You’re Seriously Underusing Your Rice Cooker

You can make more than just rice in your trusty ol’electric cooker.

Any and all cereals and grains can be cooked in a rice cooker. We’re talking quinoa, couscous, barley, farro, freekeh…the list goes on. But it can also be used to cook entire meals—including desserts.

  • Find a steamer basket that fits inside your cooker and you can easily steam veg while your grains are fluffing up. Sturdy leafy greens like bok choy work great.
  • After you’ve washed the rice (please, wash your rice!—it removes excess starch so you don’t end up with gummy clumps) and dumped it in the cooker with the appropriate amount of water, layer on marinaded meat and aromatics like ginger and garlic. The steam will cook the protein and flavour the rice. (Just cut the meat into small pieces to ensure it cooks all the way through.) The result is a simple, no-fuss “bo zai fan,” or clay pot rice, which is a staple of Hong Kong and Cantonese cuisine. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that this cooking method is endlessly customizable. Try soy-marinaded chicken thighs or Chinese sausages or a light white fish. If you don’t eat meat, try Shiitake mushrooms (for an umami flavour bomb) or an alt-protein source like seitan.
  • Soak glutinous rice (also called sweet rice) in the water so it expands and softens before turning on the cook function. Then top the cooked rice with sweetened condensed milk and sliced mangoes for an at-home version of the classic Thai dessert, mango sticky rice.

Cuisinart Rice Cooker, $90,

Next: This Hand Blender Makes It Easy to Whip Up Smoothies, Soups, Sauces and So Much More

Originally Published in Best Health Canada