Ricey goodness! YUM
January 4, 2006 7:11 PM   Subscribe

I am looking to increase the amount of rice in my diet. I am looking for suggestions on totally awesome rice cookers, and general ricey advice!

What cooker do you all suggest?
What brand of Furikake Should I purchase? I've never had it before but read some glowing recommendations to try it.
What other things can I get to kick up the rice portion of my diet? Totally kick ass soy sauce?

Links to purchase would be awesome as I am nowhere near a asian market or any place that would sell this kind of thing.

Basically heres the scoop. I'm sick of dieting. I think I am going to supplement alot of my meals with rice with some kind of seasoning or condiment, then do like a rice with grilled chicken breast for supper to take to work or something. I would like to have alot of different tastes to keep the variety factor up. I like the idea of cooking a batch of rice in the morning and just having it for meals. It should supply some bulk to my diet and be lower fat with lots of otherwise good stuff. Not really looking for diet advice, just some background..
posted by JonnyRotten to Food & Drink (42 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
We LOVE our rice cooker: Zojrushi is an amazing brand.

Buy one. It is so nice!
posted by k8t at 7:12 PM on January 4, 2006

Check out this rice cooker cookbook too.
posted by k8t at 7:13 PM on January 4, 2006

Second zojirushi. The fuzzy logic cooker is pricey, but it makes outstanding rice. They sell them at Amazon.
posted by Caviar at 7:14 PM on January 4, 2006

Things that we do with rice (it only takes 20 minutes to make, I wouldn't let it sit all day... could get gross.)

- mix up rice and soy
- plain rice with salt and pepper is good (sea salt and black pepper ground by hand)
- mix up rice and frozen veggies
- feed it to the dog when he has an upset tummy
- make mexican rice and put it in quesedillas
- make it with raisins -- they plump up in a fun way
- make up with water chestnuts and terriyaki and pineapple chunks

That was our household brainstorm. We use the rice maker 2 or 3 nights a week, I'd say.

But with the fuzzy logic Zojrushi we can also steam veggies (although I got so into steaming that I bought a seperate steamer).
posted by k8t at 7:23 PM on January 4, 2006

A matter of personal preference really, but I (and a number of people I know) love Basmati rice. If you didn't already know, its the kind of rice you get with Indian food. I greatly prefer it to regular white or brown rice and it seasons really well, at least with Indian spices.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 7:24 PM on January 4, 2006

Personally I like long grain jasmine. There are *tons* of different brands and varieties of rice, some which can taste quite different (there have been problems with introducing GM rice in some parts of the world - not because it's GM or there are shady licenses on it but rather that it tasted dramatically different to the local varieties.)

Larger batches of rice will cook better than small ones, in a steamer. If you're cooking (relatively) small batch, let is steam for longer after the "cook" cycle has been done (just leave the unit plugged in, warm setting warming, and don't open the lid). Rule of thumb - add enough water such that there depth of water above the grains of raw rice = level of raw rice & water.

Leftover rice (stored in a fridge overnight) makes better raw material for fried rice than freshly steamed rice. Also, when frying the rice - heat oil, add rice, stir until the rice starts heating up, dribble a scrambled egg into the rice while stiring. If you do this right, each grain of rice is individually and evenly covered in a coating of protective egg - the rice grains should be individual units and not sticky or clumped togather.

There's also fermented bean curd (plain or spicey) - mix a little into your rice with some granulated sugar. Cheap (and tasty - although some people retch at the aroma) source of protein (which rice alone is unable to provide).
posted by PurplePorpoise at 7:37 PM on January 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Eat Californian brown rice - or something besides cheap white rice. White rice is basically just starch. All the good stuff is in the husk and bran of the rice. It's more filling, and easier to cook, too. It confounds me that they want to introduce hybridized or genetically modified "yellow" rice in Asia - why are they removing the bran in the first place?

