Converting a stovetop rice dish recipe to make it using a rice cooker
The recipe calls for 2 cups white long grain or basmati rice and 2.5 cups of water (added after cooking aromatics in oil and then adding the rice and stirring to coat). You bring the water to a boil, cover tightly, turn heat to very low and cook for 15 minutes. Then you turn off the heat, leave the lid on, and steam for up to 30 minutes. (This is part of a David Tanis recipe on "The New York Times" cooking site.)
I don’t have a rice cooker, but want to share the recipe with someone who does have one.
How would you adjust the time and water, if at all? Thanks so much. ;o)
Recommended by Food52
In my experience, white long grain rice needs a 1:1 ratio (water:rice), so 2 cups of water. For basmati rice (which, admittedly, I rarely cook), it is usually a 2:1. I would start with 2.5 cups of rice and see if that is enough. You can always add more water if needed.
For decades I cooked a variety of Asian rices in a basic Zojirushi electric rice cooker. Today I use a clay pot over a portable butane burner. I've also used clay pots on gas range when I lived in places that had them.
The basic process is the same regardless of the device that provides the heat. Combine rice and water in the cooking vessel then 1.) bring to boil, 2.) reduce heat to lowest setting, cook covered for 10-15 minutes, extinguish heat, and 3.) let rest for 20-30 minutes still covered.
Using a pressure cooker accelerates the process but is essentially the same.
The great thing with using a clay pot or another vessel with a lid that can be removed during the cooking process is to add extra ingredients midway during the cook that don't require the full cooking time. I frequently do this with mushrooms or some veggies like fresh English peas during the slow simmer period or right before the resting period (heat off).
Note that even specialty rice dishes such as paella or risotto use the same basic process with some minor adjustments (and different liquid amounts) and handling at the end. But the procedures are the same: high heat, low heat, no heat.
That's really all an electric rice cooker is doing: bringing the water to a boil, automatically reducing the heat when it reaches that temperature and switching off after ~15 minutes at the low heat. It's an automation of a basic technique that has been practiced for centuries by cultures all over this planet; it alleviates the cook from having to watch the pot and the clock.
In your case, I would do this part
"The recipe calls for 2 cups white long grain or basmati rice and 2.5 cups of water (added after cooking aromatics in oil and then adding the rice and stirring to coat)"
in a saucepan.
Then transfer the contents into the electric rice cooker insert, pour in the water, put the lid on, and press the button and do something else -- like enjoy a glass of wine -- for 45 minutes. :-)