Hyper rice cooker help
January 3, 2011 6:34 PM   Subscribe

I got a rice cooker, and was looking forward to cooking lots of interesting rice-based dishes in it. All the recipes I've found online, however, say things like "Cook for 40 minutes" or "Add chicken 15 minutes before the end of cooking". My rice cooker, however, manages to cook a serve of rice in about 10 minutes flat. How do I use this apparently turbo rice cooker to cook these sorts of recipes? The rice cooker has a "risotto" setting that obviously takes longer, but I'm worried that will ruin ordinary jasmine rice.
posted by Jimbob to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Well Roger Ebert just put this book out.

We cook jasmine rice all the time in our ancient rice cooker with no ill results.
posted by Max Power at 6:40 PM on January 3, 2011

Can you include any info about your rice cooker? Does it have different settings for white rice and brown rice and so on? Some rice cookers do, others (like mine) seem to just cook until the water's all gone and then you have to control by adding more/less liquid.

The recipe you linked seems really straightforward, because all the ingredients go in at once. I'd give it a try in your rice cooker just the normal way, and then cut open the chicken to make sure it's cooked through (or use smaller pieces to be sure).
posted by Lady Li at 6:44 PM on January 3, 2011

What kind of rice cooker is it? Quite honestly, if you have the time you should try to cook rice over a longer period of time as it will taste better.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:47 PM on January 3, 2011

Most rice cookers remain hot for a while after they finish cooking the rice, so sometimes you can just let it go. But 40 minutes is too long. I have a really cheap rice cooker and it finishes cooking rice in about 15 minutes.
posted by twblalock at 6:54 PM on January 3, 2011

It's rice. It's the cheapest possible foodstuff. This means you're in a primo situation for the "try it" theory of cooking. Try a basic recipe; if the rice is overcooked, just spoon the meat out and cook up some new rice to serve along side.
posted by samthemander at 7:24 PM on January 3, 2011

Response by poster: It's a Breville and it has exactly 3 settings; sauté, risotto and rice, with the instructions simply saying to run brown rice for 2 cycles. I will give it a try, but when you're steaming chicken, 10 minutes just doesn't feel long enough.
posted by Jimbob at 7:28 PM on January 3, 2011

I'd also go for "just try it", but my rice cooker turns itself off on the basis of mass, not time, turning itself off when 'enough' water has been steamed off (quotes included to indicate accuracy of my shitty rice cooker).

So, 1) give that recipe a bash, and see if the difference in ingredients makes the cooker stay on longer, and 2) just keep hitting the 'start' button.
posted by pompomtom at 7:44 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

The length of time rice takes to cook also depends on how much rice you're cooking. If you're cooking up a single serve, it probably only should take ten minutes, unless you can eat more rice in one sitting than anyone I know.

Just add the chicken in when the water level has receded below the rice level.
posted by Xany at 8:22 PM on January 3, 2011

If you are worried about the chicken not being cooked, just pre cook it in the microwave or, preferably, the stove top.
posted by ShootTheMoon at 8:24 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jimbob, another factor would be how MUCH rice it's cooking. White rice in ten minutes can't be more than a cup or cup and a half, is it? I can't visualize how it would work...

And, in general, all the recipes you'll find online are good for pretty much ingredients and REALLY rough guesstimates on timing. There are no "standards," as there are for ranges and ovens, so things like "high" and "low" are all but meaningless. Try including the maker of your rice machine in your recipe search.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 8:48 PM on January 3, 2011

Response by poster: Right I'm about to throw this piece of crap out the window. I've been using it for the last week and it's been fine. But today, it switches from "Rice" to "Warm" setting after two minutes of operation, and won't let me switch back to "Rice" unless I turn it off and let it cool down for 5 minutes. Which isn't conducive to making rice. Maybe it's just a dud.
posted by Jimbob at 11:18 PM on January 3, 2011

I have a book called Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook which caters for every type of rice cooker.

I personally tossed one similar to yours and went for a super fancy one that does everything from soup to Congree. It was so worth it.
posted by wingless_angel at 1:39 AM on January 4, 2011

Yeah, dump the Breville. Get the Cadillac (you know I mean Lexus) of rice cookers from Japan like the zOjirushi micom or for $40 get an Aroma at Costco that works like a charm with multiple settings. There is a huge thread about rice cookers from a few weeks ago o check it out for recommendations.
posted by jadepearl at 6:20 AM on January 4, 2011

FYI... To do risotto, you will need arborio or similar type of rice. I doubt a "Risotto" setting on the cooker will do anything by itself.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 10:24 AM on January 4, 2011

My general understanding of how basic (non-computerized) electric rice cookers work is that they are temperature-controlled. Basically they will be 'on' once the switch is thrown, until the internal temperature goes up above 100C/212F by some amount, meaning that the liquid water has been boiled off. (Or maybe they just get close to 100C ... I haven't ever measured mine.)

But you should be able to extend the cooking time by adding more water for the same amount of rice. Of course, this may make the rice soggy or otherwise overcooked, but it ought to keep the heat on longer as the water boils off.

The higher-end computer-controlled cookers do some sort of time+temperature based cooking, seemingly cooking at one power level until a certain temperature is reached, then adjusting the temperature downwards and simmering for a while. I haven't quite figured out the rules that mine uses.

If you're in the market for a new one, I'd recommend the $30 "Aroma" brand one from Costco. I got one recently, based on a plethora of great online reviews, and although I haven't used it that much (planning to tonight!) it has worked well so far. It's designed not just for rice but also other rice-cooker and even some slow-cooker recipes.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:38 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I sort of am still in the market, because the one I have was obtained through credit card loyalty points...I like what it does, it just doesn't do it particularly well, it seems.
posted by Jimbob at 7:38 PM on January 5, 2011

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