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Why Rice Cookers are Better than Stove Tops

This post assesses the outcomes of using a rice cooker compared to cooking rice on a stovetop. It aims to help you determine whether investing in a rice cooker for your kitchen is worthwhile or if you should forego it altogether.

Rice Cooker Illustration
 Rice Cooker Illustration

In case you are wondering is a rice cooker better? Short Answer: it is. Initially, I was skeptical because I saw it as a single-purpose appliance; that would take up the counter space.

Rice Cooker FAQs

Do you need a rice cooker if you have an instant pot?

A rice cooker is not mandatory in that case, since the instant pot has a rice function. However a dedicated rice cooker yields better results, if you are so serious about the quality of your cooked rice, or cook alot of it frequently, then invest in a rice cooker.

And if you cook rice just casually and wannabe minimalist, then stick with the instant pot

Do you need a rice cooker to make sushi rice?

Yes, you can make sushi rice without a rice cooker although, it is highly recommended since cooking on the stove will result in inconsistencies, and some rice sticking at the bottom of the pot which is normal for sushi rice as it is short-grained.

To make sushi rice on the stove:

Wash rice till clear, add 1 cup of water for 1 cup of rice, place on medium-high heat, and simmer for 12 minutes, turn off the heat, and rest for 5 minutes while covered to continue cooking with residual heat

Do You Need A Rice Cooker with a Detachable Cord?

Yes, if possible a detachable cord rice cooker will make your life easier since you can unplug it and store it elsewhere when not in use, and it doesn’t have to live on your countertop.

Why Rice Cookers are Just Better

The following guidelines aim to address the inquiry of why purchasing a rice cooker is advantageous and why it surpasses the stovetop method for cooking rice.

1. Consistency:

The result from different batches won’t be that different because the inputs are controlled, and so are evaporation and temperature. Simply no variation in the end cooked product. They seem to get it right every time.

2. Convenience:

In short, it hassle-free. Set your ingredients, flip the switch on, and come back at your convenience to serve up fluffy warm perfect rice! Even hours later

Unlike the stove pot method where you have to regulate heat, set a timer, and turn off the stove once cooking is done all those struggles are saved here.

They also require little attention, good if you want to manage time efficiently, you can do other things while your rice is cooking without the risk of burning it, overcooking it, or undercooking it.

3. Keep Warm Function

Even the most basic cheap rice cookers have this function. When cooking is complete the thermostat switches to keep warm. This will extend the serving time or even save it for later when you are ready to serve. Typical rice cookers will keep warm for multiple hours. Up to 12hrs but note that the quality of the rice degrades with time.

4. Versatility

Yes, the name is “rice cooker” but this doesn’t mean rice is the only thing they can cook. They can do oatmeal, soups, sauces, risotto, and more grains. Even pancakes and sponge cakes

Also, some come with a steaming basket meaning you can kill two birds with one stone. Cooking rice and steaming; veggies, fish fillets, chicken breasts, eggs, and dumplings. All at the same time

They also can cook a variety of rice grains; brown, long grain, jasmine, basmati, pishori, and more. However, the water ratios, cooking times, and preparations may be different for each grain type

rice cooker

5. Maintenance

Little to no maintenance required, easy to clean just the non-stick pot inner pot which is also dishwasher safe. Just don’t scratch your pot, use the plastic spoon provided.

6. Energy Efficiency

More efficient than using a stovetop thus saving on energy. They rated average at 500W. This is achieved through functions like temperature controls by the thermostat and overheat protection. It is said that rice cookers use between 20-50% less energy than other methods of cooking rice

7. User Friendly

Entry-level models have two controls, cook and warm which are simple and intuitive to use even for children. No experience is needed to operate them, or culinary expertise. They are just idiot friendly

8. Better Brown  Rice

Not only do they make brown rice better but also easier. Since brown rice takes longer to cook with more water and thus more time, the outcome from a stovetop won’t be a match

How to use a rice cooker

rice cooker with rice

Same procedure as the stove top in preparation of the rice;

-Start by cleaning the rice grains till the water runs clear, around 3 washes will do fine for any rice grain. Washing is to remove impurities and excess starch that causes rice grains to stick together.

-Soak it for like 15 minutes, soaking helps to tenderize the grain off the heat, and on cooking, frains will fluff up more. This step is optional but recommended, it makes a night and day difference. Soaking is particularly beneficial for certain types of rice, such as long-grain varieties, as it helps to separate the grains and prevent clumping.

-Add the rice to the rice cooker pot and level it all across, your rice cooker should be operated on a fairly flat surface. A level surface helps the rice cook evenly and prevents any potential issues with the cooking process since heat is distributed evenly

-Add water for cooking the rice as required, use a ratio of 1: 2; 1 cup of rice requires 2 cups of water. That is a general guideline. Adding too much or too little water can result in undercooked or mushy rice. Therefore, measuring the water accurately is crucial for achieving perfectly cooked rice in the rice cooker.

-Add oil and salt if desired. Adding a small amount of oil, such as vegetable oil or olive oil, can help prevent the rice from sticking together and promote a fluffier texture. It also adds a subtle flavor to the cooked rice, especially olive oil. As for salt,  adding a pinch can enhance the overall taste of the rice.

-Connect the appliance to a power outlet and turn the switch on, if your rice cooker is fancy select the mode/type of rice being cooked eg brown or white and the presets will take charge

-Close the lid and let it cook. Upon completion, most cookers will switch to the warming function. You should wait at least 10 minutes before uncovering so that the rice gets more fluffed up by the residual heat and moisture

Mini Rice Cookers

Mini rice cookers, which are smaller versions of regular rice cookers, offer several advantages due to their compact size. They are suitable for dorm students and travelers who value space, efficiency, and portability. With their smaller footprint, they occupy minimal space and are less bulky, making them easy to store in cramped areas and in travel too.

Mini rice cookers are also ideal for small households, such as couples or individuals living alone. Their capacity typically ranges from 2 cups or less, which is sufficient for preparing meals for a small number of people.

In terms of affordability, mini rice cookers are relatively budget-friendly. They are available for around ($ 25) KSh 3,000 or even less, making them a cost-effective option for those looking for a compact and affordable cooking appliance.

Overall, mini rice cookers offer the convenience of their larger counterparts in a smaller size, making them a practical choice for individuals with limited kitchen space, travelers, and small families.

The Best Rice Cooker Brands in Kenya

The following brands are recommended;

  •  Panasonic
  •  Kenwood
  •  Sayona
  •  Ramtons
  •  Black & Decker
  •  Philips
  •  Von

Related Links

Sayona SRC 4302 1.5L Rice Cooker Review

Grocery Guide: 10 Popular Rice Brands in Kenya 

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