Even though it’s an underestimated appliance, the rice cooker can be a useful ally in any kitchen. It’s perfect for making all kinds of recipes and combinations. It works by rapidly boiling the water inside the sealed interior, reducing the air pressure on the liquid and accelerating the whole process.
As you probably know, different types of rice have different textures. Even if you use the same rice cooker, cooking each type of rice will deliver different results.
Short-grain rice usually has a lot of starch, specifically the branched type of starch. This is why short-grain rice gets stickier and less fluffy after cooked.
Long-grain rice is fluffy and less sticky, due to its high amylose content. Amylose is a type of starch molecule that is long and straight, so it doesn’t get tangled up with other molecules during the cooking process.
Finally, medium-grain rice should be fluffy but stickier. The amylose and amylopectin contents in this type of rice are more or less the same.
Let’s see the basic technique to cook rice in a rice cooker, always keeping in mind the specifics of the recipe you’re going to make and the type of rice you’re going to use. Here are some steps to guide you through the process:
Nowadays, most rice cookers come with a measuring cup. If not, any cup will do. Use the cup to measure the amount of rice you want to make. Take into account that 240 ml (about one cup) of uncooked rice will turn into 360 and 720 ml of cooked rice, depending on the type of rice you are using. Once measured, put the rice inside the rice cooker, making sure there is enough room for it to grow without leaking.
Even though you not always need to rinse the rice, you may need to so with some types of rice. This is why people often choose to always rinse the rice, just in case, to make sure to wash away any pollutants, herbicides or pesticides. Put the rice under the tap and stir thoroughly so that all the grains are washed.
ow it’s time to measure the amount of water you’re going to need. Using cold water is recommended for most rice cookers. The amount of water will vary according the type of rice you’re cooking and how watery you want it.
Before cooking, stir the rice with a (preferably wooden) utensil to make sure there no rice grains floating, in order to prevent them from burning during the cooking process.
Once you’ve followed all the previous steps, and maybe added a few additional steps like soaking or spicing the rice, it’s time to start the cooking process. Make sure you follow the cooking instructions of your rice cooker. Details may vary between different brands and models.