Thursday, August 27, 2009
Plain white rice
Hey look, I got a cool new rice cooker! It's a birthday present from my mother, (thanks Mom!) although I had to tell her exactly the make and model I wanted and where to get it from. I was kind of interested in the super-fancy models that have humidity and temperature sensors and use fuzzy logic to adjust the temperature and cooking time for perfect results every time, but I couldn't find one that did anything other than cook rice. I really wanted one that doubled as a slow cooker. One that tripled as a deep fryer would have been nice too, but, as far as I can tell, that remains a dream.
On the other hand, this one can also steam and make tofu. But that's for later, for now, let's talk rice.
My old rice cooker was fine if your expectations weren't too high. The rice tasted fine, but it was always kind of mushy and had a crunchy crust on the bottom which is a good thing in Chinese and Korean cooking, but it's a no-no in Japanese. The new cooker has settings for both styles along with the standard white, brown and congee settings.
Here's the first batch with the new cooker. I'm not sure I've zoomed in far enough for you to see, but each individual grain is distinct and has expanded until it looks like a little length of rice noodle. They're slightly sticky, but come apart easily; soft but not mushy; aromatic and flavorful (as rice goes, anyway). It's a far superior rice experience all the way around.
Since then, I've made a batch on quinoa (on the brown rice setting), which did turn into a bowl of mush, but I think that's just the nature of quinoa. It was a
fluffier mush than the old cooker ever managed and tastier too. Beyond the aesthetic improvements, I'm just pleased that it didn't burn as it did half the time in the old cooker.
Next up is slow cooking some short ribs, but that deserves a post to itself. And there's also the issue of what to top a big bowl of fine quality rice with which I'll be covering soon, too.