The rice cooker is very convenient to use especially during your temporal lodgings away from home. It is also an adaptable home appliance as it can be used for more than rice cooking. This buying guide will help you identify the three basic types of rice cookers out there and also give you some useful tips to help you make a quick buying decision.
Conventional rice cookers have a heating element at the bottom of the appliance. Once the cooker is set to cook, it simple heats up the food container up to a fixed cooking time, after which the cooker turns off and simple keeps the food warm until it is turned off. It is not good to leave the cooker on "warm" for too long as it will dry up the food. Conventional rice cookers are good for cooking white rice. Cooking brown rice may be more difficult. It is usually easier using a micro-computerized rice cooker or a pressure cooker for brown rice.
Micro-computerized rice cookers are equipped with a computer chip and heating elements at the bottom and the sides of the cooking pan. Instead of using a direct heating mechanism, these cookers use fuzzy logic. The fuzzy logic will first warm the food, cook it at varying temperatures, and finally warm again. The cooking process takes longer than cooking with a conventional cooker, but the food cooks better. Micro-computerized rice cookers can cook all types of rice without manual intervention. They their advanced settings, they can also be used for quick cooking, slow cooking, cooking porridge, cooking soup, steaming food, setting the time for cooking to complete, etc.
With induction heating rice cookers, almost all the energy generated is directly transferred to the cooking pot. The cooking pot must be mainly iron-based (e.g. made from cast iron) for the heat transfer to be effective. With induction heating, the cooker pot acts as a heat conductor such that the whole pot gets heated up immediately the pot makes contact with the induction heater. Other non-iron parts of the cooker still stay cool. Inductive rice cookers cook faster and more evenly than micro-computerized ones. However, induction cookers weigh heavier and consume much more electricity.
Non-stick containers are easier to clean but stainless-steel containers are more durable. Some plastic containers are also microwaveable. Check if the container can be used in your dishwasher if you require this function.
Some rice cookers are designed to be also used as a steamer. Others have steaming pans which sit directly on top as the rice gets cooked. Some have a steaming tray that sits below the rice container, just above the heating element.
Some rice cookers can cook up to 3 cups while others can cook up to 10 cups. Commercial-grade rice cookers can cook 40 cups and over.
- Tight sealing lid - Convenient handles - Spatula and rice measuring cup added - Removable power cord
Conventional rice cookers are the cheapest. Micro-computerized rice cookers typically cost more but an inductive heating rice cooker is the most expensive type to buy. In choosing a rice cooker, you have to consider the number of servings you typically need, how often you need to use the cooker and the range of items you typically want to cook it with.