Well, the question may seem awkward at first, that what you should do in order to buy a rice cooker. Obviously you should go to a store and buy one. Alas! Life is not that simple. You go for a snack, there are thousands available and similarly, you want to buy a decent rice cooker, there are hundreds available – Electronic, steam, solar, induction and a lot more.
Therefore, the question – How to Buy a Rice Cooker is not only valid but crucial for everyone who wants to make the purchase.
First of all, rice cooker nowadays is not ONLY a rice cooker as you can make soups, stews, steamed vegetables and snacks, desserts and hot cereals etc. too. The functionality also comes in a mosaic as the cookers have a lot more to them than just an on or off button with the technological modernization of the kitchen.
Basic features to look after while making the rice cooker purchase:
The very first feature will be the size of the cooker as well as the cup that comes with it. The size of the cooker is important as it should not only be enough for the family size; but also for the times when you have guests.
The size of the cooker comes in the terms of cups. If a rice cooker label says that the capacity is 5 cups, then it doesn’t mean that you can put 5 cups of UNCOOKED rice in it. It means that the cooker will be yielding 5 cups of COOKED rice in one cycle. Hence, don’t get confused and buy a cooker which is not fit for your needs.
The next feature to be counted while buying the cooker is the Japanese and US cup size. The US Cup size is more (240 ml) than the Japanese Cup Size (200 ml). It is important that you make the purchase keeping this in mind.
Now, coming to the types of the rice cookers, we have the basic ones with the simple functionalities and the fuzzy ones which come with the intelligent cooking.
On/Off Rice Cookers: These rice cookers come with the basic functionality of the ON/OFF button. These rice cookers don’t have a light to indicate the on or off functions. You just switch on the cooker when the rice is put for cooking and the rice cooker gets switched off when the cooking is done. The on/off cookers will come sans the steamer basket and the non – stick pans.
Needless to say, they are the least expensive ones (Approx $20).
Cook and Keep Warm:
These cookers are to be unplugged in case they are to be powered off. They come with the inbuilt feature of “Keep Warm”. Once the rice is cooked, the temperature is reduced till it reaches a warm level and the rice is kept warm after that. You have to UNPLUG them in case you wish to stop the “Keep Warm”.
These cookers can come with the non – stick pans and steamer baskets and are available at the price of 40 to 70 dollars.
Keep Warm Electronic Cookers:
These rice cookers come with the functionality of keep warm for 12 hours. They get off once the rice is cooked and the heat is retained for around 12 hours. These cookers are the best ones in case you have a rice-loving family in which each member eats at different times.
They may cost you around 100 dollars.
After having covered the basic cookers, let us come to the domain of the Intelligent Cookers.
Fuzzy Logic Rice Cookers:
These cookers employ the techniques of the fuzzy logic to make the rice cooking and the cookers more efficient and diverse. These cookers can also be used to make porridge, soups, brown rice and even for the different kinds of rice texture.
Induction Heating Rice Cookers:
This is the best rice cooker available in the market. These cookers are very expensive and are generally not used by the majority of the households. If, however, the money is NOT a question for you, you can easily purchase this. If there is any measuring error even then the cooker will deliver the evenly cooked rice which has been cooked properly. With all the stand alone features, the cooker comes at a standalone price too.
Other features to consider for purchasing the Rice Cooker:
Always go for the non – stick pan. This will save you a lot of time while cleaning the cooker. I mean if you don’t want to spend more time in COOKING, then you certainly won’t want to spend more time in cleaning.
Generally, the cookers come with a metal lid. If you are comfortable in spending a few extra bucks on the lids of clear glass or clear plastic, you should. Otherwise, go with the regular one.
Some rice cookers come with the functionality of steaming the vegetables along with the rice cooking. The steaming can be done after the rice has been cooked or you can do the steaming alone. Various types of plastic and metal perforated trays are available with the cookers. Some trays are big and sit on the top of the cooker so that the vegetables can be steamed while the rice is being cooked and the others are small ones which sit on the heating element.
This feature has been introduced for the popular Asian Breakfast porridge. You can also cook some other slow cooking cereals in this cycle.
This is used to warm the already cooked rice or food items and keep them at the same temperature for 5 – 10 minutes.
You can also set the texture of the cooked rice using this functionality. The available options are softer, regular and firmer.
So, folks, this completes the answer of the question – How to buy a Rice Cooker.