My mum bought herself a rice cooker years ago. This is my mum who actually turned off her fridge because she never really cooks at home because she's lucky enough to get a hearty breakfast and practically gourmet lunch at the school she works at. Despite this, she's been going on about how great rice cookers are for ages. I've always thought that it was a lot of fuss over nothing, after all, most of the time I can cook rice that is edible and do I really need another gadget in the kitchen?
It turns out that yes, yes I do. After insisting for years that I needed a rice cooker, my mum just went ahead an ordered a Zojirushi one for me for my Christmas present this year...
When I opened it for the first time I was pretty impressed with how compact it was and naturally fell in love with the little measuring cup ("don't lose this - it essential you use this and only this to measure rice") and a rice paddle. On top of that, after reading the instructions it seemed ridiculously easy to cook perfect rice right here in my own kitchen!
A few days went by before I used it because there was no call for rice (eating fish and chips when my mum visits from the States is a must, you know!) but then the day came.
I poured over the instructions, slightly confused by the bad translation, not realising that all you needed to do was measure the rice using the sacred rice measure-er, put it in the cooker and then fill up with water to the number next to the type of rice you were cooking. One cup of rice, fill up to number one. Press the menu button to select the right programme for the type of rice you're cooking and that's it!
30-40 minutes later you pop open the lid (you're not allowed to peek halfway through, by the way) and fluff up the rice using the paddle. If you're not quite ready to eat it there is a handy option to keep it warm until you're ready to serve.
Am I converted? Yep! No more watery/stodgy/overcooked rice for me! Oh and guess what? It has a timer on it so you can get everything ready in the morning and come home to freshly cooked rice!
The booklet it came with had some basic recipes including one for "porridge" which I can only assume is for congee. This is one of the things on my cooking "to do" list so maybe my little rice cooker can help me make it! I'm sure there are a million other ways to use it but need to spend time researching - do you have any favourite recipes using a rice cooker?