I don't know how rice cookers handle brown rice, though.
posted by loquacious at 7:39 PM on January 4, 2006

I have some enormous (up to 10 cups though 4 cups is the most I make) higher end Zojrushi (it was about $200 at Amazon) that works great, but I've never done much more than simple white rice, jasmine rice, and brown rice in it. It's been bulletproof, foolproof, and worked without a hitch for over five years. I suspect it'll stick around for much longer.
posted by mathowie at 7:44 PM on January 4, 2006

No offense meant k8t, maybe think of it as trivia - Asian people tend not to add soy sauce directly to white rice...

Oh, right. Chinese sausages or preserved duck or preserved bacon can be dropped into the rice and will cook with the rice. The rice will be a little bit oily/flavoured.

Also, you can throw in chopped bak choi, chopped chinese sausage/preserved duck/preserved bacon, chopped portabella/shitake/Chinese mushrooms, re-hydrated dried scallops, and soy sauce with glutenous (sticky/Japanese) rice and cook it all at the same time. Stir after cooking and serve.

Beware of eating too much rice with too little protein for too long - rice lacks several essential amino acids and has relatively little protein compared to the same measure of, say, wheat or barley. Rice + soy or, even better, fermented soy is essential amino acid complete, but the concentration is low.

Additionally, white rice is very quickly converted to simple sugars - it's possible to get a sugar rush from eating white rice. If you're diabetic or trying to diet, introduce lots of fibre into your diet if you increase your intake of rice. A small handful of wild rice (with the shell/hull/husk/whatever) not only makes your rice look more attractive (colours!) but also introduces important fibre.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 7:46 PM on January 4, 2006

As a rule of thumb, brown rice takes twice as much water and twice as long to cook as white. It's better for you, yes, but it's somehow the wrong thing with some cuisines.

Best thing about rice: any leftovers, you can always turn into fried rice. Can't lose.
posted by zadcat at 7:48 PM on January 4, 2006

Basmati Rice has a lower G.I. if you're interested. It helps avoid the post-rice "Curry Low"
posted by slightlybewildered at 7:48 PM on January 4, 2006

I've been cooking rice in a pressure cooker without having the lid fastened in place and it works fine.

Seriously though, how hard is it to cook rice?
posted by delmoi at 7:49 PM on January 4, 2006

You can make fried rice with leftovers. Indeed it tastes better when it's about a day old. Fry your veggies and meat (chinese sausage is awesome), take them out, drain them, then add your reserved rice to hot oil. Once it warms through, add your pre-sauted veggies and mix well. Another fun thing to add at this stage is a heated-through chopped up frozen bbq unagi (eel) filet.

I also love Thai curries. You can make a big batch and eat it over several days. The secret is to buy Mae Ploy brand curry pastes and coconut milk.
1) Heat one can of coconut milk on high until the oil separates.
2) Add 2-5 tbspns of curry pastes and stir.
3) add your other ingredients (veggies, tofu and meat)
5) add fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves if you have them
6) devour with plenty of steamed thai jasmine rice.

Furikake gets old really fast for me. You can add rice to most dishes. I eat chilli with it, or wrap up leftover roast meats with rice and burrito sauce in a tortilla.
posted by lemur at 7:56 PM on January 4, 2006

I highly recommend the Zojirushi brand rice cooker with fuzzy logic as well. I've switched to whole grains. I like to shop in the organic foods section for brown rice and wild rice as well as basmati brown rice.

I've been mixing half a can of vegetarian soup (lentil or bean soups) with a two servings of rice. Another thing to use is half a can of cooked beans.

Furikake is something to serve on top of plain white rice. I always thought it was designed for children, in order to get them accustomed to the taste of cooked rice. But I'm starting to see it being much more acceptable for adults - especially in bento "boxed meals."

