A rice cooker is one of the most vital parts of your kitchen. It’s the easiest and most convenient way to cook rice without spending so much time worrying about whether or not it will get burned. But did you know that a rice cooker can do so much more than just cook rice? If you didn’t, then it’s time to learn more about this simple yet powerful kitchen appliance.
Cooking Rice Perfectly
First up is, of course, cooking rice. Now you might be thinking that you don’t need a tutorial on how to use the rice cooker to cook rice since it’s pretty simple. But that’s what you think. Believe it or not, a lot of people still do this the wrong way which results in poorly cooked rice (e.g. burnt rice). So, here is a short tutorial on how to properly use a rice cooker to make great rice.
- 1 cup of short grain white rice
- 1 ⅓ cup of water
- First, pour the white rice on the rice cooker (specifically, the bowl that comes with the rice cooker).
- Wash it with tap water to remove the excess starch that causes the rice to be sticky. Do this again after you’ve poured the first round of dirty water.
- Once you’ve washed the water twice and drained the dirty water, wipe the bottom of the rice pot using a kitchen towel until dry to touch.
- Place the bowl back in the rice cooker. Then, pour 1 ⅓ cup of water. Take note that depending on the type of rice, the ratio of rice to water will differ.
- Plug the rice cooker and press the “cook” option on it. Wait until this button goes up and moves to “warm”. This tells you that the rice is already cooked.
- To avoid having the rice stick at the bottom of the bowl, leave it warming after it is cooked. Or, you can leave the rice cooker in low heat (if there is an option) while still having the lid on. After 10-15 minutes, you can start eating the rice.
A Few Things To Remember
It’s important to know that there are different ways of cooking rice in a rice cooker in much the same way that there are different ways of cooking rice itself. There are also different ratios of rice to water. So, before you start cooking, it’s best to consider the following:
- The Kind of Rice – The amount of water that you need will vary based on the kind of rice you are dealing with. For example, the ratio for short grain rice is often 1 cup of rice is to 1 ½ – 1 ⅓ cup of water. On the other hand, if you are cooking long grain rice or multi-grains (could be brown rice, black rice, or a mix of different rice types), the ratio will be 1 cup of rice is to at least 1 ¾ of water. For best results, follow the ratio suggested in the packaging.
- The Type of Rice Cooker – Different rice cookers have different methods of usage. It is advisable that you consult with the rice cooker’s manual first before you cook the rice. Some brands enumerate the kinds of rice you can cook and show specific instructions to cook them perfectly.
- The Quality of Rice – The quality of rice refers to it being wet or dry. People from different cultures have different preferences and have different views as to what “perfect” rice really is.
Different Kinds of Rice
You know now that the ratio of rice and water differs depending on the kind of rice you are cooking. To help you decipher these ratios, here are some rice types and their notable differences from each other.
White Basmati Rice
White Basmati rice has long grains. When you cook it, the rice only looks a little fatter than their grain counterparts. Just by looking at basmati rice, you will know that it has a nutty flavor to it. However, while it is being cooked, it will produce a flowery aroma.
White Jasmine Rice
Jasmine rice is famous in Asian countries. Popularly known as Thai fragrant rice, this type of rice has a subtle flowery scent to it when it is cooked. However, it doesn’t exactly smell like Jasmine the same way teabags do. It has long grains like the basmati rice, but it is a lot softer. The trick in cooking Jasmine rice is to keep it warm in the rice cooker to avoid it sticking on the pot.
Wild rice originated in North America and it is unlike the other rice types because of its origin. Wild rice came from aquatic grass and this is why it has a dark color to it. When cooked, wild rice looks long and it doesn’t have the soft and fluffy look that white rice usually has. Instead, it looks as if they were elongated peanuts.
According to nutritionists and doctors, black rice is the healthiest of all the rice types. They say that the darker the color of the rice, the more nutrients will be found in them. The texture of black rice is also harder because it is rich in fiber.
Glutinous rice is a kind of whole grain rice which is black in appearance. When the rice is cooking, the rice slowly turns into a dark purple color. Compared to the short grain rice, glutinous rice takes longer to cook.
Sushi rice, also known as Japanese rice, is a staple in Japanese culture. It is used with sushi (hence the name) and it can also be paired with other viands.
Having an idea of what different kinds of rice there are will help you determine how to adjust the water ratio and the settings of the rice cooker itself. Again, the instructions might not produce the result you want especially if your definition of perfect rice is different. But the good thing about this is that you can adjust the water depending on how dry or sticky you want your rice to be. Nonetheless, to be able to cook rice, you only need the basics – rice, water, the right ratio, and a rice cooker.