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So, you have just gone out and bought yourself a rice cooker, and congratulations as there’s no doubt that it can make a huge difference to producing perfectly cooked rice. However, if you thought that this device was limited to producing amazing Basmati, then you would be wrong.
So, that’s what we will explore here, and by the end, you will have a new appreciation for your rice cooker. If you want to know what can you cook in a rice cooker, then you’re in the right place because we’re here to tell you, it’s more than just rice!
Basics of a Rice Cooker
A rice cooker is a very useful kitchen appliance that can be used to either boil or steam rice. It is usually pretty compact, and it contains only a few parts.
For most models, you are looking at a bowl, which holds the rice to be cooked, a heat source, and a thermostat. However, more expensive models will have digital timers and a few other tricks up their sleeves.
To operate a rice cooker, you have to add some water and rice and then set up the rice cooker. Just a few ingredients can lead to a fantastic dish, and once you have set everything up, you do have the luxury of being able to leave it alone and let it cook away.
The key here is to balance the volume of water and the quantity of rice to be cooked. That is going to determine if you get sticky rice or rice that is fluffy. However, one of the best things is that it is very difficult to go wrong when cooking rice in this manner.
Who Will Use a Rice Cooker?
But who would want to use a rice cooker? Well, the aim here is to show that it’s not just about the rice. Anybody interested in owning a kitchen appliance capable of making various dishes in one pot should be interested.
By the time you have finished reading this, you will be in a position whereby you can look at a recipe and determine if it can be made in a rice cooker. Do note that this is different from a pressure cooker and a slow cooker, so don’t fall into that trap.
Cooking with a Rice Cooker
If you hadn’t already guessed, you could cook more in a rice cooker than just rice.
This device can be used to produce things such as ribs or chilli. You can also use it to make your breakfast. You are going to learn quickly that a rice cooker should have a different name considering it’s not limited to only different types of rice.
Let’s take a look at some of our favourites.
Making the Perfect Rice
Of course, most people go ahead and buy a rice cooker as they want to cook rice quickly and easily; it does it in about half an hour, and you can kick back and let the rice cooker do its thing. Whether you are looking for sushi rice or rice for a home curry, this cooker is not going to let you down at any point.
Making Rice Pudding
Just staying on the rice part for a little bit longer, but rice pudding is another thing you can easily make in this cooker. You only need the rice, the milk, and a few other ingredients. Mix it, and then start that timer.
The beauty of this method is that you can leave the pot alone, and as long as you have followed the recipe, you should have the perfect pudding at the end. You don’t even have to really know how to cook.
Using a Rice Cooker for Other Grains
One of the main things you can make in a rice cooker is other grains. It makes sense, as so many grains, such as quinoa, will use the same rice cooker method. You may also want to use your rice cooker for cooking barley or any other grain.
If you decide to use a rice cooker for this, then the only thing you need to be aware of is changing the quantity of water you put in the cooker in line with the quantity of the grain. Remember that white rice needs a specific amount of water or coconut milk, which needs to be altered when cooking a different grain.
Generally speaking, you will require more water for the likes of quinoa compared to rice.
Making Ribs and Other Meat
We mentioned this earlier when we spring a surprise about what you can put in a humble rice cooker, but how about cooking some meat and even getting some ribs that effectively fall off the bone?
The key here is how you can really control the time when it comes to cooking the meat. Also, it acts as a slow cooker, and anybody who has owned a slow cooker will know how amazing it can be when it comes to cooking meat.
The key is to throw in the ingredients, make sure enough liquid is in the bowl, and then set up your rice cooker to start working its magic.
Producing a Hearty One Pot Meal
Sticking with the idea of meat for a second, you can use rice cookers to produce a hearty dish that can even be a one-pot meal. Some ground chicken, vegetables, a sauce thrown in, and just start cooking. It really can be that simple, and you can also cook stews and other tasty dishes in this one single pot.
Making chocolate cake in a rice cooker is also possible, and it’s all thanks to the time and control, as mentioned earlier. With just a few ingredients, and some perseverance, you will be able to produce a chocolate cake, or almost any other cake you can imagine, in your rice cooker. There are a number of rice cooker recipes out there that will take you through this process, and it’s well worth checking it out.
