stainless steel rice cooker

on my quest to replace all that is aluminum in my kitchen, i finally got the ok from hubs to get myself a stainless steel rice cooker. the rice cooker is probably the most used appliance in this house do to the oriental nature of my family. i am not of asian decent, but it seems to have been my fortune to have many asians in my group of friends. in high school my best friend was of phillipino descent. i went from hating rice (milk, sugar, butter) to loving it in a more savory design. i ate rice so often at her house after school, that she and her mother bought me my first rice cooker for Christmas one year. it was small and just perfect for a single gal and i used it often throughout the first several years of my single adulthood.

when i met my husband, who is half korean, i was already on my way to being able to prepare the meals he was accustomed to. his mother was actually quite amazed that i already owned a rice cooker - being a white girl and all--but was soon pleased to realize that i loved my cooker and i loved learning to cook for my hubs. a year or two in, my rice cooker sprung a leak and my mother-in-law was kind enough to give us a rather large replacement. i have used that cooker until it's nearly got nothing left coating the pan.

while trying to get rid of the aluminum in the house, this was one of the last things to go--both because of the frequency in which it is used and because getting a stainless replacement was not easy or cheap. the other option was to learn to cook rice without it. i have actually done this, but knowing the extent of my laziness, i knew this wasn't going to be a viable option in the long run.

i researched the internet and shopped the asian grocery stores and was very limited in what i discovered. i found a "miracle" stainless cooker. it looked promising; however, if you're used to the cool touch, airtight standard rice cooker, this one is very different. it more resembles a standard stove-top steamer. it has a lid, but it's not hinged or attached in any way. it lays on the pan just like the pots most are used to using on the stove. after reading hundreds of reviews, i also found out that this little gem spits water out the steam hole unless you keep the steamer in it at all times during cooking. i'm sure this will work, but it just wasn't an option. not only did i want simple and easy, but i wanted to make sure if i decided to get a rice cooker for a family member, that they would be equally as pleased with the design, so i went back to my search.

i found another model that more typifies the asian standard, the TAYAMA. i also almost ordered it, but alas there were some complications with the manufacturer and apparently it's not available right now. when i spoke to several retailers, none were able to tell me when it would again be available for purchase. a few reviews had also expressed problems with the design and the replacement protocols when there were problems.

the aroma NutriWare varieties (i found two) looked promising; however, they appeared to be designed much like the miracle rice cooker. i presumed it might have the steam squirting problem and it was much more expensive than all other options i found.

finally, after hours of searching, i found one last option at qvc.com. the OYAMA brand. i have no idea whether this is a replacement for the aforementioned tayama or if they might be affiliated in any way, but the specs are very similar and the OYAMA had everything i was looking for. it comes with the steam tray, the stainless steel inner parts and they even had two sizes to choose from. i decided on the 7-cup which makes enough rice for our family of 4 to have one meal. if you have a larger family or want leftovers more often, get the 10 cup. it would be worth the extra money.

the things i've noticed after using this cooker for several weeks is that it works more efficiently than my old one. i don't know if this is merely a difference in age or if the brands are that much remarkably different, but i do know this cooker reheats more efficiently and cooks much faster than the cooker it replaced. some will tell you in reviews that rice sticks to this pan. i don't think it sticks any more or any less than my previous cooker. because it stuck to my old cooker, i often found myself scrubbing it and causing the coating to peel more quickly. after reading many tips and reviews i found that cleaning this pan was a breeze if you put water in the pan and return it to the cooker base and allow the cooker to heat it for a half hour or so. then use a non-abrasive scrubber (i use a veggie brush) to clean the remnants out of the pan.

the water amounts are a bit of an adjustment and i did not get good rice using the manufacturers recommendations, but i do know that the "cup" measurements used are not equivalent to standard American "cups", so i just used my old measurements and adjusted a bit until i got it right. if you do wind up using too little water, you can add more and cook again. you won't get the best results this way, but you will get soft edible rice. if you add too much water, so long as the rice isn't swimming around in the pot, you can fluff the rice and allow it to sit for awhile in the hot pot and some of the water should cook off. for the 7-cup cooker, i use 3 American cups of dry rice to 4 - 4.25 cups of water. i use the lines on the inside of the cooker and get great results every time.

my mother-in-law always uses her hand to measure. she puts her hand flat on the rice and the water level should come just over the largest knuckle on the hand. this works to help you get the basics down, but i find it's not always exact, so i only used it as a start to get my baseline.

bottom line - if you're looking for a new stainless steel rice cooker, i have nothing but good things to say about this one. i can't speak for the instructions, because i didn't really use them. i can't say much about the steamer tray because i haven't used this either. one thing i would mention about the steamer tho, if you're a family of 4 and you were thinking of getting the smaller cooker, but also want to use the steamer, stop and rethink. i would presume that you might want to get the bigger one. there's not enough room in my cooker to cook a full pot of rice AND steam veggies or fish at the same time. if i did both, there would probably only be enough rice for me and hubs.

(click to enlarge photos)

1 remarks: on "stainless steel rice cooker"

Anonymous said...

Exactly the information I was looking for! Thank you!!! -Dara

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