Pros: Extremely simple; takes the guesswork out of when odd rice blends are done; has lasted well
Cons: Can’t add anything to the rice if you want to leave it on “keep warm”; non-dishwasher-safe
Rating: 4 out of 5
First posted 12/2/2000
We tried to fool our rice cooker. Really we tried. We put in this great rice mix from Indian Harvest that included wild rice, red colusari rice, and kamut (not rice at all). You have to understand that this rice cooker has no settings: just “cook” and “keep warm.” I was a bit dubious that the rice cooker would handle such an odd thing.
But it did. We left it running on Thanksgiving, when we really needed to not use an extra spot on the stove, or to have to worry about when to start the rice. This rice cooker will keep rice warm for hours (12, it says) without hurting it, so we just started the rice about three or four hours before dinner, when we weren’t particularly busy because the turkey was taking up the oven.
The rice mix came out perfectly. It was tender and delicious, not too sticky, not too dry.
The steam vent does tend to spray bubbles of liquid later on in the cooking process, which was weird. We had to wipe it up now and then. You have to be careful to keep your hands away from the steam vent as it gets quite hot, so don’t operate this around little kids.
The somewhat-badly-translated manual doesn’t tell you what the maximum volume of rice is that it can handle. Umm, that seems a little foolish, doesn’t it? It would suck to put too much in and end up with a real mess on your hands. Luckily cooking.com is much more helpful: 5c uncooked; 10c cooked.
The interior is very non-stick. This is great when you’re trying to get the rice out. It means, however, that you should be careful not to lose the soft plastic spoon that comes with the unit. And if you do lose it, don’t use anything harsh on this bowl! This rice cooker also isn’t dishwasher safe, however, it does clean up fairly easily.
This thing does in fact heat very evenly. I was impressed. The rice was perfectly done, not overcooked, not undercooked. It does often develop a bit of a skin along the bottom; just stir thoroughly and this will break back up.
One thing disappointed me a bit. If you want to keep your rice warm for any length of time, you can’t put anything in with the rice – not stock, not butter – not even salt! Salt is the key to flavorful rice! But no, if you use the keep warm cycle then any of these ingredients can result in a spoiled smell, apparently.
Rice cookers aren’t for everyone. If you don’t make much rice, you probably won’t want one. We got ours because it’s a pain to have to deal with the rice while making the rest of dinner, and because we like odd rices that have unusual (and sometimes unpredictable) cooking times. This takes all of the guesswork out of it. When that little “keep warm” light goes on, you know your rice is done – it really is that simple!