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How To Choose Electric Rice Cookers

Updated on December 24, 2010

Why Use A Rice Cooker?

Electric or Electronic rice cookers today are a real modern convenience. Not only can it cook rice but it also has multi-functional uses so you can cook oatmeal and slow cooked beef stew in one pot. Currently there are many models of rice cookers and in this hub you will get a general idea of what's out in the market today as well as answers to everyday ordinary questions such as "How do I cook rice?". But you will soon find out that soon someday that question will become moot as electronic rice cookers today do all of the guesswork for you.

Rice is a staple diet not only for people living in Asian households today. With rice being relatively affordable almost every family living in Western countries are eating rice on a daily basis as part of their diets.

Whether you prefer white rice or brown rice, long grain or short grain, an electronic rice cooker simplifies the process of preparing this ubiquitous yet essential grain.

Rice is very easy to mess up when you are cooking it traditionally in a pot. And once it is cooked incorrectly there really is no way to easily remedy the problem. Especially since it takes some time to prepare.

So how can you cook rice properly?

By using an electronic rice cooker. With an electronic rice cooker you can basically set it and forget it. You do not have to worry about burning rice, not unless there is a malfunction. With a properly working electronic rice cooker you will never have to worry about ruining your rice ever again.

Today electronic rice cookers are smart. It has the ability to adjust the temperature with sensors that detect and calculate how much heat. Then it will carefully calculate and optimize the time and temperature for perfect rice. Now if only we could teach it to take out the trash. Then the heat radiates throughout the entire rice pan, not just the bottom. This ensures evenly cooked rice.

Some electronic rice cookers are so smart that even when you accidentaly add the wrong amount of rice or water, the unit will compensate the cooking time and amount of heat used.

The Benefits Of Using Electronic Rice Cookers

Rice cookers have really changed over the years. Though the basic principles remain the same. However some models of electronic rice cookers are more intelligent than others and are able to multi task. And of course the more it can do the more it will cost.

Regardless of all the different models of electronic rice cookers, it all boils down to one thing. Cooking rice as perfectly and as easily as possible for you and your family and friends.

Electronic rice cookers are easier to clean compared to the tradtional method of pan rice cooking. And the best thing of all is you never have to worry about burning your rice ever again.

Most folks plan dinner these days and just like a coffee machine newer model rice cookers have automated timers, set to turn on at anytime of the day. And once it's finished cooking you can rest assure that your rice will keep warm until you and your family are ready to eat.

ZOJIRUSHI NS-LAC05 Micom Stylish Rice Cooker & Warmer

5 Tips For Buying An Electronic Rice Cooker

  1. Budget

    The prices of electronic rice cookers can range anywhere from $15 up to $300. Don't choose one that is too cheap for obvious reason. And don't buy a model with all the bells and whistles if you know don't need it. Your rice will be cooked just right even with a budget rice cooker.

  2. Capacity

    Figure out how much rice you will be cooking most of the time. Rice cookers work best at their intended capacity. So if you're a college student cooking for you and a roommate then go ahead and choose a 3 Cup rice cooker and not a 10 Cup monster.

  3. Maintenance

    Cleaning your rice cooker will prolong the life of your unit. Rice cooker units come with removable pots that are made of aluminum or stainless steel. The more expensive models come with non-stick coating. Rice sitting too long in a pot will become hardened and not so easy to remove the next day.

  4. Extra Functions

    Everyone likes bells and whistles and the more the better for our home products. Electronic rice cookers have timers, settings for warming rice and even settings for cooking different grains of rice. Rice cooker units have come a long way and the more expensive models have made rice cooking much brainless.

  5. Multi-Tasking

    I strongly believe in buying products that are able to multi-task. Most rice cookers of differing budgets allow you to cook other foods besides rice. So you can make crock pot style meals like beef stews and soups. This will also save space in your kitchen.

8 Rice Cooking Tips

  1. Use fresh quality rice only. Don't bother with the Uncle Ben's. If you don't know which ones to choose I suggest making a visit to your nearest Asian supermarket or regular supermarket. Just look at what brands of rice are selling the most. If you need help just go ahead and ask an employee and I'm sure they'll be able to help you out.
  2. Measure your rice and dump it into the rice pot. All models of rice cookers should have a metal pot that is removable from the unit. Now this is very important, if you use the measuring cup that came with your rice cooker make sure it has the US standards for cup. Sometimes you might find that the measuring cup that came with the rice cooker is slightly off.
  3. Fill the pot halfway with water and rinse your rice even if the package claims that it has been rinsed already. You'll know why after you've completed this step. Stir the rice several times to knock loose some dirt and such from the rice. The rice will stay down and whatever undesireable elements will usually float up. By now you will see that the water is a bit murky. You're basically seeing the starch that has leeched off the rice. Tilt the pot and pour out the water. If you have a colander with fine holes go ahead and use it. Repeat the process until the water is just a little bit clearer so don't have to overdo it. 2-3 times should be enough.
  4. Measure the water as accurately as possible. The general rule of thumb is 2 parts water, 1 part rice. Since there are many different styles of rice it is best to check the instructions. Indian style rice for example require a 1.5 water to 1 rice ratio. Brown rice requires a 2.5 water to 2 rice ratio. Use broth or stock instead of water for a creative twist on rice.
  5. Have you ever made rice that came out mushy? Then add less water; about 1.5 part water to 1 part rice. Not all electronic rice cookers are created equally. So you will have to do a little bit of experimenting with a brand new electronic rice cooker.
  6. Never lift the lid. You will let valuable steam escape and reduce your rice quality and cooking time. If you are the worry wart type and have a general mistrust for electronic home products, then get a rice cooker unit with a heavy duty glass lid so you can watch the cooking process.
  7. Once the bell goes off and your rice is cooked, do not open the lid immediately. You should let your cooked rice rest a few minutes.
  8. Finally, use a fork to sort through the rice. Doing this will maintain the integrity of your rice. Most people automatically use the plastic rice spatula that came with your unit or a wooden spoon to lift the rice up. Doing this will result in mashed rice.

Rice Cooking Video (It's not in english but you get the idea)

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    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 9 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Yes I totally agree, there are meals where its just not complete if you don't have rice =)

    • hibiscus_mel profile image

      hibiscus_mel 9 years ago from Marlton, New Jersey

      I do have a rice cooker and a slow cooker. I love cooking rice.;-) My life wont be complete without