Your ingredients and timings may have to be adjusted slightly for this one, but once you have perfected it, you may not want to make a cake any other way!
Poached fruit is something else that you can make in a rice cooker, which can also go well with rice pudding. You can poach a range of fresh fruit, and all you need to do is to add water and let the rice cooker do the rest. Add some cinnamon and brown sugar, and you can even have cinnamon apples, and that alone is a real delight.
If you purchase either a steaming tray or a steamer basket, you can easily cook several different vegetables in your rice cooker. Any vegetable that works well with being steamed, such as broccoli or green beans, can be added to the basket or tray. Then, you follow the simple instructions of adding in some water, which creates the steam and lets it work its magic. Making steam vegetables is easy.
Something as simple as yellow split pea dal is a good example. All you need to do is throw in the different ingredients and then use the cooker as a slow cooker before having an amazing dish.
But this can also apply to pretty much any Indian dish. You can easily cook a curry in your rice cooker if you wanted to.
If we can turn our attention to breakfast, there are a couple of options available for your rice cooker.
It’s probably not a surprise to discover that you can cook oatmeal. After all, we did mention it can cook grains, and steel-cut oats are not that different from various grains.
All you need to do with porridge is to add in the liquid and set it to the appropriate time to cook. Once it’s done, you can add some maple syrup or whatever you want to it, and you will have a nice hot breakfast courtesy of your rice cooker.
So this one is going to be another surprise, but you can cook hard-boiled eggs in your rice cooker. For this, you need to use the steamer basket or tray to get your desired end result.
Place the eggs on the basket, and add water to the rice cooker. Then, set the timer, and wait for those perfect eggs to emerge at the end.
Be warned. This method does take longer than cooking on the hob and can take up to 20 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. But it’s easy to do, and you can leave it without worrying about the water boiling over.
Making pancakes in a rice cooker is entirely possible. You need to grease the inside of your rice cooker, and then you throw in your pancake batter. All you then need to do is set the timer and let your rice cooker work away on the mix. By the end, you should have perfect pancakes on which you can put any of your favourite toppings.
We love frittatas because you really have to throw everything together and then wait for it to cook. This is why cooking them in a rice cooker is such an ingenious discovery!
Mix everything up as you would if you were cooking them normally, but instead pour your mixture into your rice cooker, set to “cook”, and then let the magic happen!
For extra flavour, saute your vegetables first!
How to Make the Most of Your Rice Cooker
There are a number of rice cooker recipes that you can follow, and while many of them will involve just rice, some are a bit more complex. The variety of rice cooker recipes goes far beyond what most people realise is possible. Each recipe has a number of different options, but remember to do your research before throwing in different ingredients.
Some recipes may require different cooking times, a smaller amount of liquid, or just a smaller quantity overall. Due to the low heat of the slow cooker, liquids will not reduce in the same way they do if you are cooking on the hob, so don’t expect your stews to thicken up.
If you are cooking things like pancakes, then make sure you oil your rice cooker well to avoid any sticky remnants ruining the base of your rice cooker.
Clean out your rice cooker after each use; whether you are cooking rice pudding or a homemade stew, you should make sure it is sparkling clean before starting your next recipe. You can use a baking powder paste to clean any stubborn stains or burnt-on food.
Not everything that can be cooked in a slow cooker can be cooked in a rice cooker. You shouldn’t assume that any recipe can be used in your rice cooker; a rice cooker often only has “cook” and “warm” functions, limiting what you can do with it.
Rice Cooker Recipes
So as you can see, there’s a whole lot more what can you cook in a rice cooker than you may have initially anticipated. Its surprising versatility may very well help you decide to go out and invest in one. They really can be an excellent item to own.
Although the name makes it seem quite limiting, it’s about time the world knew that there was so much more to rice cookers than just cooking white rice!
There’s so much more you can make in a rice cooker, so share your recipes and failures with us. We’d love to hear!