Ok, so my rice cooker-less rice cooking attempts. As a side note, I must not have many Californian readers, judging from the lack of rice cooker use out there. Did you not learn to cook from your Asian American friends and roommates? I can't imagine people not having ricemakers --- hell, I can't imagine any of my friends' families giving up one of their three or four different machines to help me out ("No, you can't have that one; that's for when everyone wants rice. No, you can't have that one; that's the small one for when only a few people want rice. Or a snack. And that one we boil the duck eggs in, so obviously you can't have that, because if you're boiling the duck eggs, you can't use the rice cooker for rice, and we don't have any burners left open on the top of the stove!)
Anyway, I looked up "basic rice" in my Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone Deborah Marsden book, measured out the rice, and then measured out the water:
Then I set a timer, chopped up some veggies, and went off to do other things:
So far, pretty much like the rice cooker, except that you don't have to be careful about the exact amount of water you put in since it adjusts for you.
After 40 minutes, the rice was "open" but still pretty soupy. And I had taken off the lid, which I guess is a no-no.
After 10 more minutes of cooking and 10 more minutes of cooking, the rice was cooked to chewlessness (complete mushiness?) and there was still tons of water sitting on the bottom. I took the lid off and turned it up to boil for another 10 minutes.
You can't see that it is still pretty watery, but it is. And it was completely tasteless. And the texture of risotto, which I would have minded less if it were flavored like risotto and had lots of cheese in it. I like my rice --- not "crunchy," not "chewy," but when you chew it there's something there; it's not like porridge or oatmeal or any of that gross gloppy stuff. Al dente, perhaps? And I had already eaten almost all of the veggies because I was hungry and tired of waiting.
Luckily I had tons of parsley that I wanted to use up, so for the next meal I chopped it all up really fine and added lemon and olive oil and lots of salt and pepper. Then it wasn't bad.
But see, the nice thing about rice cookers --- beside the fact that they will keep the rice warm for you when it is done and you don't have to worry about turning it of or eating it right away --- is that it takes the guesswork and training out of the cooking process for you. My poor rice cooker! I miss you, darling:
Tonight, I have been experimenting with trying to make red beans and rice. I usually cook vegetarian at home so I thought I might as well try to fine a vegetarian version of the Louisiana stuff. Taste-wise, it was ok, but after three hours it still looked like a bunch of beans. I don't know why mine didn't fall apart into a wonderful sauce like in her picture.
And after the last rice-cooking adventure, I put in exactly two cups of water instead of the 2 and 2 quarters cup or whatever the ratio is, and look!
Grrr. I probably only got a half cup's worth, and look at the rest there. You rice-advice people!