The Best Rice Cooker Reviews 2016
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF RICE COOKERS
Rice is known to be an indispensable food for many families in various parts of the world. About 80% of the world’s population eats rice. Rice is a wonderful nutritional source, because it is abundant in carbohydrates and low in nitrogenous matter and fat. Cooking a whole grain rice on a stove or other means of cooking appliances might be a bit difficult and does require constant monitoring, stirring and a certain amount of presumption to deliver results- at times not even a good one. That’s where a rice cooker comes in. It removes the presumption and does the cooking for you in a shorter time, so you can enjoy a perfect rice with little effort on your part.
In a simple language and as the name implies, a rice cooker is an automated kitchen appliance designed to boil or steam rice evenly. It consists of a heat source, a cooking bowl with inner depth and a thermostat which measures the temperature of the cooking bowl and controls the heat. A rice cooker is designed to cook long, medium or short grain rice with little or no intervention from the cook. And this is the reason why it is regarded as a very handy appliance in the kitchen. A rice cooker ensures that there is a perfect blend of water in every grain of rice for a full flavor and highly enjoyable meal. Some rice cookers include a soak function that soaks the rice before it starts cooking for a desirable result.
The first challenge one might face in buying a rice cooker will be to decide on size, it should be big enough to meet your family’s needs. Though, raw rice will double in amount when cooked – that’s a good thing to keep in mind when deciding a rice cooker’s size. Some rice cookers are large, these are used commercially while some rice cookers are small. Generally, the small rice cookers take about 5 cups of rice is cooked in one and they are mainly for home use. Rice cookers make the process automatic, all you have to do is add rice along with the appropriate amount of water and pressing a button to turn on the cooker. If you’re not ready to serve, the rice cooker will hold your perfectly cooked rice at the appropriate temperature until you are ready. No more waiting for the rice to boil and watching the pan every minute to make sure the pot doesn’t get burnt for lack of water. No more rushing around the kitchen to perfectly time every piece of your meal. Above all these, rice cookers have series of benefits which include:
The operation of a rice cooker is quite distinct from other multipurpose cookers because it is made specifically for the purpose. During cooking, the inner cooking pan becomes the heat source utilizing both high heat and fine heat adjustments to control the cooking process. The heating method creates evenly distributed heat for perfect, sweet and fluffy rice. Induction heating improves rice cookers through the accurate temperature sensing methods and distribution of heat to include entire cooking pan in order to produce more evenly cooked rice. Rice cookers consistently cook rice perfectly, keeping the grain separate, neither undercooking nor overcooking.
Scheduled Cooking is another marvelous feature of the rice cooker. This allows you to set when the rice cooker will start cooking. You can place the amount of rice and water needed in the morning and set it to cook late afternoon. That way, when you arrive home from a long day of work, all that’s left to do is to serve the warm and perfectly cooked rice on the table. As long as you follow the instruction manual, the rice will be done perfectly every time, without having to worry about keeping the water at the right temperature. A rice cooker is convenient. You can turn it on when you are on your way out the door and have rice ready for you when you return. For the fact that the rice cooker times itself, you don’t need to be home to turn off the cooker or ensure that it hasn’t boiled over.
Cooking rice with an electric rice cooker is a time saver. With the long grain white rice, it is usually ready in about 35 minutes. But if you like brown rice, that’s where the rice cooker functions amazingly, for it saves a lot more cooking time. Since models will vary as to power and capacity, confirm rice cooking times with the product manual to ensure you are getting the proper timing of rice preparation. Though if you prefer parboiled varieties, you won’t really save time with a rice cooker and might be better off just cooking it on the stove. These appliances are designed for whole grains which usually take a longer time to cook.
Despite its name, a rice cooker is not a single-minded kitchen appliance. Sure, it is the easiest way to make perfect rice, but it’s also a convenient way to cook a wide variety of foods. Many rice cooker models today are multi-cookers. That makes this counter appliance much more versatile, cutting down on appliance clutter and giving you features such as being able to boil meat and veggies before slow cooking, or steaming veggies above your rice, which boosts (rice) flavor while keeping all the nutrients in the vegetables. If you think about it, the rice cooker works similarly in principle as the slow cooker (another versatile set-and-forget-meal-making appliance). It uses moist heat over a period of time to cook food, trapping the flavors in the pot. Some rice cookers even have a “slow cook” setting, which means you can potentially replace your slow cooker with a rice cooker.
