Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”*

We have an electric cooktop at this house; I am used to cooking with gas. But it really doesn't matter - I am notoriously horrible at cooking rice: I scorch it, boil it, leave it crunchy...

I just had a rice disaster. My house still reeks of scorched rice, and the only good thing that came out of the whole experience is that I know my smoke detector needs new batteries.

Do I need a rice cooker, or no? Discuss.

*Condeleezza Rice


Sarah said...

Absolutely get a rice cooker! I got one years ago when I realized that every single Asian I had ever known has one. Rice cookers make perfect rice every time, totally effortlessly.

Get a good one, not a cheapie, which will slightly scorch your rice. It'll be totally worth it.

Anonymous said...

Agreed- rice cookers are da bomb. You're cooking for six now, after all...

Jess said...

If you have room for one in your kitchen, get one. The LAST thing I need in my tiny kitchen is another one-purpose appliance, but fortunately I almost never burn my rice.

Sinda said...

YES. We're the same - we've always cooked with gas, and could rock the rice, but now we have electric. We can get everything else right on the electric, but the rice is hit or miss, and when it's miss it's horrible.

I gave my husband a rice cooker for the holidays, and it is wonderful. Do it.

tut-tut said...

Another option, which really works (for me), is to cook rice like pasta. The recipe, via Sarah Moulton:

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add rice; bring back to a boil. Boil for 17 minutes, drain well, return to pot and season with whatever: s and p, butter.

I also saw somewhere or another a big teaball thing to do essentially the same thing with, but according to the copy, the rice is really fluffy every time. But I can't put my hands on whatever catalog this was in.

blackbird said...

Everyone over at my blog is encouraging me with the steam cleaner appliance...and I still wonder if it may end up in the appliance graveyard.
I'd buy a rice cooker in a heartbeat- save for the AG theory.
Youngest adores rice and could eat it day in and day out.
BUT there's only one kind I'd buy: a Japanese one with 'fuzzy logic' and I'm pretty sure it comes with a hefty price tag. HENCE? I haven't bought one.

Katy said...

If you cook rice regularly, or would if it was easier/more fool-proof, then yes, get a rice cooker. I've only ever used the oh-so-basic ones where you put in the scoop of rice and 1.5 scoops of water or whatever the ratio is, push the button and walk away, but I don't know if they'd make enough rice for your whole family.

Most rice cookers can also be used to steam veggies and chicken, so its not totally a single-use appliance.

Anonymous said...

ZOJIRUSHI!!! (I have a much cheaper model that works great though.)

Everyone needs a rice cooker!

I grew up with electric burner cooked rice before the days of non-stick coating, and the very stern rule about cooking rice is to bring it to a boil in a pot with a heavy lid (2 parts water to 1 part rice) and once boiled, immediately turn it to simmer for 20 minutes, and not to crack the lid under any circumstances. I think brown and wild rices need less water.

Stomper Girl said...

Speaking as a fellow rice-burner I say YES!! I have a vegetable steamer thing which doubles as a rice cooker. I can do the whole meal in it - wrap some fish or chicken in foil packets, do the rice and some loose veg all at the same time, with an electric timer so it turns itself off, so you can even leave the house while it cooks.

Suse said...

Of course you need a rice cooker. Because there's still room at the back of the pantry next to the electric frypan and the juicer just behind the icecream maker and waffleiron.

pussreboots said...

We have the rice cooker / steamer that you've used in your illustration. It is WONDERFUL. Yes, you MUST get one. It does so much more than just rice.

Julia said...

The convenience more than makes up for the amount of space they consume. My kitchen is in my hallway, so truly I know culinary space limitations ;-).

My rationale? It makes an entire dish for a meal without me. Now if I could only get my drying rack to fold clothes...

KPB said...

I had a rice cooker and it died.

The + list:
you put rice and water in and it looks after itself

The - list:
bulky appliance
shit to clean
bulky appliance

Dude, here's the rule:
1 cup of rice
1.5 cups water
pinch salt
Cover and bring to boil with a simmer pad underneath it.
Reduce to a simmer.
Cook 12 minutes.
Turn off, leave sit for 10.
Perfect rice every time.

The trick?

(you can increase the amount you're cooking but the cooking time remains the same.)

Joke said...

1- I don't particularly care for rice. (TFBIM and NOS love it though.)

2- IF you end up getting a semi-dedicated appliance (it will also make polenta & oatmeal) I say get the Zojirushi. Idiotproof and flawless.

3- We got a microwave rice cooker which is a-l-m-o-s-t as idiot-proof, just as flawless, but not so hot on the oatmeal/polenta front. But only $8.

-Mr. Helpful

Kathy said...

Yes. My husband loves his rice cooker and he swore he'd never get one -- now it's all he can talk about!

Velma said...

I feel like a bit of a hypocrite saying, "Oh yes - get one!" because mine had been sitting in the basement for almost 2 years. BUT I recently cleaned it up and started using it again, and I like that I can throw all sorts of stuff in there and let it go.

Caro said...

I cook A LOT of rice. In fact there is a 25 pound bag sitting in my pantry right now.

BUT, I have a gas stove.

I also have a rice cooker hubs got me for Christmas. It also steams veggies in the top.

The plus on stove cooking for me is the rice takes about 20 minutes, five to bring to boil, fifteen to cook.

The steamer takes 45 minutes and I find I have to add a bit more water than it calls for as I like my rice well-cooked.

But if I put rice in the bottom and broccoli in top and then put my meat in the oven, it makes dinner very simple.

Since you have an electric stove, I'd reccomend buying the cooker.

Mine is the Aroma Cool Touch Rice Cooker and Food Steamer, the 10 cup model.

Sandra E said...

I use a FABULOUS stovetop rice cooker that I wouldn't be without. It's kind of like a double boiler - and you can't screw it up. Put water in the bottom, equal amounts of rice and water in the cooking part, turn it on and WALK AWAY! The pot is called a Charleston rice cooker - it used to be a standard gift for brides in SC. I got mine for about $40 - Charleston Hardware, (843) 556-0220

nutmeg said...

Goodness this post pulled the comments! Well, I just have to add my 2 cents worth! I had a series of rices cookers that I used so much I blew them all up. But between rice cookers one day my sister said just use the pyrex dish/microwave method. The what? Take one pyrex glass dish, add 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water and cook for 14 minutes (or so - adjusted to your own microwave strength - mine's a high wattage bugger so it takes less time). This is the metod I use ALL the time now. but rice cookers are still good though as they steam vegies too.