September 23, 2008

Rice cooker revelation

The first time I ever saw a rice cooker was while visiting a friend whose husband was from Thailand. The husband was very particular about his rice and it had to be cooked in the rice cooker, just like the rice he grew up with in Thailand. This was about 20 years ago and I remember being surprised and intrigued by how perfect and delicious the rice my friend made was. I'd been making pretty good rice in a pressure cooker but this seemed so easy.

It wasn't until years later that I finally purchased a rice cooker of my own, and although the rice tasted good, the cooking process was evil. As the rice cooked, starched-laden steam would spew from the lid vent and cover everything around the cooker—counters, cupboards, other appliances— with a goopy liquid coating. I could put a kitchen towel over the top, but then I'd be left with a sodden towel. We ate rice a lot and those towels could add up!

The rice cooker came with a stainless steel steamer-basket insert, and just recently I discovered that if I cook the rice with the insert in place, nothing comes out of the vent. Eureka! Did everyone already know this except me? And why didn't the little instruction booklet say this? So now you know. If you have a rice cooker with a steamer basket and a spewing problem, you can now cook rice neatly and perfectly. Whew.

Now, on an entirely different subject; the last time I mentioned my rain garden it was not in a positive light. I was weeding it and there were mice ... It's never been the most attractive of gardens, but at the moment it doesn't look so bad! Here are a few pics I snapped a couple of days ago. Now I just have to figure out what to plant that will be attractive from early spring to mid summer. I have columbines but they are so small.


  1. Glad both those problems turned out so well in the end (that rice cooker sounded possessed at first!!). Never tried one, but it does sound as if it would make the process easier (WITH the steamer basket, of course) ;)

  2. Wow! My rice cooker totally spews and I had given up on using it. Then my daughter offered us one her friend had given her and when I used it I had the same problem. After spending 45 minutes cleaning the rice starch out of every little part, I decided it just wasn't worth it. But now.... our rice cooker didn't come with a steamer insert, but maybe I'll just put our steamer inside and see what happens? Does the rice go over or under?

    And your flowers look beautiful!

  3. The rice goes into the pot as usual. The steamer basket hangs above it. Maybe your cooker is missing the basket and you could find a replacement? Maybe not.

  4. That's hilarious about your rice-cooker! Not to laugh at your problem, of course, but it's funny how well modern technology works when we actually read the instruction manual, haha. Your garden in lovely, I want to frolick in it!

  5. Unfortunately, I did read the manual. It said, "do not insert steamer basket." I double checked that tonight. Go figure. Now that I've broken the rules, the cooker works great! :)

  6. Another option is to rinse the rice and let it dry thoroughly. I do this in a strainer ahead of time


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