Yes, the rice cooker is magical. I do not think I am exaggerating at all as I have experimented numerous things that you can cook with a rice cooker – other than merely plain rice. You would not believe the things that are possible with this seemingly humble kitchen appliance! So let me tell you more: I promise it will be worth your while, especially if you are a lazy cook.
Personally I used to rarely cook rice as I found it a bit boring – but as I moved into my apartment a friend of mine gave me a brand new rice cooker as a gift. I felt obliged to use it and hence started my flourishing relationship with the rice cooker. Had I known what revelations I was to make I would have definitely been more excited about it.
At first I merely cooked rice with it – I mean, it is called the rice cooker because its function is to cook rice, right? It was not long before I overheard a Japanese friend mentioning in a conversation to someone else that they made a cheesecake with their rice cooker. Wait. Cake? I had to find out more.
So I was informed that not only can you cook rice with the simple looking rice cooker, but also cakes, puddings, omelettes, frittatas, bread, risottos, curry… The list goes on.
Hence I started experimenting. I asked my close friend Google for help and found an abundance of recipes. Sufficient to say my mind was once more blown. It seems other people were well aware of this – how was I left unaware! I started exploring like a mad woman.
I will share a couple of recipes that I have personally tried and had great success with. I am no food blogger but have cooked with these simple guidelines myself and am quite convinced that anyone can do the following dishes with these simplified directions.
Side note: As I am personally trying to cut animal products from my diet as well as avoiding processed foods like white sugar, I have substituted butter with oil and sugar with honey. For these recipes I have used eggs.
It does not get any easier than this!
– 2 apples
– olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
– baking powder
– cinnamon powder (optional).
1. Wash and cut the apples into wedges: one apple in 8 wedges should be a great rule of thumb.
2. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in medium heat in a frying pan, add the apple wedges and a couple of tablespoons of honey. Mix. Cook for around 5 minutes until the wedges are somewhat soft. Then add another two tablespoon of honey and let them stay in the pan on low heat for another 3 to 6 minutes.
3. Take a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and swish it around the rice cooker bowl: you want the oil to cover at least the bottom third of the bowl.
4. From the frying pan pour the apple wedges into the rice cooker bowl. Arrange the wedges so they cover the bottom of the bowl evenly, on their flat side.
5. In a separate bowl mix together half a cup of flour, one teaspoon of baking powder, three tablespoons of any vegetable oil (coconut is my favorite), 2 eggs and one third of a cup of honey. (And the optional half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder if you fancy it.)
6. Pour the mix in the rice cooker bowl on top of the apple wedges.
7. Put the bowl in the rice cooker and turn it on using the normal setting.
8. When the rice cooker sings its happy tune you can check whether the apple pie looks ready: stick a fork in and if something sticks, do another round in the cooker. But if you are happy with what it looks like, let it cool down for a few minutes in the cooker.
9. Take the bowl out from the cooker and turn it upside down to a serving plate. Behold, your first rice cooker made apple pie!
A Vegetable Frittata
I had no clue what a frittata was but as the recipe seemed easy I gave it a go and have since whipped this super simple, glorified omelette up repeatedly.
You need: vegetables of your choice, olive oil, salt and pepper, eggs.
Choose vegetables of your liking – for example carrots, onions, broccoli, potatoes, etc. Amount-wise as a rule of thumb take 4 mid-sized vegetables, for example 4 carrots or if you have four different vegetables, one of each. You get the gist.
1. First wash, peel and cut into fairly small dices.
2. Add olive oil on a frying pan and fry the vegetables. Add water after a couple of minutes as you want to cook them until they are somewhat soft. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add olive oil in the rice cooker bowl and swish it around: you want it to cover the bottom of the bowl so nothing sticks to it.
Side note: Many recipes said to use a paper towel to spread the oil in the rice cooker bowl but I find that it is not necessary. Since the bowl is teflon coated anyway it is difficult for the oil to stick.
4. Break 6 eggs in the rice cooker bowl and whisk proper. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and put in the fried vegetables. Mix everything once more.
5. Turn on the rice cooker and use a normal program, just like you would when making rice with the cooker. Once the program is finished your frittata is ready. If for some reason the frittata is a bit too soggy for your liking, as I find it sometimes can be, do another round in the rice cooker.
6. Ta-dah! Enjoy.
I hope these humble, simple recipes will bring you joy and perhaps inspire you to venture further – Google only knows how many wonderful things there are to be made with a simple rice cooker!