I Heart The Rice Cooker

by Valerie on June 17, 2010 · 7 comments

Rice Cooker 

I have written before how much I love the rice cooker. It is similar to this one and makes perfect brown rice, delicious steamy quinoa (I got the idea of cooking quinoa in the rice cooker from Karina) and allows for quick steamed veggies when I can’t face another salad – and this morning it allowed me to make a perfect pot of adzuki beans effortlessly.  As good as husband and I usually are about meal planning, it has kind of gone to hell the last couple of weeks.  Some of it is that the market has so much lovely stuff, we just go and buy lots of goodies and make lots of salads, but some of it is that we are burnt out. Cooking almost every single meal while working the hours we work was turning into a recipe for “I have no idea what to plan” when we had the meal planning notebook out.  On Sunday, I could barely wrap my mind around meal planning for two nights – we definitely had enough groceries for the week, so I figured I would think about it more mid-week.

Now we all know cooked beans are a great base for a quick dinner – but what you may not know is that I gave up on canned beans last fall.  Dried beans are much lower glycemic, and I had gotten into a good groove of cooking a big pot every few weekends and freezing them beans into containers, measuring out the equivalent of a can of beans (that is about one and half to one and three quarters cup by the way).  That groove? Also totally gone lately.  It’s been a real fight to keep that momentum going.  In fact, I was down to one container of chickpeas in the freezer, and I had had way too many chickpeas lately.

So last night I was thinking about how to remedy that ASAP, and I remembered an article where Mark Bittman advocated cooking a big pot of beans one morning.  Of course, despite the google magic, I cannot find it right now, but I do remember what I thought at the time: yeah, it’s easy enough when you work from home, but cooking beans requires supervision and stirring and … I looked over at the rice cooker, and decided it was worth a shot to use the slow cooker function on it to cook beans this morning while I got ready for work.

I picked adzukis because they are one of the faster cooking kinds.  Even though I have read you do not need to pre-soak them, I figured I might as well to speed up cooking time. So I soaked a cup of adzukis overnight last night, got up this morning, dumped the adzukis into the rice cooker with water, and 50 minutes later had three and a half cup cooked adzukis. 

Cooked Adzukis 
The adzukis were a tad mushy but I was too impressed at how easy it was too cook them this morning to care.  I also erred on the side of using too much water (I was afraid of beans sticking in the rice cooker).  But, it was still a success.  I am so cooking beans in the rice cooker from now on – much less stirring and minding. Now I just need to figure out if kombu will make the rice cooker a mess – I usually use kombu to cook all beans, but skipped it this morning.  And now I have a blank canvas of adzukis to work with for dinner this week.  This little story is such a good reminder that there are time savers out there, right in front of us, that we may not see.   What time savers have you discovered recently?
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ivy June 18, 2010 at 3:53 am

I'd love to have one of these.


2 Farty Girl June 18, 2010 at 11:56 am

Great idea! I'd love to eat less canned beans, but making them from scratch has been really difficult for me. This saves that problem big time!

My favorite time saver? Probably soaking grains overnight for raw cereal. At night, I throw some buckwheat groats into a jar with hemp milk. the next morning, cereal! Add a little cinnamon and salt. Love it.


3 Analiese Marie June 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I love our rice cooker, but it's on our last legs. We need to invest in a new one at some point soon. They're so useful.

And I love adzuki beans! I've begun adding them to salads for an extra bit of healthy protein.


4 Carolyn June 18, 2010 at 9:34 pm

A rice cooker! I might need to get one in the fall…


5 Lynne June 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm

making big batches of freezable meals on the weekend is our time saver/lifesaver. Also right now hubby is prepping a huge batch of radish slaw that will be snacks and sides for the rest of the week (if it makes it that long).

btw – give us your wisdom on chickpeas. We have a couple kilos dried and are having the hardest time getting them right, even with soaking for days they are still too hard. We're thinking slow cooker?


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