Another method for children is "tamago gohan" or egg rice. You take raw egg and mix it with soy sauce with a just a dash of MSG or Accent in a bowl. A cold raw egg makes it more tastier. You pour the egg mixture over cooked rice and mix everything together. This works really well with cold leftover rice in the Summer. I still eat this as an adult from time to time.
posted by plokent at 8:00 PM on January 4, 2006

Unless you're wealthy, skip the $300 Zojirushi fuzzy-logic machines and get the $20 model from your local Asian grocery store. It will make entirely fool-proof white rice (of any variety).
posted by rxrfrx at 8:01 PM on January 4, 2006

Please consider eating more brown rice instead of white. It takes longer to cook, but (and I know you said no diet advice, but...) it has more fiber and nutrients and is really more flavorful and has a chewier, more satisfying texture, IMHO. White rice is basically, in my opinion, empty calories. Brown has less "net" carbs, more fiber. I've bought brown rice at middle-eastern markets in big, like 20-pound bags. It's less common than white (harder to find in large quantities even in specialty markets). It's also a little more expensive, yet less processed, which doesn't make sense.

My favorite condiment/seasoning for rice or baked potatoes, etc. is flax oil together with Bragg's Liquid Aminos (both available at any health/natural foods store). I discovered this combo by accident but it is, to me, a profound taste experience. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but it's two great tastes that taste amazing together. I love it, please try it on your rice. Flax oil is a bit pricey, but you just need a little.

I was given a rice cooker/steamer for Xmas once and sold it in a garbage sale because I very rarely used it. I hear that the best method for rice cooking is in a pot in the oven.
posted by theperfectcrime at 8:02 PM on January 4, 2006

You can make a great breakfast cereal by toasting brown rice, grinding it up (e.g. in a coffee grinder), and then cooking it with water.

I usually toast a couple of cups at a time, doing it in a heavy skillet on the stovetop until it smells nutty. Then, to make the cereal, I use about 1/3 of a cup to feed myself and my wife. It takes about 10 minutes to make the cereal. Just bring approx 1 cup of water to a boil, add the ground brown rice, and simmer and stir.

This goes very well with miso soup. It's one of our staples.
posted by alms at 8:03 PM on January 4, 2006

Also, rice consumed with any legume provides a complete protein (provides you with all the essential amino acids). For whatever that's worth.
posted by theperfectcrime at 8:07 PM on January 4, 2006

Soy sauce recommendation: I have 2 faves, which taste surprisingly different. One is low-salt Kikkoman, which is a "light" soy sauce (light referring to color and thin consistency, not lack of salt). It tastes almost identical to regular Kikkoman, but a little less salty, which I prefer. The other is Pearl River Bridge brand Mushroom Soy, which is a "dark" soy sauce. It has a sweeter, somewhat meaty flavor, although it doesn't really taste like mushrooms to me. Like other dark soy sauces it is fairly thick and has a bit of a molasses flavor from the sugar, but the other dark soys seem saltier and harsher.

As a rule of thumb, try the light soy sauce on lighter foods, like sushi or vegetables, and the dark soy sauce in heavier dishes, like stir-fries. Naturally, you'll soon find out what you prefer!
posted by Quietgal at 8:09 PM on January 4, 2006

Honestly, I'm not trying to raise my post count or anything, just keep thinking of simple stuff to make rice better-to-eat.

A salted duck's egg (shell whole) can be added to the raw rice to cook with it (deshell and cut into quarters before eating). I also like 1000 year egg with rice (it's already denatured/"cooked"). If you can get it, pork fluff sprinkled on top of the egg is great. All three of these condiments can be stored for very long lengths of tme.

If you're low on time, a half/tin of cambell's soup (with 1/5-1/2 the recommended amount of milk/water) like cream of mushroom, Chicken ala King, &c really spiffs rice up.

A quickly topping for rice: a tin of "preserved vegetable" (rinse it out/soak in cold water - the stuff is really salty; there are 2 kinds, leafy ones which you will have to shred with a knife and a solid heart of something that you will have to dice), shreds (~5mmx5mmxsome-length) of meat (pork, beef), a little corn starch, a little sesame oil, a little soy sauce, and sugar - fry togather - goes marvelously with white rice. If you're cooking Chinese food in general, a few drops of high quality sesame oil goes a loooong way.

