on March 25, 2005
I have owned rice cookers for many years. My latest, the Zojirushi NS-ZAC10, is the best I have ever used. I figured it would be a good idea to branch out from using the rice cooker to cook only rice, so I purchased this highly recommended book.
While the book is very good, and the recipes I have tried so far have all been quite tasty, there is a major consideration that you should be aware of when making many of the recipes in this book: residual odors.
Yes, when you use your rice cooker to make the delicious "creamy breakfast oatmeal" with steel-cut oats, bear in mind that your steamed white rice will smell of cinnamon for at least three or four batches afterwards. My 11-year old (a steamed rice 'purist') noticed the cinnamon 'essence' immediately and complained that 'something was wrong with the rice.'
Similarly with any of the dishes which call for sauteing onions in the rice cooker, or adding other strongly aromatic ingredients. If you use your rice cooker primarily for preparing perfect (and I mean PERFECT) steamed rice, you may not want any other flavors mingling in there.
Just something to keep in mind.
Otherwise, the book is a great resource. There are a few minor inconsistencies (try finding 'congee' in the index), and the resource materials can be a bit confusing (to be fair, the number of rice varieties is quite daunting). And if you are an experienced cook you may get tired of being told the exact procedure for washing rice in every recipe, but all in all, the sheer variety alone is easily worth the price. Also, it is worth noting that if you have a fuzzy logic rice cooker, you will not be able to use it for any of the recipes that employ steaming (which is a fair number of dishes), but you can easily adapt these recipes to any another stovetop steaming setup you may have.
Just remember to plan your rice cooker experiments around your need for 'un-tainted' steamed rice, and you will enjoy "The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook"
on July 23, 2006
While I love this cookbook, I'm going to tell you about the problems so you can get better results from it.
1. Measuring is a challenge! Depending on your rice cooker, liquids can be measured three ways: using the rice cooker cup, by the marks inside your rice cooker bowl, and by a standard measuring cup [8 fl oz.]. Dry ingredients can be measured by either the rice cooker cup or by a standard dry ingredients measuring cup. Before beginning any recipe, make sure you know what measures are being used, and do not make any recipe for the first time when company is coming over, in case you need to adjust it. Based on numerous recipe failures, I think the writers sometimes mixed up the measurements. They definitely could have made the information clearer in each recipe. How about a revised edition? ;)
2. Some recipes, polenta for example, have overly long cooking times, such as two porridge cycles back to back, or 90 minutes. Polenta cooks on the stovetop in 20 minutes; even a single porridge cycle is too long. Feel free to cut cooking times short.
3. When cooking oatmeal, polenta, grits, etc. with the porridge cycle, open the cover up, and leave it up, once the contents reach a simmer. If you don't, starchy lava will flow out of the vent and make a horrible mess, hot liquid may shoot out, and the recipe may be ruined as a result. If your rice cooker starts to spit, use extreme caution when you open the lid, as the hot contents may splash and burn you.
4. If a recipe says you can skip pre-soaking for tapioca, beans, etc., don't. Your final results will be much better using a traditional overnight soak in cold water.
5. When making risotto, don't perform the first step, briefly sautéing the rice in oil, in the rice cooker. Because rice cooker bowls are narrow and deep, the rice will be steamed, and your risotto will be mush. Instead, sauté the rice as usual in a large flat frying pan, then transfer the contents to the rice cooker bowl. Also, use the variety of Arborio called Carnaroli, as it holds up the best.
6. Use an easy to clean rice cooker; mine is the Panasonic from Williams Sonoma. You can avoid lingering odors--even from cinnamon and curry--if you can take the top completely apart and wash it each time. Soak the parts in cool water, not hot, and they should clean up easily. If odors remain, put two or three cups of cold water in the rice cooker and run it through the regular cycle, taking care that it doesn't cook dry. By cups, I mean 8 fluid ounces. ;) Then let it cool, take it apart as much as you can, and let the pieces dry completely in a dish rack.
