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Cho vs. the Rice Cooker

I don't believe in rice cookers. I know how to make rice, dammit. But I scorch it maybe 4 to 6 times per year, so the Mr. bought me a rice cooker to prevent this calamity. To put this statistic in perspective, you should note that I make rice an average of twice a week ... . He was tactful enough, at least, not to buy it as a Mother's Day or birthday gift - but enough of a guy to proudly point out that he hadn't bought it for that sort of occasion.

But I digress.

Anyway, tonight, because our stove is dead (it's a sordid tale involving mice, and a socket wrench, and old wiring ... don't ask), I was forced to use the rice cooker.

I managed to scorch the rice.

I think the problem was that I left it on "warm" too long - the manual didn't give any estimates for how long it would take the rice to cook, so I ended up having to let it sit while the meat finished cooking. But let me tell you, I felt a really bizarre sort of triumph in pointing out to the Mr. that rice cookers do not prevent scorched rice ... .



( 64 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2008 02:14 am (UTC)
Personally, I consider the ability to burn anything, no matter the circumstances, to be a valuable gift. Then again, I come from a gene pool where A Person Who Is Not Me once managed to light a box of Hi-C on fire...
Jul. 2nd, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)

A box of Hi-C? Now, that sounds like a really juicy story ... and no, I didn't mean that to be quite the grisly pun it turned out to be!

Jul. 2nd, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
It involved a Texas summer, a microwave, a 13 year old boy with hormones, a cute neighbor(err...bearing in mind that our "block" is a circular mile) girl who was thirsty after riding her bike, and the only non-frozen drink options being water, milks and tea, with all the juice packs frozen.

The 16 year old hadn't been made aware there was even a cute neighbor girl in the house until she heard "MYLES! I THINK IT'S ON FIRE!"
(no subject) - chomiji - Jul. 2nd, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - meganbmoore - Jul. 2nd, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chomiji - Jul. 2nd, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
...scorched, on warm?

Is this cooker an American brand, perchance? I've never, ever, had anything scorch in my rice cooker, not even when left on "warm" for hours on end...but mine's a slightly higher-end Sanyo. The only time I've had an American rice cooker was a small Salton that I got when I first moved away from home -- those were the days before internet ordering and I didn't know where any Asian stores in Philadelphia were hiding, and this was the first thing I managed to find that at least LOOKED like a proper rice cooker, instead of some weird plasticky electric steamer or microwave cooker. It worked adequately, utterly no-frills mind you, but it wore out after a few years; at that point I went looking for a *good* Japanese one like I was used to.

...but even that cheapo thingie never scorched rice. I don't think I've ever even seen scorched rice, come to think of it; did it actually burn? Or do you mean just a thin, lightly browned-crusty bit on the very bottom of the pan? That can happen if it sits on warm for too long, although in my cooker that would pretty much require forgetting about it for hours on end...but I don't think of that as "scorched" since it's not burnt and unpalatable. Koge's the good part! ;)

(Me, I believe in rice cookers because I grew up in Hawai'i and EVERYONE there has them; it was a serious culture shock to move here and find people who didn't own rice cookers, or maybe had one but used it so infrequently that it didn't live right out on the kitchen counter, where rice cookers obviously belong -- I'd gladly live without a microwave before going without mine! I can cook stovetop if I must, but can't see why I would ever want to -- the cookers are familiar and reliably perfect, and I make rice often enough that the "set and forget" convenience is most appreciated. And now that I have one with a timer function, I'm even more spoiled -- if anything ever happens to my little Sanyo, I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to one without...)

Anyway, how long before a replacement stove comes in? If you're gonna be stuck for a few days, I can loan you a slow cooker -- unlike the typical crockpot this one has a high heat setting that will actually let you bring stuff to a boil, and the base works as an electric griddle...
Jul. 2nd, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)

Oh, it's definitely a U.S. brand - Oster. For an engineer, the Mr. can be shockingly blasé about trying to get the best model - I'm the one who usually does all that research with the Consumer Reports and stuff.

Well, I guess I mean the okoge stuff. I love rice, but it's not part of my cultural heritage in any way, shape, or form ... unless you want to count the proverbial fondness of U.S. Jewish folks for Chinese food (and I'm not sure that's proverbial anywhere except among ourselves). I'll eat it when it's like that, but the other two make faces at it!

I generally don't cotton to gadgets of any kind ... we have a stand mixer (bought second hand), but I've never used it, and my little electric hand mixer (which I only own because an old friend was horrified to find I didn't have one) has been used maybe 15 times in the 20+ years I've had it. I whip/beat stuff with a wire whisk - I own three of those! I don't even use the nuke that much, except for fozen peas when I'm feeling lazy and heating up leftovers for snacks. (Oh, and for making cornmeal mush, which is a special treat for me ... heh, the rice cooker might be good at that ... .)