Leftover rice can be used for congee (kind of like a rice porridge) - add water to the rice, add slices of salted pork (salt a hunk of pork overnight - add salt to pork, leave in fridge overnight), add quartered 1000 year egg, boil. Serve with white pepper and something crunchy and salty (salty Chinese donut if you can get it). Congee can also be made with just about anything (ostrich, venison, liver, kidney, tripe... whatever). The basic salted pork & 1000 year egg congee is fantastic for recovering from heavy drinking.

Another good "got the flu" food is chicken broth (or whatever left-over broth - borscht is great) with the rice (add in pan-fried chicken slices, spinach, whatever). I like to add chunks of soft tofu and rehydrated (and washed) dried lavender (seaweed), and slices of salted pork (salt overnight) to chicken broth - then add the cooked/steamed rice just before serving. A quicky version of this is to reconstitute a package of instant miso/seaweed soup and add cooked rice to that.

Furikake comes in so many permutations, you'll probably have to try a few to see what varieties you like. Generally, I like ones with lots of bonito flakes (in Chinese it's called - literally - wood fish; people used to grate chunks of dried bonito over rice) and that dried egg stuff. Depending on your take on MSG, many furikakes are loaded with it so keep an eye out.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 8:12 PM on January 4, 2006

If you cook sticky rice (the rice favored in Japan), be sure to wash it first to remove excess starch. Just scrub it for a bit until the water is milky. Rinse and repeat until the water is reasonably clear. It'll taste much fresher that way.
posted by zardoz at 8:20 PM on January 4, 2006

This has been asked before, pretty much.

The Zojirushi fuzzy logic cooker is excellent. Pricey, but worth it. You can't make bad rice with it. (The smaller one is fine, you don't need the large one unless your family looks like the Brady Bunch.)

In terms of rice quality, it's something like:
Best - Zojirushi
Good - cooked rice on stove
Bad - cooked rice in cheap rice cooker

I recommend getting the Zojirushi, or doing it on the stove. The advantage of the Zojirushi is it keeps rice warm and perfect for a long time; you can start brown rice when you go to work and have perfect rice waiting when you walk in the door.
posted by jellicle at 8:25 PM on January 4, 2006

Not as quick, not as healthy, but dang tasty is a recipe my Mom does that we just call ricey rice. Cook a batch of white rice, and then mix it with sour cream, grated cheese, and diced jalapeno peppers. Put it in a caserole dish and bake it until it sets. Yum!

P.S. My roommate the O/C male stripper eats steamed white rice, grilled chicken breasts and steamed greens 2-3 times a day.
posted by thecjm at 8:39 PM on January 4, 2006

My roommate has a Zojirushi and I love it so much that I use it probably five times as often as anyone else. It really is easy and quick, and cleanup is no problem at all. Most of the time I use Kraft or generic minute brown rice, so that I can put it on when I start cooking everything else and it's ready when I'm done.

If you don't give a damn about traditional cooking methods, here are a few things I've come up with and enjoy:
- add a can of beans (undrained) and use about half as much water (I prefer black beans)
- add salsa before or during cooking, use slightly less water
- in the mexican foods section of my supermarket, there are some fantastic chipotle pepper sauces; add varying amounts while cooking for flavor and spiciness depending on the main dish

Also, don't limit your rice intake to asian cuisine, as some others have brought up, have some mexican or spanish rice, as well as cajun, indian, moroccan, and other tasty variants. The USA Rice Federation seems to have some great recipes you could check out for inspiration.
posted by kyleg at 8:59 PM on January 4, 2006

When buying a rice cooker be sure that you get a modern one that has a non-stick interior, an on/off switch, multiple rice settings and an auto warm feature.

Reasons for the non-stick is not only convenience but older models used to have bare aluminum that caused off flavors and leached into the rice not to mention pain to clean. Many models of rice cookers do not have an on/off switch and you would have to actually plug and unplug all the time. Multiple rice selections is a must if you want variety and not have to fine tune heating cooling cycles.

