Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Getting More Out Of Your Rice Cooker

I figured out a really efficient way to use my rice cooker! The steamer insert holds your vegetables, dumplings, whatever you want to steam over the rice as it cooks. With rice cooking underneath at the same time, this is already doing two things with the push of a button. What I realized, though, is that I could take advantage of this setup, with the holes in the bottom of the steamer insert (which allows steam to rise through the insert, cooking the insert's contents on its way out the top), to allow the savory juices that come out when you cook meat (pictured above a sort of pork meat-loaf-patty-disc) to drip directly onto the rice cooking underneath.

What's also nice about using the rice cooker this way is that with the steam outlet built into the cooker, you don't get all that condensation coming back down on the food you're steaming. If you were doing a steaming setup with a dish set on a rack inside a large pot, for example, you might end up with diluted meat juices in the dish at the end, which wouldn't be quite as good poured on the rice. Supposedly you can get around the condensation issue by placing cheesecloth or other thin cloth across the top of the pot, but that means your steaming setup is ever more complex.

Of course, maybe you want to keep your rice sans juices, in which case steaming the meat separately or in some kind of dish would be better (though maybe wouldn't fit in the rice cooker insert).


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