Re timing on the stove - God only knows. He's waffling back and forth - maybe there'll be a sale this weekend because of the 4th? And I'm feeling curiously Zen about the whole subject. Part of the issue is that this stove is so old that it's wired into the electrical system, so we'll need an electrician - not just to buy a new stove. But thanks very much for the offer of the cooker - I might take you up on it this weekend.

(Hey, you wanna come watch our July 4th parade? We have a really good one. I think my sister and her family are coming, but I already warned them that I can't feed them brunch - usually Kat gives us brunch on July 4, but they're still back in Scandanavia this year.)

(no subject) - smillaraaq - Jul. 2nd, 2008 04:39 am (UTC) - Expand
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Almost forgot.. - smillaraaq - Jul. 2nd, 2008 04:51 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Almost forgot.. (Gravi + Saiyuki) - chomiji - Jul. 18th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)
Oooh, I love that chewy browned rice from the bottom of the cooker. That's the "okoge", and it's even tastier and crunchier when you make rice in a traditional pot. (Believe it or not, burnt rice is desirable and is often found as a garnish on an otherwise boring bowl of rice.) And it's rather amusing that since "okama" ("iron pot") is slang for a gay man, then "okage" (something that sticks to the rice pot) is slang for a women who likes gay men...
Jul. 1st, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
We should join forces and steal all her unappreciated koge! XD
Jul. 1st, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
And have her burn more deliciousness for us! I can never seem to get it to burn *enough* in my cute new rice cooker.
(no subject) - smillaraaq - Jul. 1st, 2008 10:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 2nd, 2008 12:58 am (UTC)

LOL! Sanada-san, you are the most educational person I know! The things I learn from you! Do I want to know why okama is slang for a gay man?

The brown stuff on the bottom was actually quite tasty, IMO, but bear in mind that I used Basmati rice, so it probably wasn't very Japanese in flavor. Yes, the times when I've scorched it in a plain ol' Revereware steel/copper pot, it's definitely been crunchier.

(I'm making you the same offer I made smilla re coming to see the Tacky Park July 4 parade, BTW ... it will definitely be a family affair, but it's also a great funky parade, featuring everything from Cub Scouts to Caribbean carnival dancers in shiny skimpy costumes.)

Jul. 1st, 2008 03:44 am (UTC)
I have a cookbook called the Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook!

It is, alas, in a box somewhere in the garage at the moment...
Jul. 2nd, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)

A likely excuse! Humph!


Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:03 am (UTC)
Hey! You are PERFECTLY welcome to come over here and dig through the bookboxes! XD

(I finally managed to get an in to the image I wanted to do for you for Sweet Charity, so it should hopefully be done by the end of this weekend! XD)
(no subject) - chomiji - Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:52 am (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 1st, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
I used to feel as you do, that I can make rice perfectly well in a saucepan so why the heck would I need a rice cooker?

And then I got a rice cooker. I don't have to fuss with the burner level. I don't have to set a timer. If I go down to the basement and ose track of time and stay there for forty five minutes and don't hear the timer, it's no problem. Yeah, sometimes the bottom layer gets a little brown and crispy. Eh.

I can also safely tell the paidhi kids to make rice--they'll eat brown rice all by itself, for a snack--by themselves. And brown rice? I always scorch on the stove. Comes out perfect in the rice cooker.

I love my rice cooker.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)

But Cho Girl (a/k/a the Young Lady) is plenty big enough to make her own ramen noodles on the stove ... if we only had a functional stove! And I can't make my family eat brown rice. They are anti-health-food. It's a pain.

The trouble is, if I'm cooking rice, I'm probably cooking at least one other thing (and usually two), so I need to be in the kitchen anyway. Right now, I don't really have enough counter space to leave it out, either, and that's probably a good part of my general gadget-phobia - I don't like having to pull things (rice cooker, electric mixer) out of the pantry and set them up.

Jul. 2nd, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)
Hmmmmmmm...y'know, I have both an English-style electric teakettle, and a Japanese airpot, as well as a functional microwave and stove and miniature coffeemaker (which only ever gets used with the loose-tea basket instead...gift from a friend to add to my scary Hello Kitty collection). So while I am definitely a tea junkie, I'm probably more than adequately set for means to boil water. Would you like to borrow the kettle or airpot? Either one will work quite nicely to boil water faster than the microwave in quantities more than sufficient to cook instant noodles (or fast-cooking non-instant like somen). The airpot's water-level indicator is broken and the labeling is completely English-free, but it's super-easy to use, I can explain it to you in about thirty seconds. Heck, if your boiling-water needs are high enough, I could honestly live without both for a while -- it won't kill me to have to get up and walk ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE APARTMENT TO THE KITCHEN, OH NOES when I want a cuppa. :)