The Zoj is fine but pricey. Surprisingly enough Martin Yan's Aroma model found at Costco for $50 is quite serviceable. There is a cheaper model that does not have the multi-rice feature and that goes for $30. Both models include steamer baskets and try to add some multi-functionality with the basic cooker.

One of the best books on rice and all you need to know is Duguid and Alfords The Seductions of Rice This book has recipes, in-depth knowledge and good travel writing.

Rice milling has advanced and if you are willing to pay more consider getting Haiga rice which is white Japanese short grain that retains the germ/bran so you get aesthetics with vitamins.

All rice cookers have markings on the side to indicate water level to cups of rice. However, DO NOT LOSE THE MEASURING CUP THAT COMES WITH THE COOKER, this cup is NOT equivalent to a standard American cup.

On Furikake. Well, remember that a majority of furikake is salty no matter which brand you pick. As long as you like the flavors of Japan e.g., nori (seaweed), dried fish, soy or sesame you should be fine.

If you plan to use your cooker a great deal spend the extra for functionality. And pay for good rice as well because it is all about the rice.

Email me if you need in-depth details including which brands of rice to get at epinard at gmail.
posted by jadepearl at 11:03 PM on January 4, 2006

I love furikake, the stuff I get from the supermarket might not be available in your area but the only English on the packet says "Pure Life" I don't know if that's the brand name or just a suggestion, but regardless it's chilli flavoured, with bonito, sesame, red pepper, seaweed and so forth. I've tried maybe 4 or 5 flavours, the others being like salmon and wasabi and so forth, and I definitely prefer the chilli one by a wide margin.

As to rice, I think basmati is best. It's delicious.

As to preperation, you really don't need a rice cooker, we have one and don't even bother getting it out. Just get a pot with a lid, that's all you need.

My method - for one person who wants a lot of rice or two people who want a bit:
1/2 cup of basmati
1 cup of cold water
about a tablespoon of cooking oil (I usually use cheap olive oil)

Rinse the rice in a sieve under the cold tap, drain as well as you can.

Heat oil in the pot on high, once it's up to temp (a tiny drip of water should sizzle) put all the rice in there, and using a wooden spoon (or something that won't scrape microscopic bits of the pot into your rice) stir it around, continuously, for maybe 30 seconds, or until it starts to brown, you just want to give it a slight touch of toasting.

Pour in the cup of cold water, put on the lid, as soon as it boils strongly, turn the element down to very very low.

Leave for 15 minutes.

Your rice is now cooked. I tend to take the pot off the element, take off the lid, turn it over once, and let it steam off a little while I prepare whatever I'm adding. This is usually some tuna, and/or a sliced boiled egg, and always a good sprinkling of chilli furikake. Makes for an excellent lunch.

It's pretty important to get the amount of water right, once you know what you're tasting, you'll know when it's been overwatered, some people have silly tests with finger knuckle measurements or whatever, I find a simple measuring cup to be most fool proof, and just put double the amount of water as rice.
posted by The Monkey at 11:06 PM on January 4, 2006

I just got a rice cooker for Christmas, and I have been eating rice mixed with fridge contents for about a week now, maybe one meal a day. My current favorite recipe is a bit ... bizarre ... but I can't stop chowing down on it. I take some long-grain white rice, cook it, and shred some cheddar cheese on top. I add peanuts, and then some Batch 66 Jalapeno Wasabi hot sauce (which I supplement with Dave's Insanity). This gets mixed, and sometimes I add soy sauce to the batch. It's a lot better than it sounds, trust me.
posted by headlessagnew at 11:22 PM on January 4, 2006

I finally checked out what "Zojrushi" was about - I agree with rxrfrx - unless you've got the cash to blow, this brand-name nouveau-looking thing might not be the best bang-for-buck.

Eh - if you like how it looks, maybe it is worth the $$.

/you can steam rice in just about any pot that has a lid. For a number of years I couldn't afford even a $20 rice steamer and cooked rice in a pot w/ a lid with great results.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:34 PM on January 4, 2006

Zojirushi is arguably the best rice cooker, but my understanding (from a recent discussion on this very topic I read on a mailing list that I'm a member of) is that National is a damn close second, and their cookers are usually significantly less expensive.

