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How to Use a Rice Cooker

Ningthoujam Sandhyarani May 13, 2019
When it comes to cooking boiled rice for a newbie, nothing could be easier than using a rice steamer or cooker. Learn how to use a rice cooker for cooking rice and steaming vegetables for a rewarding culinary experience.
With a rice cooker, there is no need to monitor time for cooking rice, which is so with regular rice pots. It also switches off automatically after rice has been cooked. Thus, you don't have to worry about charring rice or ruined utensils with this useful device.
And many of the rice cooker brands are provided with a feature for keeping cooked rice warm for extended hours. So, you can enjoy having warm rice during lunch and dinner.

Making Rice in a Rice Cooker

Using a rice cooker, you can cook either plain white rice or brown rice, as per your meal menu. The only thing is to add correct amounts of cold water according to the rice type. Brown rice is chewy, and requires more water than white rice.
Also, the long-grain white rice calls for more water than the medium and short-grain rice. For all rice types, avoid adding excess water, or you will get extra boiled rice. Here's a brief guide about rice cooker directions for preparing rice.
  • As you open a newly bought rice cooker, you will find a scoop and measuring cup. The amount of rice this cup can hold equals to ¾ of the standard measuring cup. Accordingly measure the quantity of rice that you want to cook in the rice steamer.
  • If the rice bowl provided is a non-stick one, prefer rinsing rice in a separate pot and add in the bowl. In case of a regular bowl, you can add rice directly for washing before cooking. Rinse rice repeatedly until you get clear water.
  • The next step is adding water. The amount of water to be used depends on which type of rice you are cooking. For short and medium-grain white rice, pour 1½ cups water for every cup of rice. Whereas long-grain rice requires 1¾ cups water per cup of rice.
  • In case you love flavored rice, add a pinch of salt, butter or vegetable oil. After this, remove rice grains from the wall of the bowl (if any) and put them in the water. Wipe the base of the rice bowl dry with a clean cloth or kitchen rag.
  • Position bowl in the rice cooker and cover it. Plug the cooker and press the button down to start cooking. After rice cooking is done (usually takes about 35 minutes), do not open the lid immediately. Rather wait for at least 10 minutes to get perfectly cooked rice.
In case you are interested in adding more fiber to the diet plan, think about using a rice cooker to cook brown rice. Easily digestible and rich in dietary fiber, you can incorporate brown rice for healthy eating.
To use a rice cooker to cook brown rice, you are expected to follow the same directions as mentioned here, except for increasing the water amount. For one cup of long grained brown rice, add 2¼ cups of water.

Steaming Vegetables in a Rice Cooker

Very often, we come across reports stating the benefits of consuming steamed vegetables, which are free of fatty ingredients. Requiring less preparation time, steaming is considered as the healthiest way to cook veggies and preserve maximum nutrients.
Also, it is the only cooking method that retains the flavor, color and texture of vegetables. The rice cooker instructions for steaming veggies are as easy as cooking rice. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to steam vegetables in a rice cooker.
  • Without removing the rice cooker pan, gently pour 4 ounces of potable water from the side. If the vegetable amount is more, consider adding 8 ounces of water in the pot. Then, place the steam basket into the cooker.
  • Place already washed vegetables of your choices into the steam basket. For increased flavor and taste, you can add seasonings or drizzle spicy sauce on top of the vegetables, or simply sprinkle pepper and salt.
  • Cover the lid and plug the rice cooker. Adjust the setting to begin cooking. As compared to cooking rice, steaming requires less time, say within 5 - 15 minutes based on the vegetable types. So, monitor the timing and unplug the cooker after the vegetables are steamed to your preferred doneness.
  • Carefully remove the basket from the cooker and transfer the steamed veggies into a large bowl. This step is important to avoid overcooking of vegetables.
As you see, a rice cooker is a dual purpose kitchen appliance for rice lovers. If you own one, you simply can't give excuses for not enjoying rice recipes and steamed veggies.
In case you are planning to buy one, first conduct a brief research on the features to look for in the best rice cooker. Using this appliance will surely help you in cooking perfect boiled rice and saving time.