7. No recipe is foolproof! Variances in rice crops, local water, and rice cookers will affect the outcome. If it doesn't work the first time, make adjustments and try again.
on April 28, 2003
I used to use my rice cooker several times a week. With this cook book and my new fuzzy logic rice cooker, I use it several times a day. It will appeal to cooks of all levels. For cooks experienced with rice and whole grains, the most important part of the book will probably be recipes for the porridge cycle of a fuzzy logic cooker: rice porridge, puddings, custards, and hot cereals. Even for experienced rice cooks, however, this book has excellent information on different varieties of rice and different types of dishes. In addition to many styles of rice dishes, it includes recipes for other grains such as couscous, bulgur and grits. It is well laid out and has commentaries on grains and dishes that will enable creative cooks to invent their own recipes as well as using the very tasty recipes included in the book. Although the recipes suggest the size of the cooker to be used, you need to use some common sense. I have a small cooker and have successfully made recipes suggested for other size cookers. This book is utterly clear and easy to follow. All the recipes work, and all taste wonderful. If you have a rice cooker, especially a fuzzy logic cooker, you need this book.
on March 2, 2006
After reading all the reviews of this cookbook, I decided to purchase it. I've been looking for a good rice pudding recipe to be made in a rice cooker.
However, the book is nearly useless to me. Every single recipe in the pudding section calls for using a "fuzzy logic only" cooker. I checked the oatmeal and porridge section as well -- and found the same.
So, it might be a good cookbook for people who own $200 rice cookers, but for the majority of us, the book is just not worth it. There are too few recipes for regular old rice cookers.
(And I find it disingenuous that, when the authors talk about the differences in cookers in the beginning, they fail to note that the majority of their recipes only work in the expensive machine.)
on December 4, 2003
I bought this book before I purchased my rice cooker. I really wanted to prepare beans and whole grains, not just rice. I learned that I could use this appliance in many ways. It made me so excited to purchase a rice cooker. All questions are answered. You CAN use this book to prepare many healthful foods in the basic on off rice cooker. There are only a few recipes that require the fuzzy logic rice cooker. I don't think I have ever had a cookbook that was so well written and entertaining to read, or easy to follow.
on October 25, 2005
I use this cookbook quite often and the recipes are very good.
If you want to use every recipe in the book, you will need two rice cookers. The Tiger JAE-A18u 10-cup and a typical large older model auto shut-off with steamer basket which makes sure you can use the recipes for steaming.
I don't know if another reviewer has mentioned this but you can use the Tiger 10 cup to make the 5 cup fuzzy (neuro) logic cooker recipes because the bowl is narrower than other 10 cup machines in its class. I do this all the time for the steel-cut oat recipe, which turns out perfectly every time.
I haven't tried any of the steam recipes but I may do so by using the stove and a steamer basket since I only own the one rice cooker.
I also do NOT recommend making the bean soup recipe in a electronic rice cooker because it smelled like beans and I had to get out the manual and figure out how to clean it and it wasn't worth the mess and trouble. Some things are better left to the stove unless maybe you use the other steamer rice cooker. That probably is easier to clean.
Of the recipes from the book I have tried, they were delicious and easy to follow. Just make sure you note whether the recipe is saying to use a rice-cup or standard measuring cup.
I highly recommend this cookbook along with the TIGER JAE-A18u to maximize its use.
I personally own a 5-cup fuzzy logic rice cooker and in addition to this new edition of Beth Hensperger's and Julie Kaufmann's rice cooker cookbook, I also have the older edition of this book. Both books are excellent.
The first few chapters describe in detail the various rice cookers available and the types of rice. In addition to the recipes that follow, there are various tips listed throughout the cookbook such as a section on "steaming in the rice cooker" located in the vegetable section.
