10.18.2010

Impaired

I have a confession. While I am a decent enough cook, there is one dish that I have attempted for decades and have yet to make successfully. Even worse, it's one of the most "simple" dishes out there.

My nemesis? Steamed rice.

I know, I know. For those of you who are not rice-impaired, this seems absurd. You will tell me (as I've been told before), "You just ** insert simple instructions here **, and it will turn out fine!"

I have heard you. I have obeyed (or at least tried).

I have failed.

My results are either hard little rice grains or sticky glop but never the evenly cooked, fluffy side dish I had envisioned.

My workaround has been to use other methods to cook rice. I make baked rice and curried rice in the oven. I use a Fannie Farmer method for boiling rice on the stovetop. It all turns out great. Why simple steaming eludes me remains a mystery.

I have considered a rice cooker, but my aversion to kitchen clutter (and small appliances in general) has always kicked in and steered me away. Until, that is, I read about "The Pot."

"The Pot" is what Roger Ebert calls a rice cooker in his blog post and book: The Pot and How to Use It.

According to Ebert, the simple appliance is more than just a rice cooker, it is a one pot meal factory. He cooked a variety of full meals in it - including oatmeal for breakfast and even chili - and claims they are easy, tasty, and won't leave your kitchen a mess and your sink full of dishes.

Am I skeptical? Of course. If there was ever someone the "idiot proof" rice cooker wouldn't work for, it's me. But ... the idea of steamed rice (and more!) - without mess and drama is awfully tempting. This appliance may be worth a look after all.

Photo by Tamaki

8 comments:

Brenda Calhoun said...

Oh, Becca, Becca!!! I too am white rice impaired!! I DID buy a rice cooker....and failed! I threw it away! Try this: Go to the Chinese restaurant in your neighborhood and buy a little carton...works for me every time! Haw!

~~Brenda

Rebecca said...

Hee! I'm in good company, at least. :)

Rice is HARD. (In my case, literally ...)

Sandy a la Mode said...

oh no!! well i have a rice cooker and... it never goes wrong!! you should totally get one!! :D

Sarah said...

You are not alone. I am terrible at rice. The rice cooker saved dinner. It is my one small appliance indulgence. (Oh, and the recent addition of a stick blender, recommended by TMC. It has changed my life - more soup!)

Rebecca said...

Sandy and Sarah ~ Thanks for your rice cooker endorsements! Sarah, I love my stick blender, too! Best $10 I ever spent (at least in the kitchen).

Craig Miyamoto said...

1. Ya gotta soak your rice for a short while before cooking it.

2. Buy a rice cooker, then experiment a few times until you get the rice to water ratio just right, then after it snaps off, let it sit there for about 10 minutes.

3. Do what Brenda suggests and leave it to the professionals.

TMC said...

get yourself a rice cooker. they tuck easily away in a cupboard and make perfect rice each time.

casch said...

I broke down and bought a rice cooker a few years ago. Best thing I could have done! I recommend it! Try again.