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Rice Cooker: useful?

I recently purchased a Krups electric rice cooker/steamer (I think it's 10 or 12 cup). So far I have just done Mexican rice, using both white rice and brown, and I really love it. What else can I do with it? Do you think this would make a worthwhile Christmas gift for my married daughter? She does a lot of Mexican cooking, but I an concerned about storage issues versus amount of use. I've seen a lot of Wolfgang Puck rice cookers when I do internet searches; are they good? As good as the Krups?

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  1. "What else can I do with it? " Doesn't it come with some kind of cook book or suggestions? With some rice cookers you can use it as a veg steamer as well as cook porridge and sushi rice. Only you can answer the question about your daughter's storage issues.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sandih

      Yes, mine did come with a pamphlet with some suggestions. When I post a question on Chow, I'm looking for something beyond that, and perhaps the benefit of other's experience, not a somewhat smug reply. Sorry to have bothered you, Sandi.

    2. here are a couple of past threads on rice cookers:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/288545 rice cooker must haves, 2002-2005

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/323629 do i want a rice cooker, 2006-2007

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/409207 is a rice cooker worth it, 2007

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/441072 considering a rice cooker, 2007

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/437485 Zojirushi Rice Cooker, 2007-2008

        1. re: Stephanie Wong

          Polenta? How do you cook polenta in a rice cooker, Stephanie?

          1. re: chuckl

            Bring liquid to a boil, whisk in the polenta, let it cook to desired doneness (stirring occasionally). Adjust seasoning & add flavorings as desired -- butter to loosen or grated cheese to tighten. If I'm using diced red pepper or fresh corn kernels, I'll add those late in the process.

            Originally tried this method to free up a burner on our stove. Now we regularly use the rice cooker for polenta so we don't need to "watch" it closely and it will hold for hours. Plus the non-stick bowl is an easy clean-up. I think my husband uses the congee setting; I just adjust it manually as I go.

        2. My microwave has a rice setting on it, and it cooks perfect rice with a touch of the button. What I don't need is another large thing to store, that I don't use ALL the time!

          1. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/din...

            an interesting commentary on rice cookers- we useours only for rice- and I was a skeptic at first- but it's nice to free up the stove and not have to worry about burning...

            3 Replies
            1. re: qwerty78

              Thanks so much, qwerty & Kaimukiman. Those links are exactly the type of direction I was hoping for. Loved the article in the NY Times. I think I'm going to get that book.....

              1. re: PattiCakes


                ps: i do have a rice cooker (doesn't everyone in Hawaii?) It is one of the old simple kinds with only an on switch, doesn't even have a "keep warm" setting. I use it all the time even though I am capable of making perfectly acceptable rice on the stove. It's just a nice thing to have.

              2. re: qwerty78

                I only use mine for rice too, and I love the rice so much that I make it at least twice a week. Our preference is short grain sushi rice.

              3. There are almost endless possibilities with a rice cooker, many of which have already been mentioned in the replies above.

                Think of a rice cooker as basically a portable stove, with a automatic shut-off switch that can be overrided by simply hitting the "cook" button or feature again and again and again.

                Nowadays, I use my rice cooker more for steaming than I do for actually making rice.

                Invest in a good one (Zojirushi makes some of the best) and you'll be rewarded 10x over.

                6 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  You bet. I've been using one of the smaller Zojirushi models for about 8 years now and it still works good as new. A few extra bucks compared to some, but worth it.

                  1. re: Zeldog

                    My 3 cup Zojirushi has been performing like a champ for 9 years and 8 months... and I'm wanting to get a bigger one, but this one just won't break down...

                    Then again, my mother's cooker is about 20 years old... and she hasn't been able to "upgrade" either because it, too, won't die

                    (maybe I shouldn't wait until it reaches the end of its life, but just get a bigger one now)

                    1. re: oryza

                      Try passing your 3-cupper on to a college-age student who's on a budget. Makes a nice alternative to instant ramen noodles.

                      1. re: Stephanie Wong

                        That's what I did when I "upgraded" from my old workhorse National to a fuzzy Zojirushi a few years ago. ( I've been regretting it, however...I love that old National).

                      2. re: oryza

                        And my rice cooker was purchased @ the Japanese department store @ AlaMoana Center in Honolulu THIRTY SEVEN years ago, and is still going strong. Not one of my six kids survived college without a smaller version, either. Unfortunately, that means six rice cookers are residing, unused, in my attic, to this day.
                        Wondering what reactions will be to ice cream machines, twenty years from now.

                        1. re: alwaysoverbudgetcaterer

                          Ah, I remember the days of Shirokiya, Liberty House and Masu's...

                          I use my rice cooker for making rice. I think it will do other things, but I use mine for making rice. Zojirushi is the only choice. I doubt I would ever mess around with some Puck-branded doohickey.

                  2. Can't live without my Zojirushi. But, I'm Asian, so rice is like a vitamin to me.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pharmnerd

                      Love my Zojirushi and it frees up a stovetop burner & babysitting time -- always comes out great.