Thursday, January 14, 2010

The one tool you truly need- a Rice Cooker.

Many, many times in my life have I used one of the four rice cookers I have owned. Four rice cookers?!?! That seems overkill, but with the various moves, and the affordability of rice cookers, why not? If you want an easy way to cook rice, and don't mind waiting more than a minute to create an amazing addition to your meal, then a rice cooker is the way to go.

I can honestly say that rice cookers do create perfect rice without the fuss of watching and turning off the stove at the right time. To avoid confusion when purchasing, there are two types of rice cookers with the lovely names of: On-Off Rice Cookers, and Fuzzy Logic Rice Cookers.

On-off rice cookers are by far the simpler of the two, with three "settings." On, Off, and Warm.  You can get them at discount prices for as low as Seven dollars (that was the cheapest one I ever bought), and they range up to $100 for the nicer brands. Be forewarned when you buy these, they aren't of the best quality at the lower prices, you won't be able to make brown rice (which I know many people are starting to eat these days). They are low power, still make amazing white rice, and are a good way to have an all night warm snack, as they can keep the rice in edible condition for many hours. Many also include steamers which make for easy vegetable cooking.

While I have never owned one, I have combed through many reviews of Fuzzy-Logic cookers in order to place one on my wedding registry. It is a quick find of the most popular brand, Zojirushi. These more advanced cousins of the On-Off variety can do many more jobs. They have brown, sticky, sweet, reheat, and quick cook rice settings. They also have porridge (think polenta, rice porridge) and soup settings for the time when you aren't making rice. Some even have char settings, for the classic asian dishes such as Bi Bim Bop (which I will be making sometime soon for this blog), which utilize crispy rice on the bottom as a flavor component.

Although the price is much higher, if you make rice more than several times a week, I think a fuzzy logic rice cooker is the way to go. The major benefits are: you can cook more types of rice, and you can keep that rice warm for up to a day in a half in the fuzzy rice cookers. The problems- they take a lot longer to cook, making cooking times nearly 45 minutes for a simple pot of rice. They have computers in them that are literally creating the perfect hearting conditions for the rice of your choosing (why they take so long).

While I own an on-off rice cooker now, I cannot wait for the day where a fuzzy logic cooker arrives on my doorstep.  In any case, BUY A RICE COOKER! Thank you Kayla for the inspiration!

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