Pros: Makes delicious rice. Incredibly easy.
Properly cooked rice is magic trick that fools me every time. Despite much culinary effort, enthusiasm and derring-do I've actively avoided rice. I have never been able to consistently find the fine line between the soupy and the burnt, not to mention the inevitable boiling over. Even Rice-a-Roni still gives me chills. This all changed with the arrival of my Aroma Rice Cooker. This outrageously simple device has made fantastic rice possible even for a former oryzaphobe (I've invented a new word!) like me.
The Aroma Rice Cooker consists of six features:
--an outer base that contains the heating element
--an non-stick inner pot that holds the rice
--a clear lid with a small hole to allow for the release of steam
--a plastic measuring cup
--a plastic rice spoon that won't scratch the inner pot
--a metal vegetable steamer that sits on top of the inner pot (not used by this reviewer)
The cooker comes with a handy instruction manual that includes all the usual warnings and provides easy to follow instructions in both English and Spanish.
How do you make perfect rice?
--decide how much cooked rice you need, the confusingly named "7 cup" cooker can make up to 14 cups of cooked rice at a time
--consult the Rice/Water Measurement Chart on page seven of the instruction manual
--measure the indicated amount of uncooked rice (usually half of the cooked amount) into the inner pot, using the special plastic measuring cup (important - this is not an exact cup)
--spend a few minutes rinsing the rice under cold water until the drained water runs clear
--allow the rice to soak in cold water in the inner pot for thirty minutes
--drain the soak water and fill the inner pot to the line designated on the chart
--place the pot into the cooker base
--place the lid on the pot; don't remove until you are ready to serve
--plug in the base, watch for dangerous cord placement
--use one finger to press the cook button on the base, watch the indicator light change from warm to cook
--wait and watch for 20-30 minutes until the indicator light changes back to warm
--your rice is done, allow the rice to stay covered for five to ten minutes after it is finished cooking
--serve delicious rice whenever the rest of your meal is ready
The pot, lid, measuring cup and spoon should be washed in warm soapy water. None of the pieces are dishwasher safe. The base can be wiped clean with a damp cloth if necessary. The pot has been easy to clean, even if the left-over rice has been sitting in the base on warm all evening.
My first few attempts with the Aroma Rice Cooker were not fully successful and turned out rather soupy. I think maybe I was reading the chart wrong. My other theory is that the cooker works best for jasmine rice as I've never gone wrong since switching to jasmine. Given my underlying phobia issues, I've been afraid to go back to basmati or any other variety. I've been thrilled that the rice is always cooked just right and stays warm and fresh tasting for hours. The rice cooker achieves a perfect degree of stickiness that may be impossible on the stove top. All of the familiar pitfalls due to variability of cooking temperature and cooking time are magically eliminated and nothing could be simpler than the push of a single button.
"So simple a baby panda could do it."
The Aroma Rice Cooker has allowed me to expand my previously rice deficient culinary repertoire with its incredible simplicity and is well worth the price at $30-35 on-line. The quality of the rice produced is sensational and I would challenge any chef to try and achieve such perfectly moist, sticky and flavorful rice with the old pot and a stove top technique. I also have more free time now that I no longer have to attend my weekly "Oryzaphobe Support Group" meetings.