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What Do You Cook in your Rice Cooker (besides rice!)?

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  • What Do You Cook in your Rice Cooker (besides rice!)?

    It surprised the heck out of me to learn, just a few years ago, that people cook stuff in their rice cookers besides just rice. I heard Sam Choy telling someone that when he was in college, he would whip up corned beef hash and eggs for the guys in the dorm. I've heard others tell similar stories. Once, I went to a potluck and someone brought a delicious soup kept warm in his rice-warmer.

    So what do you cook, besides rice, in your rice cooker?

    Here's something a friend and I invented a few years ago. I just love it. It's our local version of risotto. Risotto, as you know, is usually made with arborio rice, cooked on the stove-top, as chicken broth is added gradually (so as not to release the glutins from the rice and make it sticky). When it's great, it's usually creamy and flavorful. Our version manages to be creamy, flavorful, and sticky. There's a lot of room for experimentation, too.

    Rice-Pot Risotto
    (a recipe by Valerie and Mitchell)

    • 2 cups medium-grain white rice
    • 2 chicken breasts or thighs
    • 2 regular-size cans of chicken broth (fat-free works great)
    • 1 large can of whole tomatoes (Progresso brand is really best)
    • 2 large spoonsful of riccota cheese (more or less)
    • 1 small (or large) handful of grated cheddar cheese (optional, really, but use it)
    • 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
    • a few pinches of fresh or dried herbs to taste. I prefer fresh basil and oregano for this recipe, but you can't go wrong with anything you like, really.
    • fresh black pepper, if you've got it.

    Cooking directions:
    1. Wash and prepare the rice, as you normally would.
    2. Put rice in rice pot. Add chicken broth.
    3. Chop chicken into quarter-inch (or so) cubes. Add to rice pot.
    4. Chop, slice, mash, or puree tomatoes and add them to rice pot. Valerie doesn't like them chunky, so when we make this together, we puree them. I prefer my tomatoes chopped roughly.
    5. Roughly chop or smash herbs and add to rice pot.
    6. Add tomato paste and stir gently. I actually recommend you use just a little bit of tomato paste and decide later if you like it more tomatoey. You can always add the tomato paste just before serving and it'll be fine.
    7. Start rice cooker. When the button pops up, let your rice sit, covered, for about twenty minutes.
    8. Carefully lift the lid. The concoction will appear to be much too liquidy at first, but basically the liquid stuff is just resting atop the rice. Using a wooden spoon, stir everything gently to work that liquid down into the rice. If it's still too wet, replace lid, hit button, and repeat the process. Now that everything's really hot, the button will pop back up in just a few minutes. Let sit for five or ten minutes and stir again.
    9. Add ricotta cheese and stir gently. Sprinkle with freshly-ground black pepper and grated cheddar cheese.
    10. Yum!

    My friend and I usually eat this as a main dish, but some of our friends like it better as a side. My guess is that if you like fried rice as a main dish, you'll like this the same way.

    If you give it a try, let me know what you think. Especially if you improve on our humble recipe!
    But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)

  • #2
    Re: What Do You Cook in your Rice Cooker (besides rice!)?

    Great. Now I'm hungry.

    Our rice cooker is one of those "fuzzy logic" half rice cooker, half slow coooker devices, so obviously there's quite a bit we can do. But yes, there's a lot of versatility even in the basic one-button model you can pick up for $19 at Daiei.

    A coworker of mine swears by the "shared rice cooker" strategy. He'll cook a batch of rice, along with a bunch of frozen vegetables and a pair of salmon steaks, and insists he gets out of one simple pot an entire meal.


    • #3
      Re: What Do You Cook in your Rice Cooker (besides rice!)?

      When I bought my rice cooker, it came with a steaming basket to put on top. I used to steam vegetables on top, or if I have it, I'll put some lup chong (sp?) on top. My mom used to just put the lup chong on top the rice after it was done cooking and just let em steam that way. But with my steaming basket, I can just put em on top and cook em at the same time!
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      • #4
        Re: What Do You Cook in your Rice Cooker (besides rice!)?

        if you are going to cook stuff in your rice cooker besides rice maybe you should think of using a crock pot instead. it is probably alot more versatile.
        Fair and Balanced