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