As a busy person, you can’t always be sure of the cooking process of the rice you make. Many times, it cooks too much or too little, leading to a less than desired finish result.
Rice cookers are marketed to be able to cook rice perfectly every time. Given the price and convenience factor, it’s no wonder that rice cookers are a top appliance sold. Rice cookers are available in many shapes, sizes, materials, colors, and brands.
They typically come with a pot that has a lid that slowly rises to the top of the pot when it’s done cooking. First, let’s start with the basics.
What Is Rice Cooker?
A rice cooker is a stove-top cooking appliance that cooks rice by boiling or steaming it in a pot filled with water. These units use electricity for heating the water. Rice cookers work using heat and pressure to cook rice.
They can also be used to steam vegetables, boil water, and more. A typical rice cooker has pure water in a reservoir, a thermostat, and a fan to circulate steam around the pot.
The lid is usually made of metal or glass to allow for better heat transfer. Once heated, steam rises up through small holes in the lid and passes over the heating element on its way out of the pot.
The heat source in many rice cookers is an electronic heating element that is in constant contact with moving water in a heating vessel. This causes the water to heat up and vaporize, which is carried by the steam to the food inside of the pot.
How Do Rice Cookers Work?
It’s easy to understand why you should care about a rice cooker when it can do so much for you. Rice cookers cook your food in the water, sealing the flavor inside. Now, anyone can cook their favorite foods with precision and ease.
I’m sure you have a lot of questions in your mind like how does it work and how do you know when the rice is done?
Rice Cooker 101
A typical rice cooker has three basic pieces: the inner pot, the outer pot, and the heating unit. When cooking rice in this type of cooker, moisture from water or broth is initially absorbed by the grains of cooked white or brown rice placed in the inner pot.
When heated up by either steam from boiling water or just heat from an electric heating element, this moisture turns into steam which rises into the outer pot where it condenses back into liquid form.
This liquid then falls down onto parts of the heating unit that are covered with hot metal plates where it is converted back into gas. Basically, a rice cooker has a heating unit, a steaming unit, and a pot holding the rice. The equipment also comes with a lid and timer.
Can Rice Cookers Cook Anything Else?
Sometimes in life, we just need a break and to escape from the norm. Cooking simply becomes too much and sometimes we just need to put all the ingredients in a rice cooker and let it do its work.
The results are usually quite delicious and can be enjoyed by all members of the family. So, whether you’re looking for an easy way to cook up a meal or simply want to cook something exotic, the rice cooker is your friend.
There is a lot more than just cooking rice that you can do with a versatile appliance like the Rice Cooker. Here are some other things that you can cook in your rice cooker:
- Cauliflower “Rice”
- Vegetable Biryani
- Mushroom Biriyani
- Quinoa (and other grains)
Rice cookers offer many possibilities for cooking other foods, including soups, stews, cakes, and more.
How Does A Rice Cooker Know When Rice Is Done?
There’s nothing worse than having to throw away perfectly good rice because it cooked too long and got mushy. A rice cooker that doesn’t know how to tell when rice is done is frustrating and wasteful — that can be expensive.
A rice cooker is a kitchen appliance that’s always been the standard in the kitchen, but how does it know when your rice is done? The truth is most of them don’t know. They have a built-in timer to guess the cooking time.
Rice cookers are often thought of as being a bit intimidating, with their many functions and settings. But with the right rice cooker, it can be easy to cook the perfect batch of rice every time.
Rice cookers are equipped with sensors that can tell when rice is done cooking. It can also be programmed to cook a particular type of rice, automatically adjusting the cooking time and temperature.
In order to know when rice is done cooking, there are a few ways in which it can be determined. A rice cooker usually has 3 types of sensors:
- Moisture sensor to detect when it’s time for warming mode and turns off the heater if not enough moisture is in the rice and turn on if needed.
- The temperature sensor will activate heating mode when it’s reached a certain temperature.
- The timer will switch off the heater after a certain time, even without sensing any moisture or temperature changes, which ensures that your food won’t burn.
Rice cookers will stop heating when all of the water in the pot has been absorbed by the rice and it has turned into a fluffy layer of steam. When this happens, the pressure in the cooker also goes down and there will be no more noise or heat coming out from it.
Are Rice Cookers More Water Efficient?
While the answer is not entirely straightforward, it appears that rice cookers use less water than other cooking appliances. The process of cooking rice in a pot or pan can be messy and time-consuming because water has to be constantly added to the pot.
Rice cookers employ a closed system where boiling water is added after the product has been placed inside. As it cooks, steam then rises into the lid, condensing again into liquid when it cools down before exiting through an outlet pipe at the bottom of the pot.
Rice cookers are typically about 50% cheaper than electric pressure cookers, but they aren’t recommended for all types of food preparations because they lack pressure mechanisms that are necessary for high-pressure cooking.
It’s important to know how a rice cooker works before you use one. You should know how long to cook your desired amount of grains, at what temperature you should set your pot, and what type of water will work best for cooking the perfect batch.
Did you know you could make a perfect bowl of rice in a rice cooker in just 5 minutes? And did you know that it’s easy to make perfect sushi with a rice cooker too? It certainly is an amazing piece of engineering.