The rice cooker was a lifesaver when making sushi in culinary school (and that’s about the only time we were allowed to use a household appliance). I found it to be useful because cooking rice perfectly on the stove is not as easy as one would think (and I’m not talking about the boil-in-bag kind). Outside of class, those cookers are convenient if you eat rice frequently, but never suited my personal cooking needs, or piqued my interest. Until I was shown the way, at least.
I was scrolling through my Google feeds — packed with various food blog posts — and stumbled upon an article about rice cookers from the New York Times. What’s this?! Not only can it cook perfect rice, but it can steam, bake, saute, braise, simmer, poach and more?
Turns out, you can make a whole meal in this contraption, and it doesn’t even have to include rice! Of course, you can make rice-based dishes such as pilafs, Italian risotto, Indian biriyani, Thai curry dishes, Chinese fried rice, rice pudding, etc. But you can also cook other grains and legumes — barley, oats, quinoa, lentils, beans — great bases for soups and one-pot meals. If you simply switch the machine to “cook” and let it heat up, you can also saute and braise. For example, to braise baby back ribs: add your liquid and ingredients of choice, close the lid and switch it to “cook.” It’ll be done in less than an hour.
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Your Creative Loafing food contributors, GNATV and Katie Machol, joined forces to bring you this entertaining video tutorial on how to prepare “Fiesta Mac n’ Cheese” in a rice cooker. This easy recipe can be prepared in a jiffy just using a rice cooker. A little late for Cinco de Mayo, but a fun and tasty dish for any time of the year!
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Every ethnic cuisine has their form of a one pot, rice-based dish that usually includes some form of meat and/or seafood with vegetables. One of my favorite versions of this is Spanish paella. Paella is traditionally made in a large pan called a “paellera” (go figure) with short- or medium-grain rice and given its characteristic yellow color from saffron threads, as well as its distinct flavor. Paella varies from region to region in Spain, the coastal areas include mostly seafood in theirs, such as mussels, clams and shrimp. Other traditional versions feature Spanish dry chorizo and even snails. While traditonal versions of paella are absolutely wonderful (definitely a must-try ethnic dish), I am hardly a traditionalist so I felt I had to put my own spin on it.
First of all, I didn’t feel like slaving over a hot stove to make my paella and I hadn’t used my fabulous rice cooker in ages, so I busted that bad boy out and got to work. I know I’ve already raved about all of the amazing things a rice cooker can do in a short amount of time, but I feel I must again and pay homage to my dear friend and kitchen appliance. Did I also mention it can cook rice perfectly? Read the rest of this entry