The Glorious Rice Cooker
I’d like to take a moment to talk about this often under appreciated ‘set and forget’ cooking appliance. Spending years living in various countries in Asia, I noticed this multi- tasking appliance in every families’ home, often taking precedent over cookers, always on, warming a pot of rice for any given meal. I wasn’t much into rice myself then but when I returned to the Western world I picked up a model with cooking functions for short and long grain rice, heat/simmer, steam and warm. I began experimenting a little, moving away from the traditional white stuff and on to other grains like brown, wild and red rice, barley, and (although not a grain) quinoa. Soon these healthy additions to my diet became a staple to my cooking and with the steaming feature quickly creating perfectly steamed veg, I was on my way to a healthier, leaner me. But the real reason I feel the rice cooker is truly glorious is because I discovered it can quickly and conveniently cook much more than grains and veg. I present to you the
Top 5 healthy foods that can be conveniently cooked in your rice cooker.
- MEAT– The size of the chunks will determine the cooking time but with a little experimentation you can sear some meat in a pan, wrap it up in tin foil and put it over your rice while it’s cooking for a healthy cooking option- Amazing right!
- EGGS– you can steam your eggs, shell on and all but it does take longer than a traditional boil so my preferred method is to crack a few eggs on the already cooked rice and put on the warm function until the eggs are set to my liking. Possibilities are endless to what you can add to this to make an easy all-in-one meal.
- SOUP– Although there are recipes to cook a soup from scratch with your rice cooker, for a quick and convenient soup, I choose to throw in a healthy(ish) canned soup and then simmer some fresh veg into it to pump up the nutrients- quick and delish!
- BEANS– For convenience, I choose a non soak bean variety such as adzuki or black turtle beans, give them a quick rinse, add water according to package instructions, set to the whole grain timer (60 min.) and get perfect beans without the fuss of checking the stove top. I always stick a stock cube in with it and you can add any herbs or spices you like to kick in some flavour.
- CAKE AND BANANA BREAD– Ok, This is not your standard ‘healthy’ food, but if you make a batter consisting of wholemeal or spelt flour and coconut oil or ghee as a butter substitute, then it could be deemed as a healthier option to normal cake. Just pour your batter into the nonstick bowl, stir in any additional ingredients you like such as nuts or dried fruit (maybe even some cheeky little chocolate chips) cook until toothpick runs clean and voila!- a steamed cooked cake!
These are just some of the simple ways you too can begin to experiment with this truly glorious appliance. If you’d like to check out some fun recipes to make complete meals with your rice cooker, check out this article from BuzzFeed.
Happy Rice Cookering!