(National is made by Matsushita Electric, a company whose entire business model is to copy the market leader's products, usually Sony's, as closely as possible -- minus, when they're copying Sony, the design flaws and the tendency to break just after the warranty runs out -- and sell them for a lower price. In the US their products are branded as Panasonic; National is the brand they use in Japan.)
posted by kindall at 11:42 PM on January 4, 2006

A common Korean style of making rice in the rice cooker is to mix various types (all short grain, mind you, because you can't get long grain rice in Korea, basically) -- white, 40% (or 60% or 80%) hulled, 'black' rice (which turns it all a pleasant purple colour), and various grains (barley, etc), and a variety of dried (or soaked, depending) beans.

It's delicious (especially with an array of kimchis and such), and hella nutricious.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:37 AM on January 5, 2006

Also, my god I miss basmati rice. Can't get it here. Basmati rice, with big mushrooms sauteed in butter, pepper and quality soy, with some cottage cheese on the side? Basmati with pretty much anything, actually.


Also also, because I forgot : in my opinion it's Korean rice cookers, not Japanese, that are the state of the art these days. You'd be hard-pressed to find one with any English in the interface, though, so that's probably out if you don't speak Korean. Hell, I do, somewhat, and I still just hit a memorized sequence of buttons my wife taught me when I use it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:40 AM on January 5, 2006

If you're also interested in recipes that incorporate rice into a dish that can work as a full meal, here's a couple of ideas for Mediterranean style recipes (that I'm more familiar with than Asian style rice recipes).

You could try rice with ratatouille (mix of courgettes/zucchini, aubergines/eggplant, and peppers), it's really nice. There's a couple of recipes here and here but there's an easier, quicker method than cooking all the vegetables one by one in a pan. You just stick them all in a pan in the oven, it's just as good and you don't have to sweat on the cooker.

In short:

1) start with the eggplant - cut in small cubes, sprinke with salt , place in a coriander and put a small dish on top, with a weight on it (say a bowl with fruit in it), and leave a couple of hours (or even overnight, just prepare it beforehand, when it's more convenient) to allow the eggplant to lose some of its water (and its bitter flavour), then rinse quickly and dry

2) cut all the other vegetables in cubes (zucchini and big red and yellow bell peppers)

3) place everything in a large oven pan, add a couple of whole peeled cloves of garlic (optionally, also thinly sliced red onions - or shallots), drizzle with good olive oil, salt and pepper, herbs (thyme or marjoram or a provencal style mix, use very little though cos they have a strong flavour), mix everything well with a spoon, then place in oven at moderately high heat for about thirty to forty minutes, until all vegetables are tender. You could add tomatoes but I think it's nicer without.

When it's ready, mix in with boiled rice (white, brown, basmati, whatever you like - lots of advice above on how to cook it already!) - that's it. I guess you could maybe add cubed chicken breasts if you like some meat in every meal, but it's just as filling without anything else.

(By the way, you can prepare a large amount of ratatouille and freeze it for later use with freshly cooked rice; it also keeps in the fridge for a few days.)

Another idea is Italian style rice salad. It's a cold dish, very nice in summer. Basmati is rather good for that too.

If you wanted to go nuts and have a lot of patience and really really like cooking, you could experiment with Spanish paella, but even the simplest version requires some effort and time. And more money cos there's a lot of ingredients. It's delicious though.
posted by funambulist at 3:38 AM on January 5, 2006

Try different kinds of rice - there are so many out there! Basmati is, as others have mentioned, great. But it's a white rice (refined), so it has a higher ratio of carbohydrates to other nutrients (fats, proteins, certain vitamins and minerals). I would recommend brown rice instead - I've found that I eat less of it but enjoy it more. If you do find that you're into Basmati rice a little searching should find you some Basmati brown rice, possibly as "Calmati".

Also recommended are trying different grain lengths, which can make all the difference in dishes like risotto. And if you can find what's called 'sweet' or 'glutinous' or 'sticky' brown rice, by all means, get it, it's a delight.