This new version claims to have over 50 new recipes compared to the previous book. What I did notice is that even though there are some new recipes such as:
Beth's Golden Rice with Black Beans
Basmati Rice with Asparagus
Brown Jasmine and Globe Artichoke with Lemon Buttter
Sweet Brown Rice with Curry, Carrots, and Raisins
Greek Hot Rice Salad
I found that some recipes from the previous version of the book are missing such as:
Paella Saute with Saffron and Spanish Rice
Salmon-Stuffed Japanese Rice Balls
This new book is about 1/4 thinner than the previous version, the format is not as colorful, and the index is missing (even though it's mentioned in the front), but that could be because the copy I received is a pre-release version.
Many of the recipes are designed for the fuzzy logic rice cookers as well as for a medium rice cooker or on-off variety; however, most are for the larger size 6 or 10 cup rice cookers. On rare occasions there's a recipe for the small 3-cup rice cooker such as the Coconut Basmati Rice recipe which calls for a small (3-cup) or medium (6-cup) rice cooker, fuzzy logic or on/off.
This book is 368 pages (currently 331 without the index) packed with wonderful recipes and tips about rice cookers, rice, and various other tips (such as "about quinoa"). Although most of the recipes are geared toward the larger or fuzzy logic rice cookers, there is enough variety to supply most people who have a smaller 3-cup fuzzy logic rice cooker with at least several recipes for their rice cooker. Also, who says you can't reduce the recipe to accommodate the size difference. The only thing I would not do is try a "fuzzy logic only" recipe in a non-fuzzy logic rice cooker. Those who have a fuzzy logic cooker will benefit most from this book. In my opinion, either this edition or the first edition are both equally good. I happen to prefer the formatting for the first edition because the recipes are in orange and the instructions in black whereas in this edition everything is in black ink; but that doesn't take away from this being a 5 star "rice cooker" cookbook.
on March 14, 2004
I have been using a rice cooker at least 3x/week for over 16 years, but only to make white rice. I bought this cookbook so that I could explore other ways to use this "must-have" kitchen appliance. I think the book is well worth the price, even if you don't own a "fuzzy logic" rice cooker. There are not too many recipes that call for "fuzzy logic" cookers only. Most recipes can be done with either the "on/off" type (like I have) or the "fuzzy logic" type.
on January 5, 2008
I bought the Zojirushi 10-cup induction rice cooker and love the rice it makes, but I was wondering if there was more I could do with it. Could I use it to cook other whole grains? What is the porridge cycle on it? Could I cook rice meals with other ingredients in the cooker (vegetables, meat)? For me and what I was wanting to know, this book FAR EXCEEDED my hopes and expectations! I learned that I can do many other things with my cooker - I can include vegetables and/or meat when cooking the rice.
Here's what I like about this book:
It explains how the various cookers work; it defines what a 'fuzzy oooker' is (they sense by weight rather than by temperature); it defines how the induction cookers work (a more advanced fuzzy machine in which the sensor unit also judges temperature and moisture proportions).
It explains the importance of and how to wash/rinse the rice.
It explains the benefits of soaking the rice.
It explains the different varieties of rice (with sources for purchase)
I never knew what exactly rice pilaf was - that's explained along with several pilaf recipes.
There are a lot of insets strewn throughout the book ('to wash or not to wash', 'the Lundberg Family Rice Farm' (I love their basmati...), 'to salt or not to salt', toasting various nuts, blanching almonds, 'about ghee', 'risotto in the rice cooker', storing/freezing cooked rice, etc. etc.)
With my variety of cooker which includes a porridge cycle, I was quite pleased to see that the authors found that this cycle can be used for the following:
Risotto, homemade applesauce (you can make chunky or smooth, with or without sugar, with cinnamon - yum!), rice pudding, tapioca pudding, and hot breakfast cereals with various grains.
I think this cookbook is just wonderful for anyone who has bought a fuzzy-logic cooker (basic or an induction-style) and is wanting to do more with it other than just make the basic rice. I particularly like all their explanations and how the information in the book is laid out.
Thanks Beth & Julie! Great Book!
on November 28, 2003
If you have a computerized rice cooker, you'll probably get a lot of value from this book. If, however, you have a simple rice cooker (non-computerized) then you'll find very few usable recipes.