When you cook rice on the stove or common cookers, there really is no good way to keep it warm if it’s not served instantly. The only option is to add a touch of water and reheat the rice, which works but which can result in overdone rice. Most rice cookers have a warming feature that keeps the rice heated without adding more water. More advanced models can keep the rice warm for several hours at a time, which greatly improves flexibility in terms of how you prepare your rice meal. But despite the fact that rice cookers keep the rice warm, they sometimes dry out the rice, especially if the warm feature is kept on for a long period. This makes the rice less appealing and can change the consistency of a rice dish. This is less of an issue for some dishes, such as soup, because such dishes will rehydrate the rice.
The Best Rice Cooker Reviews 2016 / Size variation
Usually, rice cooker come in measurements that can be classed as “small”, “normal” and also “gigantic.” The small rice cooker is good enough for couples. Rice prepared from this size of the cooker can feed 2 individuals conveniently. It’s got all the fundamental functions. The normal size comes with a 5 or 5.5-cup capacity. Though, these cups are generally Japanese grain cups, not an American tumbler. You will receive one of these measuring cups with your small rice cooker. A family of four or a few people will probably be well supported by one of these simple cookers. Additionally, you will be able to cook other dishes too, such as oatmeal (which may be programmed around the evening before) or brown rice, sushi rice etc. The gigantic cooker can take 10 cups of rice, which is enough rice for something like 20 people, in case you were wondering. This kind of size is highly recommended for those who entertain a lot and, most significantly, who are already used to a rice cooker. So the main challenge is getting the size that can really serve you and your family conveniently without cooking twice. Determining what size cooker to buy poses problems.
Rice cookers are surprisingly affordable with most models selling for less price. If you plan on using your rice cooker regularly, it’s definitely worth spending a little more as the Prices are influenced by capacity, cooking technology and additional cooking functions and technologies that incorporate weight with moisture content, to deliver perfect rice each time. Other fairly expensive rice cookers are sophisticated with easy-to-use, programmable setting on them which allows you to cook all sorts of grains, from white rice to brown rice, wild rice, polenta and oatmeal.
No Guess Measurements
The main benefit of a rice cooker is removing the presumption associated with cooking rice, but it also tends to the cooking so you don’t have to (and could do other things). Plus they usually deliver perfect rice as there is no fear of burnt, sticky or overcooked rice.
Rice Cooker Notification
Some advanced varieties of rice cookers have inbuilt notifications for convenient use. These include Steam function with steaming tray or basket, Sauté or Simmer, Slow Cook, Whole Grain Cooking, Quick Rice Cooking Function, Delay Timer, Programmable Settings, Digital Controls, Stay-Cool Exterior, etc. All these features make rice cookers handy and easy to use. Electric rice cookers are extremely popular, but choose one with a capacity and features that meet your lifestyle and needs. They also make a very nice gift item.
The Down Side of Rice Cooker
However, like any kitchen appliance, rice cookers come with some detriments. For example, if cooking rice with rice cooker works for you, considering cabinet space and cleanup may give you pause about buying a rice cooker because it demands more space in your kitchen cabinet. A 5 1/2-cup rice cooker measures about 27 inches wide, 33 inches deep and 23 inches high, a size that might not work in a kitchen with limited cabinet space. Other disadvantages include:
- Brown rice doesn’t cook evenly in all models. With some cookers, the bottom layer of rice develops a crust, and in other models, it turns gluey instead of remaining fluffy.
- Determining what size cooker to buy poses problems. Large cookers cook single servings of rice less well than they do large batches.
- Some models of rice cookers come with ambiguous operation manual which an unexperienced user might find difficult to understand.
- At some settings, the steam venting from the top of the cooker condenses around the steaming vent and spills over onto the kitchen counter.
- Cleanup is more involved than simply washing a bowl. In addition to the bowl itself, you’ll need to wash the inner lid and steaming vent and the outer surface of the cooker if steam has condensed anywhere.
With all the above-listed advantages and the avoidable disadvantages of rice cookers, it is, therefore, difficult to see why anyone would knowingly choose the old fashioned method over the modern approach. Perhaps it is worth bearing in mind next time you are faced with a huge cauldron of overcooked rice destined for the trash, that there is an affordable modern alternative which guarantees you’ll never see such waste again.
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