My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The poetry of perfect rice

Rice sticking, scorching,
Perfection was elusive;
Till perfect gadget.
~a Haiku by Laloo

If you've followed my blog awhile you know I'm fond of kitchen gadgets, with a preference, when possible, for the simple and non-electric. We'd pondered the purchase of a rice cooker for a couple of years (because when it comes to purchases, we can be very deliberate, slow ponderers!)...

You're probably asking, "Why would you want a rice cooker if you say you like simple, non-electric gadgets? What's simpler than a pan on the stove?" Okay, well, I think you should stop asking questions while I'm telling you my story. :-)~ The pan on the stove technique is the way we've always cooked rice, and it's also the reason we've been pondering a rice cooker. We were tired of having the pot boil over, having to babysit it until it would finally hit that sweet spot when it stops boiling and starts gently simmering, and having the rice frequently overcook or scorch and always stick to the bottom of the pan. We kept hearing good things from friends about their electric rice cookers, but when we'd browse for them and read reviews, we just weren't smitten enough. So we continued babysitting the rice, scrubbing the stove top, and scouring the bottom of the pot. Till one day...

We happened upon The Perfect Rice Cooker (or so it claimed) in our local kitchenwares store a few months ago. We decided to bring one home and give it a spin, and have been delighted with it. I think its claim to be the perfect rice cooker (or at least a perfect rice cooker) is justified (click on the above link to see how it works). There's no boiling over, overcooking, scorching or sticking, just perfect rice (and other grains) every time. There's also one with a stainless steel handle, but we really like our bamboo-handled version...

With organic short-grain brown rice, before cooking

With FatFree Vegan's Apple-Spice Oats,
all ingredients mixed and steamed together

With the lid (not used in the steaming process,
but to keep the cooked food warm)

We've used it a lot since we bought it, but still have plenty of grains and varieties of rice to experiment with. So far it's cooked steel-cut oats and jasmine, basmati, Wehani, and short and long-grain brown rice to - as its name suggests - perfection.

I haven't posted any recipes in a while (links to other people's recipes don't count!), so here is one of our favorite ways to enjoy brown rice...

Rice Bowls
simple, delicious and nutritious!

Per bowl:
one serving cooked, organic, short-grain brown rice
mixed with
five or six of the following :

Toasted Nori sheet, torn into bite-size squares
1 carrot, sliced thinly or shredded
chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
handful of fresh spinach leaves
or dark green or red lettuce
toasted pumpkin seeds
toasted sesame seeds
pine nuts or walnuts
hemp or chia seeds
dried cranberries
avocado slices
diced tomato
Add your choice of dressing or sauce
(vinaigrette can be nice, or a dash of hot sauce perhaps?
We love ours with organic tamari)

Layer the ingredients for pretty presentation,
or mix them all together like we do. :-)
I put the carrot slices on the bottom of the bowl,
then add the hot rice on top of them.
Once I've added everything else & mixed it together,
the hot rice has softened the carrots perfectly!

Serve warm or chilled.
(Great way to use leftover rice)

And may your rice always be perfect. :-)


  1. I haven't seen this rice cooker before but will see if anyone sells it locally. For a few years I was in love with my electic model, but the novelty has worn off. Currently I am enjoying pressure cooked brown rice.

    I love the sound of your rice bowl. That just maybe by my dinner tonight since the hubby is in Oklahoma and going to 105 degrees tonight. =(

    talk to you later,

  2. We use our pressure cooker primarily for cooking beans and root vegetables, but I don't think we've ever used it for cooking rice. Does it do a good job? We sure love this rice cooker.

    I hope DH brings you back a 105ยบ doggy bag and photos! ;-)

  3. We use an electric rice cooker and love the convenience of it. I've seen your type of pottery before but not labeled as a rice cooker. That's neat!

    I also love to put Toasted Nori sheet in my rice. Yum! :-)

  4. Hi, VW - that's what most of the people we know who have electric rice cookers said about them, and why we considered buying one. I'm not sure if our porcelain rice cooker is more or less convenient than an electric one, but it's sure more convenient than the ol' pan was! :-)

    Yum is right, I never have a rice bowl without the toasted Nori (or dulse leaf) in it! I love the flavor.


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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