Rice for the Soul
Jul 17, 2002 (Updated Jul 17, 2002)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Simple and easy to use, makes the best rice anywhere
Cons:Takes up quite a bit of room in a small kitchen
The Bottom Line: Yes, you need a rice cooker, you won't believe the difference in your rice cooked this way. Affordable, this gives excellent results.
I never believed you needed a specialty appliance to cook rice. You simply plopped it in a saucepan, added some water and butter if you prefer, and in about 20 minutes, you'll have rice. Easy, right?
Recommend this product?
Then, I had the chance to enjoy rice that had been cooked in a rice cooker. I couldn't believe the difference. Instead of starchy and kind of gluey, the rice was perfect, each grain separated, all most "al dente," with no icky starch buildup. It was delicious, and I was convinced. I went through two Faberware rice cookers that eventually broke, and bought this current Zojirushi because I have one of their breadbakers, and absolutely love it. So, I'm a very satisfied customer, because I love this rice cooker as well.
It comes with a small instruction manual, a rice paddle to stir your rice, a measuring cup, and a non-stick interior bowl that can be removed and washed in the dishwasher. You simply plug in the rice cooker, add your water, or soup stock and rice, and close the lid. Set the button for "cook," and in about 20 minutes you'll have perfect rice. Your dinner isn't ready yet? Don't worry, your rice cooker will keep the rice warm for you, until it is. Just unplug it when you're done, and you won't know how you got along without this nifty appliance!
Here's how I like to "kick up" my rice just a notch. (Sorry Emeril). Before I add the rice and stock, I spray the bottom of the cooking bowl with non-stick spray, and saute some vegetables on high heat, like chopped carrots, celery, green onions, just about anything you like. Let them saute for a few minutes, then add your liquid. I use fat-free chicken broth, because I think it adds more flavor to the rice. You can use water if you want. Then I add my rice, and any vegetables that don't need to saute, like mushrooms or broccoli. Add seasonings, like soy sauce, and fresh ground pepper, and let simmer. You'll have delicious rice, that compliments all types of food. Toss some grilled chicken on top, and you have a meal.
I also have a cookbook just for rice cookers, from Nitty Gritty cookbooks, that tells you how to make everything from appetizers to desserts in this cooker, so it's not just for rice, if you want to take it that far. They have a recipe for rice pudding that sounds wonderful.
Some things to remember. First, the measuring cup is not a standard cup, it is 3/4 of a cup, in case you need precise measuring. I use two of the measuring cups, to about two cups of broth. It depends on how "wet" you like your rice, you can always add more or less, once you've discovered what you like best. I prefer a drier rice, so I'm using a little less than two cups lately.
Don't open the lid and stir your rice after you've added all the ingredients, this can make it soggy. There is a small reservoir on the left of the machine, which holds the steam that is released during cooking. You need to empty this after each batch of rice.
Cleanup is really easy. The entire appliance is made of molded plastic, so all you have to do is wipe it with a damp cloth. The bowl, measuring cup, and paddle can all go in the dishwasher, and so can the steam reservoir, only it's kind of small, you'll probably just want to rinse it by hand. You can wipe the inside lip of the appliance with a damp cloth too, in case anything spills there.
Any cons? Well, maybe one. It's a pretty big appliance, and looks a little like the Star Wars robot R2-D2, which I something affectionately call it when I'm using it. It does take up a lot of counter space, especially in a small kitchen like I have. I store it in my pantry, and take it down when I need it. There's also a little holder on the side for the paddle. While convenient, it pops off in tight spaces. Mine now resides my dryer, and will stay there until we move, or buy a new dryer.
Other than that, there are only great things to say about this wonder. It's clear the designers knew what they were doing, it's easy to clean, kind of cute, in a large way, and also even has a long enough cord to reach across a kitchen counter, a real plus in my book. It's a great thing to have in a busy kitchen, you can turn out great rice, so quickly it will make your head spin. If you've been thinking about getting one of these appliances, don't wait, just do it!
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