5 Things to look for in a Rice Cooker!

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A rice cooker is one of the most versatile and useful additions to your home kitchen, and even an excellent choice for on the road and dorm room cooking.

Shopping for the best rice cooker can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for and the plethora of options available doesn’t make the experience any easier. In this article, we’ll ease your buying decision by highlighting 5 things to look for when in the market for a rice cooker.

The rice cooker has really come a long way ever since its inception in 1937, which was nothing more than a wooden box with two electrodes. A few years later in 1945, the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation took this novel idea and produced the first commercial rice cooker.

In these early phases of development, electric rice cookers simply heated the rice and turned off the heater when a certain temperature was reached, which often resulted in undercooked rice. The Toshiba Electric Corporation stepped it up a few notches in 1956 by releasing the first automated rice cooker to the market, which used the double-chamber indirect rice cooking technique.

1. First Things First – Size

Rice cookers generally measure size by the cup, and can be ordered from TopProducts.com starting from 3 cups to 10 cups. But the tricky aspect to note with regards to size is the difference between Japanese and US cup size, where the former cup size is 240 ml and the latter 200 ml. Most rice cookers come with a plastic measuring cup to avoid guesswork, where 1 cup of uncooked rice yields 1 1/2 cup of cooked rice.

2. Types of Rice Cooker

The features of rice cookers play an important role towards the price, and even though there are several different types of rice cookers, the three most common types are:

  • On/Off Rice Cookers – perhaps the most basic and inexpensive type of rice cookers you get your hands on, this category of rice cooking appliances are highly flexible and automatically switch off when the rice is done. They aren’t in most cases equipped with a light to indicate when cooking is done or non-stick pans. So if all you want to cook is rice, then on/off rice cookers are a great choice.
  • Cook and Keep Warm – just as the name suggests, this type of rice cookers reduces the heat when the rice is done, and maintains it at a “warm” temperature. This means that the rice is always fresh and ready to be served when you’re ready.
  • Electronic Cook and keep Warm – a little more expensive than the aforementioned types of rice cookers, these rice cookers are generally appointed with all the bells and whistles. They cook and keep the rice warm for up to 12 hours, making them a great choice for households that eat a lot of rice.

In addition to the type of rice cooker you choose, you will need to consider the type of pan and lid. If you’d like to cook rice quickly and cleanup just as fast, buy a rice cooker with a non-stick pan. Most if not all basic rice cookers are outfitted with a metal lid, but the best rice cookers are fitted with a clear glass or clear plastic lid.

4. Advanced Technology and Features

Once you have decided the type of rice cooker that you want to get, there are advanced features that can make your cooking experience even better.

  • Fuzzy Logic Rice Cookers – rice cookers with basic fuzzy logic technology offer a plethora of great features including settings for hard or soft rice texture, soup or porridge, brown or sushi rice.
  • Induction Heating – some of the most state of the art machines you can get your hands on and as you may have guessed don’t come cheap. They are infused with technology that delivers evenly, properly cooked rice each time. If you’re looking for the best rice cookers for the job, these are it.
  • Steamer Trays– these trays allow you do much more than cook rice in your rice cooker such as steam vegetables. These multiple steamer baskets or perforated trays are placed above the rice, allowing you to steam as the rice cooks.

5. Safety Features

Safety is an important aspect of any electronic appliance. Safety features to look for in rice cookers include a fuse protector that prevents possible fires, and an auto cord reel that keeps the cord out of the way.

In closing, when shopping for a rice cooker, it is important to consider the size, features and your budget to get the right one for your needs.

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Jan 31, 2017