A rice cooker or rice steamer is an automated kitchen appliance designed to steam,make or boil rice. The equipment consists of a heat source, a cooking bowl, and a thermostat. The thermostat measures the temperature of the cooking bowl and controls the heat which is seen on the display. Complex rice cookers may have many more sensors and other components, and may be multipurpose with other features like baskets on top.
Cooking rice has traditionally required constant attention to ensure the rice was properly cooked, and not burnt. Unlike traditional manual way of cooking rice the electric rice cookers automate the process by mechanically or electronically controlling heat and timing, thus it free up a heating element on the cooking range that had to be otherwise occupied for rice cooking.
Although the rice cooker does not necessarily speed up the cooking process, with an electric rice cooker the manual involvement in cooking rice is reduced to simply measuring the rice, preparing the rice properly and using the correct water quantity. Once the rice cooker is set to cook, the rice will be cooked with no further constant attention on it.
Depending on quantity to be cooked, it takes about 20 minutes to 1 hour for most electric rice cookers to complete cooking. Some advanced rice cookers come with a back-calculator that back calculates the cooking start time from given finish time. The time required for cooking rice depends on the quantity of rice, the power of the heating elements, and atmospheric pressure, thus it is not constant. Pressure-cooker models are not influenced by atmospheric pressure and these special features distinguish high-end models from lower-cost, simpler models.
Rice cookers are typically used in kitchen for the preparation of plain or lightly seasoned rice. Each rice cooker model may be optimized to cook a certain type of rice best like the most Japanese rice cookers are optimized for cooking Japanese rice and may not be the best for other types of rice, although cooking time can be lengthened simply by adding more water.
The typical method used for cooking long grain rice is boil-and-strain or steaming method. The absorption method used in rice cookers will produce slightly different texture and taste, usually stickier rice.
Brown rice generally needs longer cooking times than white rice, unless it is soaked, broken or flour blast.
A rice cooker can be used to cook many boiled or steamed granular foods, such as pot barley, bulgur wheat, and dal. Provided the ingredients have similar cooking times, a rice cooker can cook mixtures such as vegetable khichdi. Some rice cookers can be used as automated couscoussiere, cooking couscous and a stew simultaneously.
Some rice cookers are designed to accommodate a basket to steam vegetables, dumplings, buns, and so on in the steam coming off the rice.
Microwave Rice Cooker- A microwave rice cooker are containers designed specifically for cooking rice. Some containers consist of three parts , which are an outer bowl, a fitted lid with steam vents, and an inner bowl with a finely perforated base. Few of them have only one container and the double-layered lid fitted with a steam vent.