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Did you know you can make more than just rice in your rice cooker?

by Chef Katie Chin

Did you know you can make more than just rice in your rice cooker?

As the youngest child growing up in an Asian-American household in the '70s in the Midwestern United States, it was always my job to wash the rice before placing it in the nifty rice cooker that held its rightful place on our countertop. In our household, rice was a very important part of every meal: you could not leave the table until everyone had finished every single grain in their bowl. And it had to be perfectly cooked. Over the years, I became very fond of that rice cooker. It served me well, and I considered it part of our family.

I am not alone. Since the 1940s, rice cookers have been a staple appliance for millions of households all over the world ~ and it's no wonder. A rice cooker ensures perfect rice every time, without the hassle of watching over it or fearing the rice will burn, and in an almost magical way, it turns itself off automatically when the rice is done. Rice cookers are portable, take up very little counter space and are extremely easy to clean. They are great for any kitchen and a boon to college students and others who may not have access to a full suite of appliances. My sister, a gourmet who prides herself on her "cook's kitchen" at home, takes her rice cooker along on weekend getaways to her rustic cabin on one of the thousands of lakes in Minnesota.

So, great, it's a handy gizmo that makes great rice. "I don't make rice that often, so I don't use it all the time" or "I got one of those as a wedding present, but I'm not sure what to do with it." I've heard my friends respond this way over the years when I've mentioned the rice cooker to them, and I never knew where to go from there. Now I do, and you can too.

As a working mother of twins, I have found the rice cooker to be a lifesaver - I can put a home-cooked meal on the table without a lot of effort or supervision. A friend of mine recently commented, "I am frankly not organized enough to buy everything and put it in my slow cooker in the morning before I go to work, so the rice cooker has been a huge plus for our family."

Inspired by flavors from around the corner and around the world, I have worked hard to create recipes that offer a little something for everyone.

I hope you will enjoy making these recipes as much as I did creating them, and that your rice cooker will earn its rightful place as the superhero on your countertop.


Find more info about Rice Cookers and recipes in 300 Best Rice Cooker Recipes by Katie Chin

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Rice Cooker recipe: Rocky Road Polenta Pudding