By far one of the most popular foods in the world is rice. There are very few places on the planet where rice is not served at least a few times a week with meals. In many places in Asia you would be hard pressed to find a meal that is does not include it. That means that a large amount of rice is being cooked around the world every day. Much of this rice cooking is done in devices known as electric rice cookers. One thing that is peculiar is that despite the popularity of electric rice cookers very few people could actually describe to you how a rice cooker works. Here is a brief overview about how a rice cooker works and a few other important facts about them too.
How do Electric Rice Cookers Work?
Rice cookers may seem like simple cooking apparatus, but there is actually quite a bit of science behind their design. Many people do not realize it, but the first commercial electric rice cooker was distributed for sale in Japan in 1955. That means they have been around a very long time. Since that first version was made, many new models and styles of electric rice cookers have been introduced but for most of these models they still work based on the same principles of the first model introduced in 1955.
Some of the ideas for the design of the first electric rice cooker can trace their roots all the way back to the time of Christ. That’s when large rice cooking contraptions that used wood as a heat source called a ‘kamado’ were first used in Japan.
The kamado’s electrical rice cooking cousin is a far simpler device to use to say the least.
Anatomy of an Electric Rice Cooker
No matter how fancy an electric rice cooker looks on the outside or how many functions it has they are all basically the same inside. Here is an example of the parts that are on the inside of it that make them work. The only exception to a rice cooker having these internal parts is on those that cook by means of heat induction which will be discussed later on in this article.
Rice cooking 101
So what are the basic cooking principles that make rice cooking so easy? Here is how electronic rice cookers work in layman’s terms. The cooking pot itself on a rice cooker does not actually heat up itself. A heating element heats up the air in the space around which the cooking pot sits in. The heat then transfers into the cooking pot by means of convection. Once that happens then it’s up to the thermal sensing device built into the rice cooker to take over from there.
The thermal sensing device is set to detect the temperature when water starts to boil. Why is that? It’s because when the heat and water are absorbed by the rice as its cooking the temperature inside the cooking pot will not reach its boiling point. Once the boiling point inside the cooking pot is reached it means the water in the cooking pot has all been absorbed by the rice and it’s finished cooking. The thermal sensor will then switch the electric rice cooker from cooking mode to warming mode automatically.
It was mentioned that the whole process is simple and it really is. Once you have measured and soaked your rice a little all you have to do after that is add it into the cooking pot. Next put in the appropriate amount of water to the fill line and press a button. Before you know it you will be serving delicious and easily cooked rice with your meal.
If you look at enough rice cooker reviews you will find that an overwhelming majority of people that own them our highly satisfied with the quality of the cooked rice they produce.
Types of Rice Cookers
These set the gold standard for cooking good rice effortlessly. Gold standard is an appropriate word too because millions and millions of these basic style rice cookers have been sold around the world. You have already been told how very simple they are to operate. Rice cooking does not get any simpler than cooking rice with an electronic rice cooker for sure..
Basic rice cookers for the most part are extremely inexpensive.
This style of rice cooker is only a slight upgrade over a basic rice cooker. They will usually have a few more features than a basic rice cooker such as being able to add steam to remoisten the rice after its sit in the cooking pot for a while. Most also will be able to cook brown rice at its proper setting which is much different than white rice. Other features often seen on improved rice cookers are digital timers and delayed cooking settings.
These are very moderately priced rice cookers in most instances.
These are really no more than basic rice cookers on steroids but you can do so many things with them. They feature such attributes as fancy digital timers and multiple rice cooking settings. With their fancy control technology you can do such things as cook various varieties of white rice, cook brown rice, make porridge and even do more. Simply put, they are an electric rice cooking product that gives you more control over what type of rice you cook. You can also choose to use the timer instead of the preset rice cooking settings.
These upgraded rice cookers can be found anywhere from the mid to slightly high price ranges.
What is the best rice cooker in the marketplace today according to rice cooker reviews? That would be an electric rice cooker that uses a newer style of cooking rice called ‘heat induction’. Instead of getting heat to the cooking pot through convection like normal electronic rice cookers, when using heat induction the cooking pot itself heats up after an electromagnetic current runs through it. These make the best rice because the rice cooks at a higher and more consistent heat.
Their drawback is that they use more electricity to run and are not very budget friendly. Despite this fact, over ½ of all electric rice cookers in Japan as of today use induction heat. That is a very big testament to how well they work.
These are not just for cooking white rice either. Induction based rice cookers have many different settings which will also precisely cook brown rice, porridge, sushi rice and many other different kinds of rice too. The rice that induction heat rice cookers make is often described as being flawless.
Your Search For The Best Rice Cooker
If it’s time for you to buy a rice cooker then make sure you do your homework on them before you make your purchase. Expensive rice cookers are not always worth the money and some of the least expensive models actually work well. So don’t just shop by price alone.
A time tested and smart approach to shopping for any type of product is to first set yourself a budget range that you can afford. It makes no sense to take the time to look at rice cookers that are not in that price range. This will save you a lot of time in your search for the best rice cooker for you.
Once you’re buying budget has been set then next decide the parameters that your rice cooker will be used for; this will help you narrow down the many rice cooker choices even further. Consider things like how many rice servings your family requires at a meal and if you will be cooking other type of rice besides white rice on a regular basis. Factor also into the decision how often you will use the rice cooker and if you want to bother learning advanced controls.
Before you make final buying decision it is always advisable to check online line for rice cooker reviews of the model you are thinking about purchasing. With all the many rice cookers that are sold across the world you are bound to find several reviews on each one. There is no better buying advice than that advice which comes from people that have actually used the product. Beware of rice cooker reviews that sound too good to be true because they may have been planted there by someone connected to the manufacturer.
The Amazing Rice Cooker
There is no doubt about it; these simple devices are pretty incredible if you stop to think about them. They can even help the worst cook make pretty good rice almost every time they prepare it with a meal. If you ever tried cooking rice yourself in a covered pot then you can relate to how nice these rice cooking products really are. There is not too many electrical cooking apparatus that can make that claim; it is the equivalent of ovens that don’t burn bread and they are something that does not exist yet.
So if you do not yet own a rice cooker of your own then you should highly consider buying one. Rice is a healthy food that compliments many different styles of food. It will not put a lot of extra weight on you and it is also a very affordable food product. Try starting with a basic rice cooker and seeing how often you use it. If you like it and use it often then you can always consider upgrading at a later time. Who knows, you may end up liking electronic rice cookers so much that you eventually spend a lot of money on a fancy induction heating model.