Rice has always been a staple in Indian cuisine for thousands of years. In fact, it is still widely consumed today throughout the country. However, cooking this grain requires patience and your complete attention. And, with our busy lifestyles, giving patience and attention to just one dish is too much to ask for.
Therefore, to ease the cooking process, electric rice cookers have lately gained the momentum. But, there are still many people who are confused about the entire working process of the electric rice cookers. How to use it? How to select the perfect one for your family? Is it really worth it?
Fret not, as we have answered all these questions and much more in our article below. So, without wasting any more time, let’s get started.
Right Way to Use an Electric Rice Cooker
Now that we have some idea about electric rice cookers, let’s see how you can use it to cook your rice. Following these steps will ensure that your rice is cooked perfectly, without being burnt or undercooked. So, let’s get started.
Measure the Quantity of Rice and Put it into the Cooking Vessel
The first step is to measure the quantity of rice to be cooked. Most electric rice cookers come with a measuring cup for accurate measurement. So once you have decided the quantity, you can either put the rice into the detachable inner pot or directly into the rice cooker, depending on the model you have. Generally, a cup of raw rice can cook up to 1.5-3 cups of cooked rice, depending on the variety used. Also, you must ensure that enough space is left for the rice to expand and not spill over.
Rinse the Rice Before Cooking
Washing or rinsing your rice before you start cooking is an essential step. This removes any contaminants or excess starch from the grain, thereby making it more palatable. It also prevents clumping of rice while cooking.
You must add drinking water to the rice and stir it up until the rice is completely submerged in water. You must then drain the water through a sieve and pay attention to the colour of water after rinsing. If it looks cloudy or apparently dirty, you must wash the rice for the second time and so on till the water looks clear.
Measure the Quantity of Water
Cooking rice is mostly about accurate rice to water ratio. The quantity of water to be used while cooking rice largely depends on the type of rice being used and what consistency do you want. Generally, electric rice cookers come with dedicated markings of the quantity of rice and water to be added inside the vessel or are specified in the user manual. However, if it is not mentioned, you can take some idea from the general guidelines mentioned below.
- For white rice (long grain), the water to rice ratio must be around 1¾ cups of water for every cup of rice.
- For white rice (medium grain), the water to rice ratio must be around 1½ cups of water for every cup of rice.
- For white rice (short grain), you must only use 1¼ cup of water for a single cup of rice.
- For brown rice (long grain), this ratio increase to 2¼ cup of water for 1 cup of rice.
- For parboiled rice, you must take 2 cups of water for every cup of rice.
- For basmati rice that is used widely in India, you only need 1½ cup of water for every cup of rice. And, if the rice has been soaked previously. In that case, the water to rice ratio becomes 1:1, i.e., for every cup of rice, one cup of water is used. They require less water because the preferred consistency for this variety of rice is relatively dry.
Soak the Rice For Some Time
This is one of the optional steps, yet people prefer soaking their rice for at least thirty minutes before cooking to shorten the cooking time. However, you must keep in mind that soaking can often lead to sticky consistency of rice if the quantity of water is not accurate. You should use the same water measured earlier for soaking as well as cooking.
Add Flavourings to Your Rice
This one is an optional step but if you prefer some flavour in your rice, it is the time to add all the seasonings in water. You must do this before you turn on the rice cooker as this allows all the flavours to be absorbed in the rice. You can add salt, butter, ghee, or even ingredients like bay leaves or cardamom to enhance the taste of your rice.
Make Sure All the Rice Grains are Well Placed in Water and Not Stuck to the Sides
This step is often ignored but is an essential one. If you find some rice grains stuck on the sides of the pot, you must gently push them down the water level. Make sure that you only use a plastic or a wooden spatula to do so. This is done to prevent the rice from burning. But, you need not stir the rice that is already below the water level. As doing this will allow excess starch to release from the rice, thereby resulting in stickier texture.
