 2002 04:09 PM

                                              Yup, that's the tried and true method that Momma taught me too. The thing is, these new-fangled super-schmick Zojirushis claim to adjust for a multitude of factors using something called neuro-fuzzy logic -- as I understand it there are all sorts of sensors that monitor conditions all through the cooking process so that the cooker can learn and automatically adjust everything so that it's perfect in the end. All I know is that there's something truly frightening about owning a rice cooker that's much smarter than I am, so I still insist on using the first knuckle method.

                                              1. re: Dennison
                                                w
                                                wrayb Feb 20, 2002 04:17 PM

                                                But I have always wondered: are everybodies fingers are the same length? Doesn't seem that way to me.

                                                1. re: wrayb
                                                  d
                                                  Dennison Feb 20, 2002 05:01 PM

                                                  My mother's answer would be a long look followed by the question: You gonna analyze that rice or eat it? (Sorry, couldn't help myself -- she taught me well.)

                                                  The beauty of this technique is that not only are all fingers different lengths, but it works for all sizes of rice cooker containers. Rice is remarkably forgiving about small variances in water amount. Like all cooking, however, it's a skill acquired by trial and error -- I tend to adjust the water level to the top of bottom of my knuckle crease depending on how I want my rice that night like Wendy does. Or rather, I used to before this HAL-neuro-fuzzy-thing took over my kitchen. Now the rice gets cooked however the machine wants it cooked.

                                                  1. re: wrayb
                                                    t
                                                    torta basilica Mar 7, 2002 10:23 AM

                                                    Shaq & Kobe's rice might turn out mushy, but maybe they like it that way...

                                                  2. re: Dennison
                                                    m
                                                    MilesP Feb 20, 2002 04:27 PM

                                                    We use a National brand rice cooker, which I think is the Panasonic bargain basement brand and it always makes great rice, even brown or wild rice; it's also super-reliable. The cooking water does tend to spatter when cooking wild rice, though.

                                                    The water amounts increase if you're using wild or brown rice, but generally for white rice, either jasmine or basmati, we use equal quantities of rice and water, and then add a quarter cup of water. So for 2 cups of uncooked rice, we put in two and a quarter cups of rice. It's foolproof.

                                                    1. re: MilesP
                                                      w
                                                      wrayb Feb 20, 2002 05:46 PM

                                                      National is the standard name brand the company uses in Japan.

                                                      1. re: MilesP
                                                        d
                                                        Doug Radcliffe Jan 23, 2004 12:31 PM

                                                        That makes no sense! Your method should call for 2 1/2 cups water! I think for softer rice you need more than a 50/50 mix of rice and water. I often use 1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup of rice. Not for everyone, but it works well for Red Beans & Rice. Use less of course if you want a more traditional rice. My range is 1 1/4 cups of water to 1 cup of rice as a minimum; 1 1/2 cups water as a maximum. Let your rice be your guide.

                                                      2. re: Dennison
                                                        m
                                                        MilesP Feb 20, 2002 04:28 PM

                                                        That's two and a quarter cups of water. Sorry.

                                                    2. re: Greg Spence
                                                      m
                                                      missmasala Jan 23, 2004 01:20 PM

                                                      I've always been skeptical of this method, tho i know it works for many people. but how can it be good for everyone when we all have fingers of different lengths?

                                                    3. re: Wendy Lai
                                                      l
                                                      lucia Feb 21, 2002 10:25 AM

                                                      Yes, I too cook different rice different ways, which I think is necessary for the "correct" result. I would add to this that American-grown sushi rice needs more water than Japanese-grown, and that the French prefer wettish, loose rice for dishes like veal blanquette. I think that people who grow up with rice one way might stick too strictly to their one-method style.

                                                2. d
                                                  Dennison Feb 20, 2002 01:43 PM

                                                  Like most Chinese-Americans, I received a rice cooker and a wok from my Mom when I got my first apartment. It was a Panasonic/National, just a simple little one without the keep warm function or a nonstick bowl. Used it for over ten years before I finally upgraded to a super-schmick Zojirushi fuzzy-logic cooker from an online clearance sale that I've been using for a couple of years now. I like it okay, but wouldn't pay full price for it. Sure the features are cool -- it comes with a timer, it makes superb brown rice, has a congee setting and a special "harder rice" setting for use in fried rice. Does everything but core a apple, but I wonder if I'm just making my life far more complicated than it need be. Doesn't really bother me since I got mine for a song, but I really haven't been recommending it to others. I just don't see that these fancy cookers deserve the high prices they go for.

                                                  However, I do highly recommend the bargain-basement cookers that are found all over Chinatown on the cheap ($30 or so last time I looked for a reasonably sized one). Much as I like the idea of just cooking rice in a pot, I need to keep all burners free when I'm cooking for a group.

                                                  Interesting to hear about the colander-steaming method of rice cookery. I had an ex-girlfriend who cooked rice like pasta, using the colander to drain it when it was to her liking. It always horrified me. I sure hope she isn't reading along...

