Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Rice Cooker

When we originally set out to plan dinner, I had no idea of what adventure lie ahead of us.  Our first meal choice was some kind of chicken with rice.  In an attempt to get away from fried greasy foods, this seemed to be a winner.  Hubs was to take care of the chicken as he has a fetish for the charcoal grill and I was to do the rice.  At first I was just going to boil up some instant rice then I struck on my second light bulb moment of the week that went like this...

Me ~ "Sweety, what do you think of using the rice cooker for dinner?"

Hubs ~ "That's a brilliant idea!"

Me ~ "Yea!!!  Um...  *pause*  How do I use it?  I just throw rice and water in then press the button, right?"

Hubs ~ "I think it's a little more complex than that.  You better look it up on your mac!"

I walked off grumpy thinking it's a rice cooker, a substitute for the stove... it can't be that hard to use.  But I had no owners manual and never used the cooker before (I scored this little gem along with my end table turned coffee table turned night stand and our kitchen table from the basement of my old apartment building).  So I set off searching the web for how to use a rice cooker.  I was intrigued to find there were more steps than rice + water + heat = sticky rice.

Here's my little journey I embarked on just to make rice...

1.  You need to rinse the rice.  (Apparently rice gets rice dust on it and if that is not rinsed off, it will cause the rice to stick to the cooker making a burned on mess.)  But you just don't rinse the rice once.  You keep rinsing till the rice water is clear or mostly clear.  This led to me with a strainer in one hand and a pot of water/rice in the other.  At the end, there were bits of uncooked rice flung all over the sink, counter top and the floor.

2.  Spray the rice cooker pot with non-stick spray (highly recommended but not necessary).  If there's enough water in the pot, the rice ought to not burn.  But if you do leave it to warm long enough, it could dry to the point of burning.  So this is a good step that I forgot to use.  Opps!

3.  Next you measure out the water to go with the number of cups of rice you just rinsed.  The cooker I "rescued" did a three cup minimum, which is 6 cups of cooked rice.  Yikes!  (Wedding registry idea...put on a 3 cup cooker so don't need to make a whole bag of rice at once.)  Under stove conditions, three cups of rice usually equals three cups of water but in rice cooker land, it's three and a half.  Or so says the manual for the cooker.

4.  Cook the rice!  This was as simple as pushing the lever down and walking away for 15-20 minutes.  The online manual said if you wanted softer rice, you can let it soak for 15 minutes before cooking but I was hungry and there was no waiting.

5.  Eat cooked rice.  Yum!  Yum!

The rice was amazing...  tasted like the sticky rice I get from the chinese restaurant just down the street from the lab.  It was not too watery and not too dry.  It stuck together just right.  I <3 the rice cooker!

Any other new lovers of rice cookers out there too?

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