Secrets of a lazy plant-based cook: Part 1 – the rice cooker

When you switch to a whole foods, plant-based diet, you will eat a lot of whole grains and they almost all require cooking. Luckily there’s a gadget that can handle all the work and give you perfect results every time. Let me tell you why I love my rice cooker.

Reason #1 It makes perfect rice.

I guess this is sort of obvious, but as someone who has not once made perfect brown rice on the stove this is huge for me. Not only does it make perfect rice every time, it does so without any effort on my part.

Reason #2 It makes other grains perfectly too.

Not only do I cook rice in the rice cooker, I cook quinoa, barley, millet, wild rice and wheat berries in it. I also cook lentils using the exact same technique. There’s a manual that came with the cooker that describes the various ratios of water to grain for different types of rice and grains but you can just throw that thing away. All you have to remember is 2:1 water: grain and that’s it. Well, there’s one exception – see the next point.

Reason #3 It makes the best oatmeal.

Every morning I have the same breakfast: apple cinnamon oatmeal. Every evening I stir the water and oats (in a 3:1 ratio for the nice creamy texture) together along with some cinnamon and nut butter and in the morning I chop up an apple and throw it in. I start the rice cooker and go do some exercise for the next hour or so. By the time I’m done, the house smells amazing and the oatmeal is cooked to creamy perfection. It doesn’t take very long to cook, but the rice cooker keeps it warm until I’m ready to eat.

Reason #4 It makes reheating food a snap.

Leftover grains or rice can be reheated by adding a bit of water and starting the cooker. It will automatically stop and go to the warming mode when the food has reheated.

Ever wonder how a rice cooker knows when your rice or other grains are cooked just right?

I wondered, and I looked it up so you don’t have to. It’s ingeniously simple, really. The unit senses the temperature of the cooking insert. As long as there is water inside the temperature cannot exceed the boiling point of water. Once the water is completely absorbed and evaporated, the temperature starts to increase above the boiling point because the solids can heat up to a much higher temperature. Once the temperature increases, the unit switches to the warming mode.

 

 

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