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Dennison
                                                    w
                                                    wrayb Feb 20, 2002 02:34 PM

                                                    That pasta/colander method of rice cooking is popular in New Orleans. The results are good and appropriate when using long grain rice and going for very light and fluffy rice. It can easily be abused ending with watery tasteless rice. For good results the rice needs to be just leaving the al dente stage when the switch from boil to colander is made. I haven't cooked it that way since I left New Olreans and don't remember all the details. Perhaps someone else can fill them in.

                                                    1. re: wrayb
                                                      c
                                                      Catherine Feb 20, 2002 03:21 PM

                                                      Whoa, so it is a New Orleans thing -- thanks for the info, wrayb. Makes sense, as I'm from New Orleans. :) Even still, I haven't seen too many of my New Orleans native friends cook it that way. Perhaps it's going out of style down here?

                                                      I've filled in some of the details in a previous post. I use a pretty light-duty pot, bring lots of salted water to a boil, and add the rice. I boil the rice till just past al dente (usually 10-12 minutes), and drain into a colander. I put 1-2 inches of water in the light duty pot, throw the colander on top, and keep the water at a light boil to steam the rice and keep it warm, for at least 15-20 minutes.

                                                      The colander type is pretty important. I use the cheap aluminum kind you can find at the hardware store. In college, I tried with various other types of colanders while I searched for the right type, but they didn't hold the right amount of moisture and/or heat.

                                                      It's nice for timing meals, as it isn't exact at all. The rice can steam almost indefinitely, but left too long, will get kind of crunchy at the edges of the colander.

                                                      I guess rice is a big thing in New Orleans. We grew up eating rice at least four times per week. I've never been the biggest fan of breakfast foods, so often leftover rice with a little salt started my day growing up.

                                                      Blue skies,
                                                      Catherine

                                                      1. re: Catherine
                                                        w
                                                        wrayb Feb 20, 2002 04:11 PM

                                                        Thanks for the details. Yes, the cheapo aluminum colander is what I learned and always saw used.

                                                        Different ways to eat left over rice the next morning could be a whole 'nother thread.

                                                  2. e
                                                    Elisa Davis Feb 20, 2002 01:42 PM

                                                    I've had two rice cookers--the first one is still working but I wanted a non-stick pan.

                                                    There are only four things (IMO, of course) that you should consider when getting a rice cooker: it should have a non-stick pot, it should stay on Warm after the rice is finished (some of them shut off when done), it should have more capacity than you think you need because it's amazing how much more rice you'll consume once you have a good rice cooker, and it should be made by an Asian manufacturer.

                                                    One tip for brown rice is to soak it ahead of time in the liquid you'll be cooking it in. It will cook faster.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: Elisa Davis
                                                      w
                                                      wrayb Feb 20, 2002 02:53 PM

                                                      Rice should nearly always soak for a while in the cooker before you start it. 8-10 minutes for white rice. 30 minutes or longer for brown rice.

                                                      I don't understand the emphasis (not just by you Elisa) people make on non-stick for rice cookers. It has never been an issue for me. And this includes using the cooker for making variations including sekihan (with beans, etc.) and Indian and Mexican variations with oil and misc. flavorings added to the rice.

                                                      Although in reference to non-stick one poster said something about dishwashing machines which which I never use for pots. Maybe that has something to do with that preference.

                                                      cheers.

                                                      1. re: wrayb
                                                        w
                                                        Wendy Lai Feb 20, 2002 03:08 PM

                                                        While non-stick is a good thing to have, I don't miss it either. Our rice pot is not non-stick, but I find if after the rice cooker pops up and you let it sit for 10-20 mintues before serving, the rice will not stick too much.

                                                        And if it does, well, that's what soaking is suppose to do.

                                                        1. re: wrayb
                                                          e
                                                          Elisa Davis Feb 20, 2002 08:25 PM

                                                          My first rice cooker (a wedding gift from my co-workers in 1980, led by a Chinese woman who knew I really wanted one)was non-stick and it was always a pain to get really clean. Plus, we always wasted a lot of the rice because it was cooked onto the pot too hard to get out.

                                                          That rice cooker still works but I replaced it with a non-stick pan one (that also shuts off when finished, so I am not totally happy with it) and we get every grain of rice to eat including that nice crusty part along the bottom. Takes 10 seconds to clean and we sometimes use it daily.

                                                          I use it for rice mixes, too. For something like rice-a-roni, I toss the rice/pasta mixture with a little oil and toast in the microwave, then put the toasted stuff plus water and flavor pack in the rice cooker and it's always perfect.

                                                          As for soaking rice (and thanks for the tip, I'd never thought to soak rice as a normal part of the preparation), brown rice can soak all day and then will cook in 10-15 minutes less time--a big plus for people cooking after work.

                                                          1. re: Elisa Davis
                                                            w
                                                            wrayb Feb 21, 2002 12:40 AM

                                                            Hmmm. It is very rare that I have any problem cleaning the pot. But I was once a professional pot washer at a world famous restaurant.

                                                            Thank you for your mentioning soaking the brown rice all day, yes, and when it soaks a long time it seem to me that the rice grains after cooking are much more succulent. As for white rice, my Japanese mentor told me to always soak it around 10 minutes, until the rice starts to look much whiter. Long soaking of white rice can result in the rice being too soft. Although I know some who start the soak at night for the next day's breakfast.

