Rice cookers are used to cook rice of all sizes at different levels of tenderness, according to the dishes. Since rice cookers are not purchased often in life, it is better to do some homework before you set out on the shopping mission. You can always ask your friends or neighbors and even try cooking at their homes for a hands-on idea. Browsing the net for deciding the best brand is also a good idea.
The distinct features of the rice cookers are evident from the overall structure and the price tag. Like the quote ‘the proof of the pudding is in its eating”- the proof of the rice cooker is in its cooking. You cannot judge it by just the outward appearance, as it is not a usual cooking utensil or fry pan. Dozens of special features sometimes make you apprehensive on the decision of what to prefer and whether it is worth your money in terms of cooking advantage.
Brand reputation is important, which means that if your mother used it and you loved her cooking, you should go for it. In case, there were some particular complaints from her, keep them in mind and look for a better one. Rice cookers these days are anyway much improved than before.
The best way is to look for customer reviews on famous online purchasing sites like Amazon.com, where you can get all the good and bad points about rice cookers, of any particular brand, along with price and feature comparisons. It is all laid out in black and white. Also, you can search for recipes that require different grade of tenderness, so that you know if you are doing it wrong at your end. Main dishes usually require tender to hard rice; soups can have real tender grains; while sweet dishes can suffice with almost meshed rice.
Some considerations are:
• Choose the cup-size according to eating needs; 3-cup for singles, 5-cup for couples and 10-cups for families can easily be found in the market. If you do not cook rice often, do not have enough storage and are soon to become a nuclear family, the 10-cup size is a wasted investment. Go for smaller ones. • Cooking time is important and it varies with brands. You will hear a buzzing sound as the rice is done. • Cleaning is essential, and you should choose one with removable pot for easy rinsing of the sticky leftovers. For the same reason, go for a non-sticky pot even if it costs you higher. It gets more than compensated by saving you washing time. • Tour frequently used recipes also help you in deciding. There are models with cooking times for white and brown rice. You can also add vegetables and herbs to rice in order to cook the dish in one go and save time. Meals of this sort get done easily in a 5-cup size. • For oatmeal, everything can be prepared a day earlier and the rice cooker can be programmed to make it all at lunch.
Be ready to pay higher to get all these features in an electric (auto-programmed) rice cooker, but enjoy the warming and cooking features all in one.