Why I'll Always Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker
And why you should too!
I grew up in a rice cooker household. Almost every meal growing up included rice. Sure, we did A LOT of takeout, had pizza nights on Fridays and cooked plenty of pasta — but rice was the food that made it to our plates most often. Before dinner my parents would measure out how much rice they wanted to cook that night, pour it in the rice cooker pot and hold it under the kitchen faucet until it was filled to the brim with water. I watched as my dad washed the rice with his own hands until the water was crystal clear (that meant that the rice was clean) and refilled the pot with fresh water.
Back then, our rice cooker only had one, single button: the one that started the cooking process. The aroma of the cooked grain would fill my house almost every night, making us hungrier (and hungrier) by the second. I remember hearing the tinkering of the lid as the rice cooked and the steam blowing up from the top of the cooker as if to signal that the rice was almost ready. I would wait eagerly to hear the click of the one button on the rice cooker because that meant the rice was done.
We’ve since upgraded our simple rice cooker to a higher-tech one — with all the fancy bells and whistles (and multiple buttons and functions) but the process is still the same. Even when I went away to college and lived off-campus in my first apartment, my rice cooker, of course, went along with me. My roommates constantly asked if they could borrow it because it was so easy to pop the rice in and let it cook on its own while doing other things like homework or laundry.
When my boyfriend and I moved in together, the rice cooker came along too. It was his first time using one and I’ll never forget how amazed he was by the results. Perfect rice (not too dry and not too moist) and he never even had to watch it!
The rice cooker is an additional kitchen appliance but it’s one worth having. Whether you’re cooking white or brown rice (or any other type you’re craving) it will come out perfectly delicious — and you’ll barely lift a finger. Having one means you can multitask, checking household chores and other cooking projects off your list, without worrying about watching (or burning!) the rice.
While you never have to worry about burnt rice again — you also don't have to sweat over the cook process. Most rice cookers come with their own measuring cup and markings in the inner pot to show you how much rice and water you need to add for the ratio you're cooking. Although different types of rice determine how long the cook time will be (commonly 20 to 30 minutes), your rice cooker will be able to gauge when it's ready and turn off automatically, typically switching to the warm setting so your rice stays nice and hot when it's time to eat. Many rice cookers can also have the function of cooking other foods such as soups, chili, oatmeal, porridge and even jambalaya!
Better yet, there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a machine. Whether you're new to the rice cooker world, looking to update your appliance, wondering if you should go high-tech or keep it more basic — there's a rice cooker out there for you. I love using my simple Aroma rice cooker because it has custom settings to allow you to cook white and brown rice. You can also steam veggies and meats at the same time with the removeable steamer tray. When my parents upgraded they opted for the sleek Tiger rice cooker that was perfect for just the two of them but included various of cool functions. Not only are there 10 cooking menu settings for a varity of different rices but also comes with its own cooking plate so your main dish can cook along with it and have it synchronize so it's done cooking at the same time. For the ultimate rice cooker experience try the new Zojirushi with multiple settings for guaranteed flufflier rice. It even sings when it's turned on and when the rice is ready. It's gauranteed to make perfect rice every single time.