Kitchen Extras – RICE COOKER

black-decker-1-0-l-rice-cooker-rc-600If you find yourself cooking rice often, a rice cooker may prove to be very useful. Rice cookers are available in stovetop or electrical models. They cook rice quickly and prepare it perfectly every time. The picture to the left is similar to the one that I have. I’ve owned mine for a few years now and it’s still in great condition even after using it 2-3 times per week. I’ve cooked jasmine rice, sushi rice, wild rice, brown rice, and black rice in mine and they’ve all turned out great!

A stovetop stainless steel version should have an aluminum-encapsulated base for even heat distribution. It’s very similar to a double boiler, but has cutouts on the sides of the inner basket to allow the steam to penetrate the rice kernels. Volumes of steam cook the rice to perfection.

An electrical model couldn’t be easier to use. Just add the rice and water and turn on. Also, almost all models have an automatic “Keep Warm” function to keep the rice heated until you’re ready to serve.

Some rice cookers may come with a feature called “Fuzzy Logic.” These are the better models. “Fuzzy Logic” is a Japanese technology term for a built-in microchip that guarantees that the rice will never get overcooked. It is the only thing that separates the cheap from expensive rice cookers. It is well worth the extra money to get one with the “Fuzzy Logic” feature.

Rice cookers come in sizes from 3-cups to commercial grade. We recommend purchasing an 8- to 10-cup size. This allows you to make enough rice to eat at more than one meal. One of the leading brands in rice cookers is Zojirushi. We found the best selection and prices on Zojirushi Rice Cookers at www.asiachi.com. You can also pick one up online at www.bedbathandbeyond.com or  www.cooking.com. They range in price from around $60 to $250. Less expensive models can be found at www.target.com from $15.

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