As the name of the rice cooker says, its purpose is quite clear – cooking rice. But not everyone knows how does a rice cooker work and what else you can do with it.
Although they look complex, rice cookers are actually simple yet revolutionary cooking wonders and their operation is pretty simple to understand:
First, the cooker heats up the water until it reaches 212°F or 100°C and starts to boil. Once it starts to boil, it can’t get any hotter. When the water is gone and is absorbed by the rice, the temperature begins to rise and the rice cooker notices this. Then the machine turns off the cooking and goes into keep warm mode.
The physics behind it is a bit complex but if you want to dive into the subject behind it, start with this Wikipedia article and this video below:
Do note that is how all rice cookers work. Some have other more fancy features like fuzzy logic and induction heating but they still operate on this principle.
Let’s see how these 2 types work
Fuzzy Logic Rice Cookers
What Is a Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker?
This type of rice cooker uses fuzzy logic to adjust cooking time and temperature to cook rice.
This makes them more robust, versatile, and accurate.
These kinds of rice cookers are perfect for making various types of rice that are otherwise difficult to cook properly like jasmine and GABA.
What Is Fuzzy Logic in Simple Words?
Fuzzy logic is a computer logic system that, unlike Boolean logic which has only the values 0 (off) and 1 (on), has many values.
In this terms of rice cookers, this means that the cooker knows the rice isn’t cooked yet but it won’t cook it at full blast because then the rice will become too hard/soft but it will drop the heat a little bit to achieve the perfect texture and taste.
Induction Heating (IH) Rice Cookers
This type of rice cookers is the most advanced one and uses induction heating to cook the rice.
Other rice cookers heat the inner pot from a heating plate or element below it. IH rice cookers, on the other hand, use the pot itself as a heating element.
They do this by creating a magnetic field around the pot.
This type of cooking has several advantages:
- Better heat distribution as the heat is spread across the whole bowl evenly, including the sides
- Faster heat ups and cool downs
- Increased and finer temperature control
How Rice Cooker Works Diagram
Do Rice Cookers Really Work?
Everything explained above is completely real and is based on real science. It’s not an ingenious marketing gimmick tricking you into buying rice cookers.
Let Us Break Down a Rice Cooker to Better Understand This
PREFACE: How Often Do We Face The Problem Of Improperly Prepared Rice?
Sometimes it looks like gruel and gets sticky. And sometimes, the rice is undercooked. As a result, the whole dish is not as it should be, and has a bad appearance.
A rice cooker is a device that avoids the listed problems. It significantly simplifies the cooking process.
This amazing kitchen appliance comes in handy, especially when cooking Asian cuisine.
The first rice cooker appeared in Japan in the early 1950s. It became a necessary tool for cooks because it facilitated their life.
Moreover, rice is a staple food in all Asian countries. After the appearance of the first rice cooker, it started to gain popularity among rice lovers.
The machine for domestic use can cook from 2 to 10 servings of rice, while a professional one allows you to make up to 60 portions in one session.
Parts of Rice Cooker and Their Functions
A rice cooker (the machine itself, without accessories) consists of an inner pot, a thermostat, a heating element, a control panel, and the main body that holds them all together.
The only thing you have to do to cook rice is to place it into the pan and add water.
To avoid mistakes in the preparation of rice, you can use a measuring cup (all rice cookers come with one). Some models also have measuring lines inside the pot. It helps to estimate the amount of water.
If you don’t have the cup and the pot doesn’t have markers, don’t worry. The water level in the cooker should be a little above the rice.
The inner pot is a bowl that holds the rice and water – it has the same function as cookware on the stove.
It regulates the temperature and turns on and off the cooker.
This is the part that actually heats the bowl.
Here you turn on/off the machine, set the timer, what type of rice to cook, etc.
A container that holds all of the above together in one unit.
What Else Can You Cook In A Rice Cooker?
A lot of people think that the only thing a rice cooker can do is prepare rice. But they are wrong.
Rice cooker options vary by manufacturer.
Some models are designed only for preparing and heating rice, but they are relatively inexpensive. But besides them, there are advanced models of rice cookers. They, like multicookers, can cook not only rice but also other not complicated dishes.
For example, using a rice cooker, you can cook porridge from pumpkin, buckwheat, millet, etc.
You can also warm up not only previously cooked rice but also any other food in this device.
The added function – pressure cooking – allows for cooking rice quickly. Using the texture mode, you can cook firm rice for salads or soft to fill pies or sushi.
The Keep warm function makes it possible to keep brown or white rice warm for some time.
There are situations when dinner is ready, but we cannot start eating as we wait for someone. And the function allows us to keep warming the dish.
Thanks to the rice cooker, I can cook a delicious pilaf, putting meat, onions, carrots, and other needed ingredients together with rice. I can also prepare rice for making sushi in this device.
So, the useful functions that many professional models of rice cookers should include:
- Keep warm mode that allows you to heat the cooled rice to the desired temperature
- Porridge setting for preparing rice for breakfast
- Pressure cooker function, which speeds up the cooking process
- Automatic shutdown
- A fuse that protects the device in the event of an emergency
- Automatic cord reel or a detachable cord, which hides it and makes cleaning much simpler and safer.
What Should I Know When Choosing A Rice Cooker?
When choosing a rice cooker, it is better to look for devices with:
- Non-stick coated bowls
- Measuring lines that facilitate the process of starting the device
- A timer
- Keep warm function to keep rice and other dishes warm
- Inner lid that you can easily remove for cleaning
As you see, a rice cooker is an irreplaceable assistant in every kitchen. And I can use it not only for cooking rice but also for many other dishes.
And now, when you know how a rice cooker works, you can try to use it. You can find many delicious recipes of Asian cuisine and try to cook it at home. Besides, you can become a true sushi master with little effort in no time.