Check For Any Special Functions in Your Rice Cooker
Some basic electric rice cookers come with only ON or OFF functions. While others which are more advanced have several different functions for brown or white rice. These can have delay start feature as well for cooking at a later time. So, if you have to cook something specific, this is the time when you select the appropriate function. You must read user manual for better understanding of different features in the rice cooker.
Cook the Rice
Now, it’s time to cook the rice. If your rice cooker has a detachable inner pot, you must now place it inside the cooker. The lid must be tightly closed. Now, you can plug in the power cord and turn on the device.
Once the rice is cooked, you will hear a click-like sound, indicating that the cooking cycle has been completed. Most rice cookers switch to the warming mode after this, thereby staying in this mode until the device is unplugged. However, you must ensure that the lid is not lifted at this step as rice is only cooked when steam is formed inside the cooker.
Allow the Rice to Rest For a While
After the rice cooker shuts off and goes into the warming mode, you must allow the rice to rest for at least five to fifteen minutes. This step ensures that the rice is cooked evenly and the excess moisture is released. However, try not keeping the rice in the warm mode for long durations as it can burn the grains placed at the bottom or the sides.
Fluff and Serve the Rice
Once all the water is absorbed, you will know that the rice has been cooked. You must fluff it a bit, using a fork or a spatula. This will also break any clumps formed in the rice. This gentle stirring will also let the steam to pass, thereby preventing cases of overcooking.
Your rice is now ready to eat. Garnish it and serve it well in a bowl.
Common Problems While Cooking Rice in an Electric Rice Cooker and Their Solutions
Even though electric rice cookers prepare perfectly cooked rice in no time, there are still some problems that people face while cooking in them. These issues are generally due to improper usage of the device rather than the problem in the machine itself. Let’s have a look at some of these concerns and their solutions.
Rice Becomes Mushy
If your rice becomes mushy, try reducing the amount of water for every cup of raw rice. Ideally, you should reduce the quantity of water by ¼ to ½ cup for every cup of raw rice. This will cook the rice for a lesser duration and even the quantity of water to be absorbed will be less, thereby preventing mushy rice.
Rice is Undercooked
If your rice remains undercooked in the electric rice cooker, you can move the rice to the stove and add some water to it, ideally around ¼ cup of water. Now, let it cook for a few minutes on the stove so that rice can get steamed.
Generally, rice don’t burn while in the cooking mode. It is only when they are left in the warming mode for a long time that the rice at the bottomor on the sides get burnt. To avoid this, try not to keep the rice in the warming mode for too long. Also, make sure that you are not cooking any sugary ingredient with your rice as these are prone to burning when heated. So, you should cook sugars separately in another vessel.
Rice is Overcooked
When rice is overcooked, you cannot do much about it. However, you can use the rice and turn it into different recipes like kheer, porridge, baby food, etc. You can also fry your rice to remove the extra moisture from it.
Leftover Water Inside the Pot
If you see some leftover water inside the pot even when the cooking cycle has been completed, it is likely that your rice cooker is faulty. You can either get it serviced or replaced. If you have already cooked the rice in it, you can drain the excess water and use the rice if the texture is correct. If not, you must start the cooking process again until all the water is absorbed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How to Clean the Burnt Rice andStains on the Inner Pot of the Electric Rice Cooker?
Often you will find burnt or some tough stains on the inside of the rice cooker. The best part is that there are several ways in which you can get rid of these stains. If there are some burnt leftover rice stuck to the utensil surface, you can simply fill the pot with hot water and let it rest for a while. This will allow the food particles to loosen up a bit; and hence, get removed easily.
For stains, especially the black ones, you can use the solution of water and onion skin. For this, you just have to boil some onion skins in water and let it cool inside the cooker. The stains can then be simply scrubbed off from the surface.
If old and tough stains are becoming a nuisance for you. In that case, baking soda and vinegar are the best options. You can add a little amount of baking soda into the cooker along with some water. Now, boil this solution for a few hours and then allow it cool. After this, the stains can be easily scrubbed off, without damaging the coating on the inner vessel.