Wild rice, though not a rice and also fairly pricey, is also worth checking out.

If you find yourself really enjoying rice, other whole grains can be prepared just as easily and give wide variety of taste, texture, overall experience. I've found that everybody likes quinoa, which is a S American grain (although not technically) with higher fat and protein levels (and good essential amino acid profile). Barley also is easy to convert to. But there are dozens of others and varieties of each.

Also consider occasionally replacing meat with bean dishes, which are an excellent accompaniment to rice - a good protein source and robust in flavor but generally healthier than meats.

Look to ethnic cuisine for ways to prepare rice, other grains, and legumes.
posted by annihilist at 3:45 AM on January 5, 2006

There are two feature that are indispensable for rice cookers. First, having a timer means that you can have nice steamy rice waiting for you when you get home from work. Just set the ingredients up the night before or that morning. Leaving the rice to soak for a few hours also makes for a better texture.

Secondly, a steamer basket that fits over the cooking rice means that you can make a complete meal in one go. I like filling the steamer basket with a few baby carrots and pork buns or gyoza (purchased cheap at most Asian markets). The drippings from the basket will flavor the rice a bit (which rice purists will find unacceptable), but steamed pork buns are my wintertime favorite. You can also steam things like salmon and just add a sheet of seaweed to make salmon rice balls. They are delicious and portable.

As far as Furikake, my favorite is the Seto one. It has lots of seaweed flakes and sesame seeds.
posted by Alison at 5:25 AM on January 5, 2006

Response by poster: Awesome advice!

I definatly want to try lots of different rice! I hope to be eating quite a bit of brown as well as try basmati, jasmin, etc.

Hopefully I will be ordering my cooker this weekend! I can't wait! I also have lots of searching to do for all the extra stuff to go with it.

One of my biggest obstacles is that I have no markets around me that sell any kind of foreign food (neither asian, indian, or mexican) and in fact my local grocery store is abysmal and its common to get onions that are allready sprouted and potatoes that are growing eyes when you buy them... I live in a area that is not cullinarly awakened yet.

Thank you guys for all the great suggestions and helpful advice!
posted by JonnyRotten at 5:49 AM on January 5, 2006

Another vote for the fuzzy-logic Zojirushi. It's worth the money because everything comes out perfect.
posted by nancoix at 6:50 AM on January 5, 2006

Is the fuzzy logic Zojirushi rice cooker available in Europe? The UK and German amazon sites do not list it.
posted by booksprite at 8:08 AM on January 5, 2006

An addition to the post above about the size of the cup: Japanese rice cookers, for whatever reason, use a 220ml cup to measure rice - the Western "cup" measure is 240ml. So if you put a Western "cup" of rice into your cooker, the marked water line is insufficient and you'll have to add more water than specified. So, if you lose the original cup that comes with the cooker, and switch to western cup measures, you'll have to go heavy on the water by about 9% or so, or go scant on your rice measurements.
posted by jellicle at 9:45 AM on January 5, 2006

The timer is critical, because then you can set the rice to be done when you get home and not have to worry about it at all. This can also be used to have fresh oatmeal ready for you in the morning, which is really nice on a cold day.
posted by Caviar at 11:49 AM on January 5, 2006

Do you like milk? Rice pudding is a delicious desert or snack. Rice heated in milk is very good for breakfast on a cold morning.
posted by wryly at 12:22 PM on January 5, 2006

A little late to this party, but...

Another vote for Zojirushi. Have used a simple pot, an old Tiger rice cooker, and the Zojirushi Induction cooker-warmer (no doubt inspired by captured alien technology). All of these options cook good rice, but it's a bit like pizza; usually, all pizza is good.

The Zoji is insane. Cooks perfect rice of any sort, will have it ready when you want it (unless you want it before it's done), makes GABA brown rice, but most importantly, plays a catchy melody when the rice is ready (which has apparently been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce stress).
posted by mumeishi at 2:51 PM on January 12, 2006

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