Tell me about rice steamers

How to make rice:
[li]Put pot on stove [/li][li]Measure water[/li][li]Add salt, oil/butter/herbs/whatnot[/li][li]Boil water[/li][li]Measure rice[/li][li]Add rice[/li][li]Fluff with fork[/li][li]Enjoy![/li][/ul]

Well, that’s the basics anyway. So why are there plenty of folks out there willing to shell out $30 - $60 on a rice steamer? How do they work? Are they much better than cooking on the stove? Faster? Healthier? Cleaner? Deliciouser? Do you use the same type of rice? Are there rice varieties that can’t be cooked on the stove? Can I press a suit in there?

Hungrily anticipating replies…

I have a rice cooker which I use for sushi rice, which is a lot different from regular old Uncle Ben’s. Regular old white rice seems to do better in the pan (1 cu rice, 2 cu water, put in pan together, bring to boil, cover, reduce to very low simmer, turn off heat after 20 min., leave cover on another 10-15 min), but sushi rice does much better in the rice cooker. I attempted to make it on the stove once and it was terrible.

I use the little cup that came with the applicance and fill the water to their indicated line and it comes out great; except it will stay on warm indefinitely after the cooking’s done. After the cooking’s done and it has switched to warm, I leave it on warm for 10-15 minutes then switch it off and let it sit with the cover on for at least another 15 minutes, usually a lot longer, until it is room temp. You might find through trial and error that you want to switch yours off right after it’s through the cooking cycle. I have had lots of batches that were golden brown on the bottom.

The rice does stick to the bottom of the cooker, too; I have to scrub it out with steel wool after each use.

If I didn’t use it for the sushi rice, I don’t think it would be worth the cost.

I love my rice steamer! It also does a great job on steamed veggies.

I don’t have the problem AlaItalia does though. Mine isn’t on unless the timer is running and when it dings, the thing is off and that’s that.

I have a small stove so rangetop space is key- not having to use 1 burner (and the associated space) for rice is great. Not to mention it’s so simple (add rice, water, seasonings, press button), most models have a non-stick coating, and you can leave it running and it will automatically switch to “Warm” setting when done. It also makes corn on the cob relatively painless. And it eliminates the “is the rice ready yet? DO’H! I just let out the steam!” that I’ve had happen.

When I asked my husband and MIL if a rice cooker would make spanish rice just as well, they turned their noses up at the idea and insisted it wouldn’t work. I just thought it would be easier to throw all of the ingredients in, mix well, set the timer, go to work and by the time we come home all we have to do is fry up some pork chops. Does it make it just as well as a traditional rice pot? We make rice with equal parts of water and rice. Will I have to adjust the recipes? Will they still get the pecado, (sp?) the crunchy/burnt rice that they like to chew on? Sorry for all the questions, rice is a big deal to them. I miss potatoes or noodles with gravy sometimes.

Overall, at least with my cheap $20 steamer, it easier. The metal rice pot has the water measurements on the side. It came with a rice measuring cup. Measure water, dump in rice, push button, walkaway. The rice does stick on the bottom, but it’s a pretty cheap setup. You can cook any kind of rice you like, but I wouldn’t recommend that Minuterice crap and if you cook brown rice the water to rice scale may change. I like mine, I’ve had a couple. I definitely could live without it. Besides the rice pot and lid fit great in the fridge.

You all might want to check out the Rice Cooker Cookbook. I’ve got a copy and it’s fantastic, all sorts of one-dish meals.

I love my rice cooker, use it all the time. But I have one of the high-tech neurofuzzy models from Zojirushi. It senses moisture levels and cooks any type rice or grain. It also has a timer function so the rice (or oatmeal or whatever) is ready when I get home. It’ll keep the dish warm for hours for you. A caveat however, it is pretty expensive. There are plenty of cheaper, simple rice steamers out there. The above mentioned cookbook deals with both types, simple steamers and higher tech models. I wouldn’t be without one now.

Oops. Forgot to mention that mine has a non-stick pot. Cleanup is a breeze. Definitely go for non-stick.

I am simply incapable of cooking rice on a stovetop. No seriously, I am a very good cook in other respects but a failure at rice. I love my rice steamer. I use it mainly for short-grain rice, made somewhat sticky, what I like to call “Korean Restaurant rice.” I also use it as a steamer for veggies and pork buns, but mainly for rice. mmmmm, rice.

Oh, mine has the non-stick pot as well.

Black and Decker veggie steamer

It makes nice rice(takes longer than the stove though) and it’s cheaper than the Asian dedicated models. There are too many ways to screw up the rice on the stove-too hot, thin pan,thick pan, loose lid. Well, too many ways for me to screw it up :wink:

hmm, my rice cooker steps are somewhat simpler

pour in some rice (whatever looks good)

put hand flat on top of rice

pour till water covers just above second knuckle
(this took about 3 tries to get perfect- the man who sold it to me pointed to between the 1st and 2nd knuckle)

close lid

push button

eat when done
Ive NEVER measured and only had dry rice once in ~6 years of using it at least three times a week