Recently I decided that enough was enough and that I had to stop using the thing that was marketed to the general American public as a rice cooker. It burned normal rice at the bottom, especially if cooked with broth. It burned quinoa at the bottom. It cooked brown rice oddly, but also burned it at the bottom. It had a definite M.O.
If you’re Indian and have been exposed to any kind of tradition at all, you’ll know what a pressure cooker is. I toyed briefly with the idea of carting one back home from Singapore (my mother and I had some serious logistical discussions about this) but decided that a) it would probably take up all my baggage allowance and then some, b) I was not patient or present enough to carefully note how many whistles the pressure cooker emitted before the rice was done.
And let’s make one thing very clear: I do not cook rice on the stove, in a pot. Not regularly, I mean. Other people may wish to use this method; I reject this method as a valid rice-making process. I just made Mexican-ish rice on the stove and, as I expected, it was a finicky process.
The obvious compromise was the rice cooker, but this time, something that actually took itself seriously.
The Zojirushi rice cooker is so serious, it has different settings for steam, brown rice, white rice, mixed rice (still haven’t figured out what that means) sushi rice, and quick-cook white rice. It is serious enough to have a 30 page manual in four different languages. It is so very serious that it will play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star when it’s done cooking your rice.
It is so utterly serious that I’m terrified of it.
What if I don’t clean my rice in the precise way described on page 9, wherein I wash the rice clockwise with my right hand 30 times? What if I never use the sushi rice setting and thus never unlock the hidden potential of my Zojirushi? Am I allowed to make quinoa in this magnificent machine? Will I ever find out what mixed rice means???
This weekend will be devoted to performing experiments with my new rice cooker. That is, I will be making rice. Maybe even a curry to go with it.