on October 26, 2009
Ever since I purchased this item, I've been using it almost every single day! It is extremely convenient and is a snap to use. I live in a small apartment and this is the perfect size for one person. I always cook 1 cup of uncooked rice and it is a hearty serving for one person. It is very easy to measure all your ingredients because the non-stick bowl has marked lines on the inside (1 cup, 2 cup, and 3 cup) to show you how much water to add. Clean-up is a breeze because of the non-stick bowl.
My favorite rice to make is jasmine rice with lots of lime juice, a little lemon juice, and cilantro. I add the rice to the non-stick bowl (1 cup uncooked). Then I add enough lime juice so that all of the rice is wet and soaking in it. Then I add just a little bit of lemon juice (1-2 tsp.). Then add a bit of butter and some salt. After rice is cooked, mix in 2 tsp. of cilantro and stir well. It's delicious and it's the only rice I ever make.
The only problem with this unit is that you have to check the rice occasionally during the cooking phase, otherwise the bottom of the rice will brown. It's not a catastrophe and is easily remedied. First off, let me just say that if the rice browns a bit, it only looks unpleasant. It still tastes just as good. To avoid this, you need to wait until the rice has absorbed almost all the water. Take off the lid and stir the rice thoroughly. Once the rice has absorbed most of the water, just switch the mode to "keep warm" manually (instead of waiting for it to click). Then occasionally stir the rice while you wait around 5-10 minutes (give or take). Once the rice has absorbed all the water, you can leave it on "keep warm". I like to switch the mode back to "cook" for around 3-4 minutes so that the rice gets nice and hot. The trick is to take it out before it browns the bottom. This sounds complicated, but it really is not. Just check it occasionally, stir it a few times, then switch it to "keep warm" just before all the water is absorbed (95% or so should be absorbed). This is the only flaw with this unit (hence only 4 stars). Otherwise, I think it is fantastic and it is my new favorite kitchen appliance!
on November 9, 2011
Things I have made in this rice cooker:
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Pulled Pork
- Scrambled Eggs
- Ham, and of course
I also routinely put random things with the rice (tofu, frozen veggies, frozen chicken). Is it restaurant quality? Probably not, but this baby has been going strong for a year. Here are the steps I followed to cook all of the above:
1. Put stuff in pot.
2. Press Button.
That is all. You/your kid going away to college? Must buy. The versatility is unbelievable.
- Bacon (not recommended. ugh)
- Chicken nuggets
- Hot Dog Bits
- Ramen (how could I forget you, ramen?!)
Edit: After several years I am saddened to announce the expiration of Rice Cooker (RC) 1.0. I have just replaced it with a younger and more clean-shaven version of itself, RC2.0, who has been inducted after producing rice and meatballs in spaghetti sauce with mozzarella cheese. A fantastic little dish for very little money produced by following the same directions as above, only wait until the selector switch moves to "KEEP WARM" before inserting the sauce and cheese and stirring a bit. Delicious.
I have used this product on a daily basis for the past 8 months, for cooking white rice. Usually, I cook Basmati rice, because it has the fragrance of nuts (or whatever), but I have also used it for other types of white rice, as well as for 100% wild rice. It is always the case that I use hot tap water for putting in the rice cooker. (I never start with cold tap water.) Sometimes, I drop a half dozen almonds into the rice cooker when I am beginning to cook the rice. Often, after the rice is cooked, I press a chunk of cheddar cheese into the cooked rice, and let it sit for a few minutes to melt. Sometimes, after the rice is cooked, I add a little Vietnamese hot sauce, or some balsamic vinegar, or both. Once, I cooked the rice together with an eighth pound of fresh mushrooms. Another time, I cooked the rice together with an entire bell pepper, previously sliced. Often, I add an entire fresh carrot (diced) to the rice when I initiate cooking. Although I never bothered to time the cooking, it seems to me that the rice was always fully cooked in under 15 minutes.
The glass lid of the cooker contains a small porthole. Steam comes out of the porthole, and sometimes a tiny bit of bubbling liquid comes out too. The goal of the porthole is to prevent the steam from tossing the lid off the the cooker. Therefore, I am glad for the existance of the porthole. But once I was careless, and I put my hand near the porthole where the steam was rushing out, and my hand got an owee.
