Rice Cooker: Your Culinary BFF
The rice cooker is an appliance that tragically spends its life tucked away in the far corners of cupboards and shelves in many Western homes. Perhaps hindered by its name, the rice cooker’s full potential is rarely realized by the masses. Contrary to popular belief, rice cookers can do far more than just cook rice; these little babies are culinary wonder tools, capable of producing full course meals anywhere you can find an outlet. There’s nothing quite like a home cooked meal, and a rice cooker can make the cooking process faster, easier for both savory and sweet dishes. Read on to see why the rice cooker is your culinary BFF.
First things first, to explore the culinary options of a rice cooker, you’ll need to have a modern rice cooker, i.e., one with timer options rather than a single button. Rice cookers are easy to use because you generally don’t have to mess around with different temperature or cook settings. In addition, they are designed to keep a consistent temperature, so there is some room for error in measurements since the rice cooker will usually even out the temperature. Of course for breads, you’ll probably want to be a little more precise to avoid a mess of yeast and dough. If you don’t want to mess with yeast, you can make some super quick banana bread by mashing up a banana, adding a cup of pancake mix, 1/3 cups of sugar, a half cup of milk, an egg and a bit of butter and vanilla extract, and just pop it in the rice cooker for about 30 minutes. It really is that simple. There really aren’t many limits to the flavorings you can use, so get creative!
For more savory dishes, you can mix ground pork with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and scallions, wrap them in won ton or dumpling wraps and steam them in a bit of chicken broth. You can also make stews with pan seared pieces of meat. Just put in the liquid and seasoning of your choice and cook until it is thick enough. Unlike slow cookers, the rice cooker will not burn or overcook your food this way. For perfect steamed salmon, simply marinate and cook, perhaps over a bed of rice or vegetables if you like. And don’t forget your rice cooker can handle pastas as well – anything from boiling eggs in your rice cooker to penne to macaroni and cheese, all can be easily prepared in a rice cooker.
Whether your oven is out of commission, you are restricted by a small living space, or you just don’t want to deal with the hassle and cleanup of traditional stove top cooking, you really ought to give the rice cooker another look. As an added bonus, steamed food is a much healthier alternative to fried processed foods. And living a healthier lifestyle can help you both physically and financially; many insurance companies offer lower premiums for both medical coverage and life insurance to healthy individuals. If you haven’t given this mini wonder rice cooker a try, there’s no time like the present to start! Why not check out some of our great free recipes for the rice cooker? And, if you don’t have a rice cooker – it’s time to get one!