Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rice Cooker?

I have killed my rice cooker. Sigh. I noticed it making lots of funny noises last time I cooked up rice and finally I put water in the pan to check for leaks and held it up to observe drips. It has a hole slightly larger than a pin. Grumble.

I must have bought this as a senior in college. I hadn't thought about the life spans of rice cookers but that is a pretty long time.

My first reaction was to do nothing. Nothing, that is, except eat things that were not ricey. See me trying to control my spending? Unfortunately, I lapsed and went to Kohl's to find cheap t-shirts. I now have a huge pile of t-shirts to wash and put away, and a couple bras that I hope will actually fit comfortably for more than a week this time. Dangit. So, I spent money, and really my ideal solution would be to learn how to cook up rice in a saucepan instead of buy a rice cooker.

But where's the fun in that? Also, I only eat brown rice, the short fat grains. Tasty! And, all heart-goodness-y. Is it hard to cook brown rice in a saucepan?

You know how I dither about (oops sorry, "research" the best consumer value) before I actually go and choose anything, so we might as well begin the discussion now. I will then be ready to make a decision about when school is ready to start.

What's a good rice cooker? Do you have any favorites? Recommendations? Anything you know does brown rice well? I don't need it to make bread or porridge or the crazy stuff some of these things advertise, just make rice.

In other news, I want a coffee-making robot. But I wouldn't have him actually make any coffee, just clomp around the house scaring the cats. See?



Sapience said...

I've never bothered with a rice cooker because cooking rice on the stove isn't hard at all. Most packages of rice have instructions on the back for the ratio of water to rice (it's usually 2.25:1 for brown rice, but it depends on the sub-type). Basically, you bring the water to a boil in a pot with a lid, turn the heat down to low, add the rice, and then put the lid on it for 40-50 minutes.

Anonymous said...

What Sapience said. Though I prefer drier rice, so we're generally just 2:1.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I totally lied.

We put the rice in with the water before starting it to boil.

Though the type of rice we prefer is not sticky at all.

anthea said...

I've never cooked rice in a rice cooker either. I've always used a saucepan on top of the stove. Follow Sapience's ratio but you don't have to boil the water beforehand..just mix the water with the rice and put it on cook.

Susan said...

Never used a rice cooker. The ratio of water to rice, I find, depends to some extent on how much you are cooking: you need slightly more when cooking smaller quantities (under a cup or so). Also, smaller amounts cook faster, in my eerience - less than a half hour.

Feminist Avatar said...

I don't even know what a rice cooker is. Seriously, that must have not made it to the UK, or we call it something else?

I sometimes heat the water in my kettle and then add it to my pot with the rice, cause it boils quicker and so cooks quicker.

recent Ph.D. said...

What everybody else said.

And also, the trick is not taking the lid off during the cooking process to check if the rice is done. For some reason, that always screws things up for me. Just trust that it'll be done when the directions say it will.

Been cooking it stovetop since my rice cooker broke about a year ago.

Anonymous said...

While I make basmati rice in a pan, I use a rice cooker for both brown and white short-grains. Love that I can set it up and forget about it while cooking other dishes.

For models, I have an inexpensive Panasonic that works fine for both brown and white, with adjustments as usual on the water for brown. Previously had a cheap and mini "National" brand model that also worked well.

J. Otto Pohl said...

I need to buy a rice cooker. But, I keep putting it off because I can buy already cooked rice cheap here. Last time I went to look at the Mall the store with kitchen appliances only had rice cookers made by Logik. Given that my Logik kettle last only a couple of months I am going to look for another brand.

Psycgirl said...

I hate making rice in a pot - kudos to everyone who can actually do that. When my last rice cooker died, I bought a Black & Decker food steamer, which comes with a basket to make rice. I lOVE IT, and I can steam other things too.

Lucky Jane said...

Rice cooker fan here. My cheapass three-cup Panasonic with no settings other than on/off has been going strong for almost twenty years, when I bought it on a lark to add to the illegal appliances I was keeping in my dorm room.

It's been rather hot here, so I haven't eaten hot grains in months, but in the winter I use this pot regularly to make steel-cut oats for breakfast, as well as quinoa, farro, and brown rice for other meals, and when I'm particularly busy, I steam vegetables directly on top of the grains. Indeed, I don't buy white rice, though basmati cooked in a rice cooker with a cinnamon stick, a handful of gently busted cardamom pods, and some cloves is as lovely as you'd imagine it is.

Some year back Roger Ebert wrote a rather celebrated post on his blog professing the wonders of "the pot and how to use it," which he expanded (somewhat) into a book last year.

Anyway, I believe my initial investment in the pot was $8 at a Walgreens in my sleepy college town.