I had been contemplating buying a rice cooker for a while and researched many different units available. Here I’ll tell you what I ended up getting, how I’m using it, and why I love it.
Keep It Simple
I researched for a long time and there is a huge range of rice cookers available. My first stop was to our local large Asian supermarket. I was totally surprised to find way too many choices and most of them very expensive. Most of the models were over $100 and I really didn’t know what the difference was.
I finally decided to keep it simple and purchased this Aroma 4-cup Rice Cooker for under $30. It couldn’t be easier as it has a single button that works like a toaster – push it down and the unit automatically pops the button up when it is done cooking the rice. I wanted to get something so I could get started cooking more rice and get into the habit of feeding my family more rice in general. If I find that this isn’t full-featured enough, then I will upgrade to a more advanced model.
What ever you end up selecting, make sure you use it. I stocked up on rice trying to keep a few different varieties on hand. With the simplicity and speed of a dedicated rice cooker, there is no excuse for not using it often. Even with the bare-bones unit I selected, there still is some trial and error and it takes time to figure it out. My first few batches were dry and a little on the hard side. I figured out that if I add a little more water and/or let the rice stand in the water first it turns out better. Also, rinsing the rice first really helps get rid of the excess starchiness of the finished rice.
Then Get Fancy
After using my rice cooker for a few months, I have now started to experiment more with it. Tonight I used vegetable broth instead of water and I added zucchini and tofu right into the pot when it cooked. It turned out great and my wife even went back for seconds (which doesn’t usually happen with my rice experiments)!
I am happy that I purchased something and this unit has already exceeded my expectations. What ever rice cooker you decide to purchase, I urge you to pick something and start cooking. Eating more rice is a great way to improve your vegetarian diet and it is naturally gluten-free too.