                                                            1. re: wrayb
                                                              i
                                                              ironmom Feb 21, 2002 07:50 AM

                                                              I always soak rice either overnight or all day. The key to not cooking soft rice is to use the correct amount of water for the amount and type of rice you are cooking, as well as to suit your personal tastes.

                                                              I used to have a little Zojirushi with all the bells and whistles. It was great, knowing that I had perfect hot rice waiting for me, even if I was delayed, or got up an hour or two late.

                                                              There are two types of rice cooker users: those who feel all the features are a waste of time, who cook their rice and eat it immediately, and think everyone should do it that way; and those who use and enjoy all the features on their precious toys.

                                                      2. c
                                                        Catherine Feb 20, 2002 12:52 PM

                                                        I'm pretty particular about my rice, and tend to eat it at least a couple times per week. I've tried a couple rice cookers in the past, borrowed from friends, but have found that old-fashioned cooking is the best way to get it perfect, even if it does dirty up a pot and a colander. Do rice cookers really get it perfect?

                                                        I guess this doesn't really answer your question, but I have never seen anyone outside of my family cook rice like this - anyone else use the old fashioned colander steaming process for perfect white rice?

                                                        Blue skies,
                                                        Catherine

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: Catherine
                                                          c
                                                          cypressstylepie Feb 20, 2002 01:19 PM

                                                          question for you- what do you do with a colander when making rice? really curious. i just keep adding liquid little by little until the liquid is cooked in/off. I always thought draining extra liquid would remove flavor and starch (if that's desired in the texture).

                                                          I haven't used my rice cooker yet from my bridal shower (I'm dying to, but we live in a New York City studio

                                                          1. re: cypressstylepie
                                                            c
                                                            Catherine Feb 20, 2002 03:01 PM

                                                            I bring a LOT of salted water to a boil, boil high for 10-12 minutes, and toss into the waiting colander (the cheap aluminum kind). I then steam the rice by keeping an inch or two of lightly boiling water under the colander. It'll steam almost indefinitely, which helps out on those nights it takes a little bit longer than you thought to put everything together.

                                                            I tend to use this method on regular long grain white rice (not converted), but cook brown/yellow/other rice in the more conventional manner. I didn't mean to say that this is the only method of cooking rice, but I've just never seen anybody else do it. Most of my friends use rice cookers or cook it in a covered pot like brown rice.

                                                            Blue skies,
                                                            Catherine

                                                          2. re: Catherine
                                                            w
                                                            wrayb Feb 20, 2002 02:16 PM

                                                            One thing to recognize is that just as there is more than one kind of rice, cooking rice is not a singular monolithic process.

                                                            If you have come to prefer the method of boiling the rice in a lot of water and then finish it by steaming in a colander you will not get rice with the same texture in a rice cooker.

                                                            A friend in Mexico says she never gets good rice from a rice cooker. Of course she usually cooks rice by toasting it in oil in a heavy pot, sometimes with garlic, and then adding water and simmering 'til done. Her attempt to do all this in the rice cooker was a mini disaster.

                                                            There are still lots of ways to get tasty rice from a cooker. But remember it was designed to cooker a particular range of rice preparations. Imagine using a singular appliance/approach with potatoes?

                                                            wray

                                                            1. re: wrayb
                                                              r
                                                              Rochelle McCune Feb 20, 2002 05:13 PM

                                                              I had a rice cooker, my husband came with a rice cooker and they both suck! (both cookers, not the hubby ;-).

                                                              Last year, I got a Mexican clay pot that I put on the stove, heat up, add oil, add herbs, toast the rice, then pour in boiling liquid and put the lid on. I leave it on heat for about 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and let it sit for 20 minutes. Perfect rice every time.

                                                              I have done plain fluffy rice with the clay pot and it worked out fine. I just rarely eat plain rice.

                                                          3. l
                                                            LisaLou Feb 20, 2002 12:32 PM

                                                            I have a Japanese one, whose name currently escapes me but it has a little elephant on it and has fuzzy logic. It was $125 at Broadway Panhandler. It is worth it, especially if rice is your favorite starch. My husband doesn't really like potatoes or pasta as a side. I love putting rice on and then concentrating on whatever else I'm making.

                                                            You could probably get away with a cheaper one. I used to have a $30 one. The key for that is, make sure the pot is non-stick. My cheap one wasn't and after a few months of use and my roommate putting the pot in the dishwasher, rice had a tendency to stick.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: LisaLou
                                                              p
                                                              P Feb 20, 2002 12:56 PM

                                                              The brand referred to is a Zojirushi (Japanese for elephant), and generally a good one. I have a Panasonic that I purchased at Costco for about $30. I don't really think there's that much difference between any of the most common brands, although the higher-end models (bigger, hard plastic casing) do some fancy keep warm sort of things.

                                                              1. re: P
                                                                l
                                                                LisaLou Feb 20, 2002 02:02 PM

                                                                Zojirushi, that's it. Thank you. We got ours as a wedding gift. I'm not so sure I ever would have spend that much on a rice cooker myself.

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