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Types of Rice Cookers

The cheapest rice cookers automatically shut off once the rice has cooked.  They generally don’t have an indicator light to let you know that the rice is ready so you need to keep an eye on the time and serve up when the switch flips to ‘off’.  These basic models don’t have non-stick pans or the facility to keep the rice warm.  However, they do cook good rice and are very cheap to buy.

In the next price range, the cooker will cook the rice and reduce the heat when it is done – maintaining it at a constant heat.  The length of time that the rice is kept warm varies, so if this is important to you, check before you buy.  Most of these are turned off by unplugging the unit.  Some have other features such as non-stick pans and steamer baskets so shop around.

The next most expensive rice cookers keep the rice warm for up to 12 hours and are generally used in restaurants.

If you are a rice connoisseur with a large budget, you may like to treat yourself to a ‘fuzzy logic’ rice cooker.  Fuzzy logic is the new buzz word in appliances.  It’s a method of artificial intelligence on a computer chip.  The chip lets the appliance make complicated adjustments to basic commands put in by the user – to deliver optimum results.  These cookers have settings for soup, porridge, brown rice, cooking the rice to al dente or soft and sushi rice.  

At the top of the range is the state of the art ‘Induction Heating’ Rice Cooker.  These amazing machines can compensate for any error in measuring and still deliver beautifully cooked rice.  If the user is going to be cooking many different kinds of rice, these are the best – but also the most expensive.

Check for

- A non-stick pan.  It makes cleanup a lot quicker and easier.

- A clear glass or clear plastic lid.  If you can see the rice cooking, it’ll stop you being tempted to lift the lid before the rice is ready.

- A reheat function which warms rice back up to full temperature in 10 minutes and then keeps it warm.  Useful if you like to prepare food ahead of time.

- A Quick Cook Function.  This cuts out the soaking time and goes straight into the cooking cycle.  Useful if you’re always cooking in a hurry.


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