Strange Rice Cooker Question
I've been researching rice cookers, and think I have found a good one for me-
Zojirushi Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer, 3 cup- one-piece, delay timer, good quality, good reviews...
My main purpose for it will be to have hot cereal ready to go when I wake up in the morning. To minimize cleanup, I was wondering if it is OK to put a bowl in the cooker (with perhaps a towel underneath to protect the nonstick surface of the insert) with your oats and water instead of directly putting the ingredients in the insert. I guess this would be a no, but I thought I'd ask!
It would definitely not work. A rice cooker is really a "water boiler" and it stops when it detects water has boiled away and so temp rises... so with no water directly in the pan it would stop right away. It would be like putting a pot on the stove, turning it on, and then putting a bowl inside. A rice cooker is not anything like a slow cooker (which I'm guessing you thought might have been the case).
If it's really an issue, why not just eat your oatmeal straight out of the insert? (I'd suggest using a wooden spoon so you don't scratch the surface.) Bohemian for sure, but what the hell!
Agreed with the others, don't put a bowl in your inner bowl it will damage it. If you want your porridge/oatmeal ready for when you wake up then put everything in before you go to bed and set the timer (but don't put milk in - it may spoil overnight), you'll wake up to nice hot porridge/oatmeal which you can add dried fruit, milk, honey etc too!
We use the following recipe in our 5.5 cup Zojirushi, just scale down for the 3 cup. It's a great recipe and the rice cooker makes it very easy.
Ingredients (serves 4*)
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups water
1 cup half oats & half water
3-4 spoons (or more to your own taste) honey or brown sugar and dried fruit
* You may need to experiment with the amounts of oats and water, depending on whether you like thick or thin oat porridge!
Place steel cut oats and water in the inner cooking pan.
Place the inner cooking pan in the main body of the rice cooker, plug in the unit, select the "Porridge" setting and push the "Cooking" button to start.
When the rice cooker turns to "Keep Warm," open the lid, stir and add the remaining ingredients.
Using the Timer function and soaking the oats overnight will help soften the texture.
You've already been told that a bowl is not the best idea for your cereal, and since you want to minimize cleanup - have you given any thought to those plastic liners that are used in hotel pans? I think they make a consumer version but you should be able to source these hotel pan liners at any restaurant supply house.
It will take the boiling temperature of the rice cooker (or at least I surmise that it would) since the food is usually cooked and held in hotel pans. I've seen them touted that you can bake mac-n-cheese in them with lickety-split cleanup.
Of course, that brings the additional expense of the liners and the additional waste generation per day.
But really, if you're getting a new Zoji, most of them now have contoured baskets with a non-stick coating. I use my 12cup Zoji quite frequently and clean up is super easy because of the non-stick interior.