Rice is considered the staple grain for more than half of the world’s population. If you eat rice daily, it’s very likely that your household has an automatic rice cooker. The most basic rice cookers heats up to a steady boil and automatically shuts off or goes into a warming cycle once the water is absorbed by the water. This feature eliminates scorched rice and makes cooking rice very simple! But if you don’t eat rice that often, you might think that getting a rice cooker is a waste of money or valuable cupboard space. Here’s great news: a rice cooker does not have to be a single-use kitchen appliance!
To begin with, cooking most grains is similar to rice. Therefore you can use your rice cooker for making oatmeal, barley, or even quinoa, which is technically a seed but cooked and eaten like grains. Imagine having your warm oatmeal breakfast without having to stir a single pot. You can take your rice cooker a step further and make chili, stew, or soup. Throw in all your favorite ingredients, starting with diced meats. Add your veggies after the first cycle. Get creative!
Rice cookers are wonderful at heating food at a constant temperature. And this means you can also make tender steaks or roast beef through a sous-vide method. From Zozanga, Sous-vide means “under vacuum” in French. Season your meat and place it inside a plastic pouch, removing as much air as you can. Then sink it into a water bath courtesy of your rice cooker and use the warming cycle to keep the temperature constant. For a browned look, just pan-sear the meat for a few seconds on each side before placing it into the pouch.
Use your rice cooker for breads and cakes. This may require several cooking cycles, so one clear downside in using a rice cooker is that your breads and cakes won’t be done for a few hours. However, this is a great way to be able to make fresh breads or cakes if you don’t have a conventional oven nearby.
Finally, think of the rice cooker as your personal prep cook. If you want to make deviled eggs for a party, create your own hummus, or top your dessert with cooked fruit, you can turn to your rice cooker for help. The rice cooker can boil several eggs at once, cook chickpeas, or poach fruit for your yummy dessert.
With the many inventive ways you can use a rice cooker, it is clear that this kitchen appliance has been misnamed. Try your hand at some rice cooker recipes and see what this unassuming kitchen appliance can do for you!