Anybody that knows how to cook rice probably learned to do it one of two ways. Either using a pot or a rice cooker appliance. Both of these methods leave a lot to be desired at times. This is because neither of these methods is an entirely efficient or convenient way of preparing rice. Then again nothing is ever entirely perfect. One thing is for sure. When dinner is ready, there is nothing worse than looking for cooked rice but finding none.
Using a pot to make your rice really is the old fashioned way of doing it. Not that there is anything wrong with being old fashioned. But for those of us with a busy lifestyle, it is not an ideal way to prepare rice because it takes a certain amount of time and attention to get it right. There can sometimes be inconsistent results when using this method as well.
The rice cooker appliance can provide more consistent results and more quickly than the pot does but there is a downside. For a decently sized, durable, name brand rice cooker it can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 dollars, depending on the quality of the appliance. Higher capacity models can cost in excess of $150. For those on a tight budget this can be a bit too much of an expense to justify when a pot can produce the same results.
This is where the microwave rice cooker has the advantage. We were skeptical of this little gadget at first glance. Microwaving rice? Could that really work? But surprisingly it has actually turned out to be one of our favorite time saving tools in the kitchen. Here is why.
The microwave rice cooker is more affordable than the rice cooker appliance. A typical microwave rice cooker costs between $15 and $20 dollars. This is considerably less than the rice cooker appliance. It actually costs about as much as a decent quality pot. Also like the rice cooker appliance, the microwave rice cooker can produce consistent and efficient results faster than rice cooked in a pot. It can take as few as 12 minutes to cook three to five servings of rice, depending on the quality of the microwave rice cooker and the power of the microwave you use. A typical microwave rice cooker is fairly easy to use too.
Your basic microwave rice cooker has three parts: the rice container, the lid and a ventilation valve of some kind. The lid can come in one or two parts. The general principle of this device is to boil the rice within the rice container under pressure, allowing only a small amount of water vapor to escape through the ventilation valve as it cooks. So in a way it operates in a similar manner as a pressure cooker.
You place the amount of rice you want in the container based on the instructions. Rinse the rice to remove the excess starch on the outside of the rice. Then add the right amount of water based on the amount of rice you are cooking. The instructions that come with the microwave rice cooker specifies how much water to use for the amount of rice you are cooking. Now snap on the lid and cook it in the microwave on high for however many minutes the instructions call for.
The result was surprisingly good. You end up with a full container of evenly cooked, steamed rice. Just be sure to follow the instructions and enjoy.
The microwave rice cooker has a tendency to overflow while cooking. So to avoid leaving a sticky, starchy mess in the bottom of the microwave, set the microwave rice cooker on a microwave safe plate when you cook it. To me this is a minor inconvenience to deal with when the rice cooker makes perfectly cooked rice in such a short amount of time.