In the same way, vinegar solution is another effective method to remove the hard stains. Since vinegar is slightly acidic in nature, it can effectively dissolve any settled minerals inside the cooker. For this you need to put some vinegar inside the pot and fill it with water, allowing it to rest overnight. The next day, there will be a remarkable reduction in the appearance of stains.
Q2. How to Know if Your Electric Rice Cooker is Working Correctly or Not?
There are a few things that you can look for in order to determine if your rice cooker is working correctly or not. These include:
- The lid of the cooker must be closed properly, ensuring that there is no space for water vapour or steam to escape.
- The pressure control must jiggle gently.
- The handle and the pan-handle must be fixed properly.
If these three things are working properly, you can rest assured that the rice cooker is also working correctly.
Q3. An Electric Rice Cooker or a Gas Stove, Which is the Better Choice for Cooking Rice?
If you are looking for comfort and convenience while cooking rice. In that case, electric rice cookers are a better choice than stovetop cookers. The most significant advantage of electric rice cookers over gas stoves is that these are more versatile and can be customised according to your requirements.
In fact, an electric rice cooker is also a safer option as compared to stovetop ones. Since these don’t use an open flame for cooking, there are less chances of fire accidents or mishaps due to pressure issues. These also offer better taste and texture.
When it comes to performance, durability, power efficiency, or even portability. In that case too, electric rice cookers are a better choice. However, both work perfectly when it comes to cooking rice. Therefore, you can weigh in your budget and requirements and select either of the two.
Q4. How Long Does it Take for an Electric Rice Cooker to Prepare Rice?
The cooking time usually is dependent on the model and the type of rice being cooked. For example, for regular rice, the time taken for the rice cooker to cook it can be around fifteen minutes. It is about twenty minutes for parboiled rice. And, if you are preparing whole-grain rice like brown rice, the time taken can go up to forty to forty-five minutes. Therefore, you must always check the user manual for time recommendations for the specific type of rice.
Q5. How Much Water is Required by a Rice Cooker to Cook Rice?
The requirement of water to cook rice in an electric rice cooker is directly related to the variety or type of rice being cooked. For example, for white rice, the water to rice ratio is around 1.5-2:1, i.e., for every cup of white rice, you need 1.5 to 2 cups of water. However, this ratio becomes 1:1 when the rice is rinsed and soaked before cooking it.
In the same way, the rice to water ratio for brown rice is 2.5:1 as this variety of rice requires more water to be cooked. If you are preparing any other grain like quinoa, the ratio will again be different. You will require at least two cups of water for every one cup of quinoa. Therefore, it depends on what you are preparing and has no standard ratios.
Q6. What Else Can be Cooked in an Electric Rice Cooker?
Rice cookers are generally versatile with their function. You can cook almost all types of rice, including white, brown, long, short, or medium grain rice. These can also cook the superior basmati rice and even wild rice. You can also cook different types of grains like oatmeal and quinoa in the rice cooker.
But, you must take care of the quantity of water used while cooking grains like quinoa and oatmeal, as it can be different from the amount of water used while cooking rice. If your rice cooker comes with steaming trays or has multiple cooking options, you can even steam vegetables or make mixed dishes with rice, vegetable, and protein. For this, you must ensure that the vegetables or protein are layered on top of the rice before you start preparing the dish.
So, if you are looking for a fuss-free and easy rice cooking appliance. In that case, electric rice cookers are totally worth it. These offer safe and effective cooking experience, allowing you to have perfectly cooked and tasty rice with each serve.
Even the simplest of the models offer you efficient usage. While the advanced ones take your cooking experience to the next level altogether with addition of several features. These allow you to cook any type of rice and a wide variety of dishes at inexpensive prices. So, there shouldn’t be any reason why you should not have one for yourself.
Which electric rice cooker did you opt for? How was your experience? Did the article help you in your purchase? Please let us know in the comments section below. You can also write to us if any doubt regarding rice cooker still prevails. We will get back to you as soon as possible.