How To Use a Rice Cooker – An Ultimate Guide
If you have started managing your diet on health and nutrition, you must have added rice in your meal by now. Rice isn’t a source of carbohydrate only. It can provide a considerable amount of protein, fat, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium and many more.
However, many struggles to cook rice correctly. The process of cooking rice is simple, yet it becomes complex for the demand for constant attention and the wrong use of rice to water ratio. In a scenario like this, using a rice cooker is the best solution.
If you are having trouble to cook rice properly, we are here to help you know how to use a rice cooker.
The solution to add nutrition
A rice cooker will both save you time and trouble in the kitchen. You don’t have to continually check the cooking pot/pan and worry about any spillage. Nor will you have to deal with burnt rice and clean them from the bottom of your cooking pot. Before you start to use a rice cooker, it’s necessary to understand this gadget.
- It brings the liquid that was with the rice to a boil fast. This works with a sealed environment which lowers the air pressure over the water. That’s why the water boils quicker.
- There is a temperature sensor inside the machine that keeps track of the heat within this appliance. Whenever this temperature begins to increase over 212 Fahrenheit(this is water’s boiling point), the rice finishes absorbing all the liquid/water. Then, it switches to the warm setting on its own.
- Remember to read the instruction manual that comes with the appliance. Following your rice cooker instructions will help you to get the best results. Besides, every brand comes with its own manual that is applicable for their own appliances.
- Check the appliance for any dents or damages. Even if you just bought a new one, defects can occur during packaging and shipping.
Don’t ignore the fantastic varieties of rice
There are different types of rice, and all of them have their own textures. That’s why you will get different results after cooking them into your pot.
- The rice named short grain rice (like Arborio rice) and sticky rice that is used in Asian delicacies contain lots of starch. It is very branched and inclines to stick together. That’s why these types of rice are always stickier and much less fluffy than the other types.
- The kind named as the long grain rice always turns out as fluffy while cooked correctly. It doesn’t stick together because of the presence of amylose (a long, straight starch molecule). This molecule stays separate while the rice is cooked.
- Another type of rice is medium grain rice. When cooked correctly, it becomes fluffy with a little stickier in texture. It is because of the same amount of amylopectin and amylose is present in it.
- There are other varieties such as basmati rice, parboiled rice, white rice, and brown rice. Brown basmati rice is known for having a nutty flavor, and its texture is firmer than the white rice. Parboiled rice is less sticky and more sturdy than the other types. While brown rice has a chewy texture with a little nutty flavor, white rice carries a milder flavor with soft surface.
Before you learn how to make rice in a rice cooker, choose which type of rice you want to cook. Select the rice according to your taste or your nutritional preferences. It will make following the rice cooker directions much easier as some varieties require to be cooked differently.
Keep calm and start your prepping
Before you start the whole cooking process, check out the products that came with your rice pot. A rice boiler usually comes with measuring cups, and sometimes provides a spoon to serve the rice.
Rinse your rice as needed
Many expert users of this choose to wash their rice thoroughly before putting it in the pot. So, do you need to clean your rice too?
- One reason to rinse the rice before cooking is to make sure there are no pesticides, contaminants, or herbicides left in it.
- Another reason is to get rid of the extra starch from the rice. Some milling practices cause the grains to break, and broken grain lets out excess starch that will cause the rice to clump together. Washing your rice will give it a consistent, good texture and stop your rice cooking from overcooking.
- In addition to cleaning your rice, always check the packaging that it came in. Some specific type of rice is enriched with minerals and vitamins. Washing the rice will remove them. For instance, the white rice that is sold in the USA is required by law to have niacin, folic acid and powdered iron with it. In case you are using white rice, avoid rinsing it.
How to rinse the rice
If you want to wash your rice, then follow these easy steps.
- Take the rice into the cooking bowl. Then hold it under your faucet and stir while adding the water. Keep doing it until all the rice is fully immersed in the water.
- Tip the bowl slightly to drain the water and use your hand to catch the fallen grains. You can also use a sieve.
- Give your rice multiple rinses if the water has dirt or broken parts of rice floating on it. The water has to look comparably clear to be suitable for cooking.
- In case you are dealing with a non-stick rice cooker bowl, wash and drain your rice in a colander before cooking. Replacing a non-stick cooker bowl will be costly.
You can soak the rice for a minimum of 30 minutes before cooking it in the device. Doing so will cut down the cooking time. You can also adopt this process if you want to eat stickier rice. You can use the water used for soaking to cook the rice too.
Add spices or oil to flavor up your rice. Plain rice can be quite plain as a dish. So, choose what you want to add (such as a tiny amount of salt, butter/oil/clarified butter or ghee, a bay leaf, or some cardamom seeds) and throw them in the water before turning on your pot. This way, the rice will take in the flavor while cooking.
