The Historical Text Archive: Electronic History Resources, online since 1990 Bringing you digitized history, primary and secondary sources

Rice Cooker

For a simple, basic foodstuff - one that is the staple diet of millions of people in the world - rice can be a challenge for many people to prepare and cook. Not too sticky, not too dry, not to mushy, not too hard - in fact, it must be just right according to individual tastes. Using a cooker does not necessarily mean that your rice will cook any faster, but it is generally considered an easier and more mistake-free way to get the job done.

The answer for many people is the rice cooker. They first appeared in the 1950’s and have since become an item important to almost every Asian household. At first they just heated themselves to a certain temperature and then switched off when that temperature was reached. The newer ones now have timers so that people can place the ingredients in the cooker, go to work or to bed, and find perfect rice when they come back. The latest have microchips which enable the customer to choose different settings for particular types of rice.

In a rice cooker the rice and water are placed in a removable pan inside the lid, a heating plate boils the water and your rice is ready in about 30 minutes. Most cookers will then keep the rice warm without overcooking it. The latest thing is to use the rice cooker as a kind of crock pot to cook soup, stew or steamed meats and vegetables.

Rice cookers typically cost anywhere from $50.00 to $100.00 depending upon size and added features, although some very small ones can be found for much less. Instructions as to amounts of rice and water are usually included with the product, but some experimentation is necessary to allow for individual preferences. More water, softer rice, less water, dryer rice. Different brands or types of rice will also cook differently. Most cookers recommend that the rice sit in the cooker, with the lid on, for some minutes after the designated cooking time is finished.