Friday, August 6, 2010

Thoughts on the Rice Cooker

by Frugal Son

The beauty of the rice cooker is its elegant simplicity; but even so, for the “uninitiated” the first steps on the road to becoming a rice cooker king or queen are, of course, understanding how it works and learning how to use it. After you’ve bought your first rice cooker, or better yet fished out the unused one from your parents’ kitchen, take a look at it. Quite simple, right? Your rice cooker consists of two basic parts: the receptacle—which has the cord, cook / warm switch, heating element etc.—and the pot—which is where you’ll be doing all the cooking. Once you’ve plugged in the rice cooker and flipped the switch to “cook,” the electric element will begin heating the cooking pot and whatever ingredients are inside. One of the greatest features of rice cookers is their “auto-off” or “auto-warm” feature that will keep you from burning your food and, more importantly, setting fire to your room! Once the temperature of the cooking pot begins to heat up much hotter than the boiling point of water (212 degrees F or 100 degrees C), a thermostat trips the switch to “off” or “warm,” which will stop or reduce the amount of electricity flowing to the heating element. There is also a spring-loaded sensor in the base of the rice cooker receptacle, which will trip the off / warm switch if the cooking pot is removed. For this reason, rice cookers are very forgiving to the debutant cooker and perfect for those who are particularly prone to distraction or forgetfulness.

Now that you understand what’s going on electronically, it’s time to get down to the more edible aspects. A rice cooker is, as the name implies, primarily intended for cooking rice. Simply add one unit rice (cups, pounds, bowlfuls, whatever you want), two units water, and a bit of salt. Then put on the top, plug in the machine, flip the switch to cook, and come back in about 30 minutes for perfectly cooked, steaming rice. It really is that simple! All of the recipes in this book will follow this same basic technique. Rice cooker cooking is inherently simple because of the limitations of the machine: only one button to press! For some of our recipes you may need to check back to flip the switch to cook again but other than that, no special skills required.

This is the one we use


  1. I'm nowhere near college age, but I'll be following your blog because I love the idea of rice-cooker cooking.

    I am a minimalist at heart and I don't cook much. I've gotten rid of most of my kitchen appliances but I've kept the rice cooker. It has even earned the right to live on the countertop. :)

  2. @Ms M--I LOVE the rice cooker too. Thanks for reading and feel free to share your tips and ideas. I'm a newbie at this myself.