Concerning the cooking time
The time required to cook your rice depends on the type of rice. Rice to water ratio varies because different kind of rice needs a various amount of water. Generally, a large quantity of rice cooks in the boiler in 25-35 minutes. Moreover, it turns off or switches to warm mode as soon as the cooking is finished.
Concerning the amount of water
The most important part of cooking rice in the rice pot is to add the correct measurement of water according to your rice.
- Generally, cold water is alright for rice cooker cooking.
- Graduated marks or scale are commonly added inside the bowl. It indicates the amount of both water and rice according to your requirement.
For your better understanding, we have created the following list. Just remember that you can adjust these amounts according to your preferred texture of the rice.
- If you are cooking white and long grain rice, one cup of rice will require 1 ¾ cups of water.
- In case you are cooking medium grain white rice, put one cup of rice with 1 ¼ cups of water.
- To cook short grain white rice, one cup of rice needs 1 ¼ cups of water.
- For long grain brown rice, one cup of rice needs to be added with 2 ¼ cups of water.
- If you choose to cook parboiled rice, one cup of rice requires 2 cups of water.
- If you like Basmati or Jasmine rice, add 1 ½ cups of water for one cup of rice. You can use 1 cup of water if you have rinsed the rice beforehand.
- In case you prefer to cook quinoa in your appliance, only add 2 cups of water for one cup of quinoa.
Professional series rice cooker instructions
After the preparations, it’s time to turn the appliance on.
- First, take the removable cooking pot out and put the rice and water in. Use a plastic or wooden spoon (steel spoons might leave a mark on the cooking pot) to shift the rice grains stuck around the rice pot to get back in the water. Rice that is left on the surface of the cooking pot will burn while cooking. In case you have water or rice over the edge, take a cloth and wipe the outside of the cooking pot. Then, place the cooking pot back in its place.
- Do not stir the rice that is already under the water of the pot. It will cause extra starch to be released, and your rice will be stickier than expected.
- Close the cover of the device and plug it in. After that just press the button to turn the cooker on.
- After the cooking is done, the switch will click, and the device will automatically turn off. Most models have the option of keeping your rice warm without burning it and to stop the warming, you have to unplug the appliance. Check the instruction manual to know how warming settings work in your device.
- Do not lift the cover of your rice pot during the cooking. It will allow the steam to escape. The steam is essential for the cooking process so as a result, this might mess up the cooking time.
- After the cooking is done, use a fork or a spoon to stir the rice. It will release the steam and separate the clumps.
- Serve your rice and enjoy your meal. You can enjoy it as it is or eat it as a side dish. Cooked rice also serves as a useful ingredient for other recipes.
If your cooker has advanced options than you must check them out. Some rice cookers have different options for white or brown rice. Some even have the settings to adjust the cooking time as necessary. While a rice cooking boiler with basic settings can work properly, it’s good to know the extra options if you have them.
For unexpected troubles
New users can go through different unforeseen complications while cooking with a rice boiler device. Therefore, we have arranged the following guide to help you fix your problem.
- If your rice ended up being mushy, use less water next time. Per one cup of rice, use a ½ cup -¼ cup less water. This way, the rice will have less water to absorb than before.
- In case your rice turns out as undercooked, move it to a pan and add a ¼ cup of water to it. Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes.
- Do not try to cook the undercooked rice in your rice cooker. It might cause your rice to burn, or it might not even turn on for a little amount of water. Just add some extra water (¼-½ cup per one cup of rice) next time into the device before cooking.
- While in the warming mode, rice usually doesn’t get burnt. If your rice is getting burnt, just remove the cooked rice as soon as the cooking is done.
- To reduce food wastage, use the overcooked rice into some other recipe. If your rice has turned out mushy, make it into a sweet dessert. You can also combine the soft rice into soup, homemade meatballs, and baby food. Fry it to turn the rice into crispy treats.
- Do not include sugary ingredients in the rice cooker. It will burn while cooking.
- Altitude can influence your cooking. In case your kitchen is at 3000 feet or above, your rice might stay undercooked. If you face this problem, just add an extra ¼-½ cup of water per cup of rice.
- In case there is water left in the pot after the cooking, most likely the model is damaged. You need to replace it. For the cooked rice, directly heat it up in a pan to dry up the water.
- Contact the manufacturer if you can’t find the necessary information in the instruction manual.
Cooking perfect rice in a rice cooker is easy. You just have to master this kitchen appliance for your own advantage. With practice, you’ll learn how to use a rice cooker in no time, and it will become your most useful companion in the kitchen.