After about 6 months, I noticed that the cardboard box containing the rice cooker also had a plastic spoon. The plastic spoon is suitable for stirring the rice, or for mixing the rice with spices. The plastic spoon is also suitable for eating the cooked rice. Unfortunately, I had been using a metal spoon for these 6 months, and a small percentage of the Teflon has been worn away -- perhaps about 2%. Anyway, I now use the plastic spoon all the time.
The rice cooker has a control with two settings, one for warming and the other for cooking. When using this cooker, you have to remember to make sure that the setting is on the COOK setting, and not on the WARMER setting. The cooking bowl is made of metal, and it is easily removable from the heating unit. The cooking bowl just sits into the the heating compartment (it is not firmly attached). It is always the case that, as soon as the rice is cooked, I lift out the cooking bowl, and place the cooking bowl into a little tub of cool water. Then, about five minutes later, it has cooled down enought to have for supper. It should also be noted that this rice cooker automatically switches from COOK to WARMER when the water is running out. In other words, this is a "smart" cooker that prevents burning of the rice, should the level of moisture get below a certain level. Apparently, this automatic feature is the result of a thermostat that is built into the cooker.
FIRST SUPPLEMENT TO MY REVIEW. After twelve months of almost daily use, my rice cooker conked out. And so, I discarded it, and bought a new one (the same model). Please note that every time I use the rice cooker to make supper, I save at least three or four dollars, since a meal consisting mainly of foods other than rice, or a meal from a take-out restaurant, would cost much more than a half-cup of rice! I also use this rice cooker for instant mashed potatoes. For instant mashed potatoes, I keep the hot water in the cooker until the water boils, and then I pour in the potato flakes, and stir it. Then I unplug the cooker right away, and stir a little bit more. After one minute of stirring, the mashed potatoes are ready to eat! For flavoring, I add a few tablespoons of ketchup. Sometimes, I add some cheese to the instant mashed potatoes. I always dine alone, and so I never have to worry about comments like, "Why do you always eat like a pauper?"
SECOND SUPPLEMENT TO MY REVIEW. It is now January 2014, and I have been using my second Black and Decker 3-cup rice cooker for 18 months. It is still going strong! I still use it every day for cooking supper or for bringing rice to lunch at work. The Teflon surface on the inside of the cooker is a little worn, perhaps two or three percent is scraped off. I have not been using any metal spoon or any harsh metal scrubbing pad. But still, a bit of the Teflon has scraped off. But this does NOT impair the device's ability to cook, and I do NOT clumps of rice caked to the bottom. I am still using Basmati rice. Sometimes, I mix a can of black beans with the cooked rice. Sometimes I add Cholula hot sauce. Sometimes I add a small block of sharp cheddar cheese. Often, I dice up an entire small onion, and add it at a time point when the rice is half-way cooked. I still give this product FIVE STARS.
on July 23, 2010
I don't like things that require lots of clean up after. I bought this so I could have rice cooking and not have to pay much attention to it if I was interrupted by kids etc. First time use, I did 1 cup measure of brown rice using the enclosed cup, and filled to the 1 mark line for water on the pot per the instructions. Clicked cook and went about cooking the rest of my meal. 10 minutes later and there is splattering of starchy water out of the little vent hole in the lid. Everywhere - for a 1 foot radius around the entire cooker. I unplugged it, cleaned it up, started again with only a half cup measure of rice, and water to the appropriate line. Same thing. Splatter everywhere. This time I had a towel underneath it and let the rice finish cooking. It was perfectly cooked at least.
I then attempted steel cut oatmeal overnight using the Warm function. That did not splatter and made for creamy wonderful oatmeal first thing in the morning. Right now I am doing a 1/4 cup measure of barley with water to the 1/2 mark line (since barley requires a little more water than rice). It's splattering on Cook.
I think this will be delegated to only oatmeal or other hot cereals on Warm. The Cook function causes the boil-over or splattering and therefore clean up. Not sure if I'll be trying another rice cooker.
UPDATE (Oct 2013):
This cooker lasted me about 4 months. The splatter never went away, and I decided not to invest in a new one. I now bake my rice with really good results.