Why Buy a Rice Cooker?
As a kid, I didn’t even know that rice cookers existed. Actually, I don’t think I’d ever even heard of them until I moved to California. (Cut me some slack; I lived a sheltered culinary existence in Campbell’s and Kraft-land.) But in California, everyone has a rice cooker. Everyone. I think they issue them at the agricultural checkpoint on I-80.
They come in all shapes, sizes and complexities. I don’t need to make rice for two dozen people, so I have a fairly basic model that has two features: delay start time, and cook.
So why do you need one? Easy: brown or wild rice.
Have you ever tried to cook non-white rice? That stuff takes forever. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be waiting around for upwards of an hour for my rice to cook when the rest of my meal can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. This is why the rice cooker is perfect.
What’s the recipe for foolproof brown rice?
- 1 part rice (I prefer brown jasmine)
- 2 parts water
- Dollop of olive oil
- Pinch of salt
Set the cooker for your desired meal time and… ignore it. It’ll be ready when you get home from work.
You can follow the same system for cooking wild rice, although I tend to add a minimum of 1/2 cup more water for every two cups of cooking liquid. It seems to require that extra bit of liquid for softening the grains.
Are you a fan of stickier rice? Increase your water by 1/4 cup. Do you like your rice more al dente? Decrease by about 1/4 cup.
The Tiny Kitchen Assistant loves rice, and when prepared with the touch of oil, it seems like the brown rice is less… grainy? Whatever the reason, he never complains about the rice being something other than white, in spite of the fact that he turns up his nose at restaurant brown rice when we go out for Chinese or Thai.