I hear you on the counter-space contributing to gadget-phobia -- I don't mind the footprint lost to things I use constantly, like the rice cooker, but for the most part I don't want to waste limited space on something that only does one thing, especially when it's a thing I don't make very often. The bread machine, an older Zojirushi I found at a thrift shop, is basically there to automate dough-kneading and rising since my wrists aren't up to kneading by hand; the stand mixer gets used largely for the dough hook for larger batches of bread, the various grater/slicer/juicer accessories when I'm doing something in sufficiently large quantities that my hands get worn out slicing, etc. by hand, and mixing for much the same sort of reasons -- if I'm just scrambling an egg I'll whisk by hand, but if I'm making a huge batch of meringue for a pavlova I use the mixer...
Jul. 30th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
I totally agree!
I loooove my rice cooker...and especially when I use it to make brown rice. I've actually never tried to cook rice in a saucepan (although my mother keeps insisting that I learn how) just b/c I have this amazing Zojirushi cooker:


I've found Zojirushi to be an excellent brand. Have you found any other brands that are good?
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)

When I've done it, it's usually because I've either (a) become mixed up with the stove knobs again (the now-defunct stove has a non-intuitive arrangement of knobs) or (b) become distracted for a few too many minutes with something else (like, maybe, this computer, which is in the room next to the kitchen ... ). But as I pointed out, we're talking less than 5% of the time ... I'm usually considered a good although rather rough-and-ready cook (think pot roast and home-made biscuits rather than French haute cuisine ... and I make great mashed potatoes, much in demand at family holiday meals).

Jul. 1st, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
...thinking about the unlimitted amout of disasters a ricecooker (or any other kind of specialized coking device, except my toastmachine) in my kitchen could lead to was really really scary.

But then again, pots and pans and (according to the guy) a Weber is all you need to cook. Rice made on a Weber (or whatever brand) is actually really nice. you should try it^^

By the way; http://www.geocities.com/wanderingleopard/foodanddrink.html#frikadeller
The you can cook them for the Mr.
Personally I would use two onions and oatflakes instead of breadcrumbs.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:15 am (UTC)

LOL - baking stuff on a Weber could be a challenge! (Actually, I've made biscuits - the scone type, not the cookies - with a campfire in my Girl Scouts days, long ago. But it certainly isn't my preferred modus operandi for baking!)

Ooooh, thanks for the recipe! The only problem I can see is that they're going to need to be fried for a pretty long time to get done enough all the way through. What exactly do you mean by oatflakes? Prepared oat breakfast cereal flakes? Dry porridge oatmeal?

Jul. 2nd, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
Actually, there's this guy who's a regular costumer at my dad's butcherstore who cooks everything on the Weber. Even cake. pretty wierd if you ask me. but each to their own^^

the time it takes frying them, depends on how large they are. if you don't want to spend too much time frying, you can cheat a little and just fry them untill they get a little color and then put them in the oven in a little water (max one cm.) for half an hour.

*grabs dictionary* um, dry porridge oatmeal. That's the only thing we have here^^ it's nice to eat with milk on as breakfast too.
Jul. 1st, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
See, now I must know what happened to your stove. I can understand the socket wrench and the old wiring, but... mice?

Rice cookers are for wimps: two cups of water, one cup of rice, 16 minutes.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)

Well ... it's not nearly as exciting as it sounds. There was a funny smell in the kitchen when we came back from vacation, seemingly emanating from the stove, and I knew we had at least one mouse, and I thought maybe it had died inside the stove while we were gone ... so we took it apart (hell, we managed to fix the clothes dryer a couple of times) ... and now it's broken (we also discovered that the mouse - or mice - had been nesting very messily in the insulation ... it was gross). (Cue that wah, wah, wa-a-a-ah! sound from awkward moments in classic Looney Tunes cartoons ... .)

Yes, I usually use those proportions - maybe a little more water if the rice seems dry (I'm using long-grain Basmati, which seems to want a little more water), but I do it by appearance: bring it to a brisk boil, then lower the heat to half and simmer until the top gets "cratered," then put a lid on and lower to heat to barely "warm" and just let it sit for 15-20 minutes.

Jul. 2nd, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
When I'm not using a rice cooker I use the proportions and cooking time from my copy of The Chine Moon Cookbook. I've forgotten the exact proportions, but you bring it to a good boil, turn it to low with the lid on for 15 minutes, then pull it off the heat and let sit, covered, for 20. It's almost always perfect.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 03:14 am (UTC)
Do you soak the rice first? That can be particularly helpful with brown rice or anything else you find tends to come out a little dryer than you like...

(Rice is SRS BZNESS, etc. *grin*)
(no subject) - chomiji - Jul. 2nd, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smillaraaq - Jul. 2nd, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
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