Going against the grain: unconventional rice cooker uses
This has been a semester of radical change, one in which the 160 meal plan has opened my eyes to the latent potential of the rice cooker. Little did I realize that this device is far more versatile than its name suggests; it is, after all, just a compact hot plate and pot. When I started to view the rice cooker as a miniature stove, former truths crumbled and gave way to an unseen world of culinary possibilities and experimentation. I urge you, fellow Tufts students, to be bold, to renounce commercial suppression of imagination, to go against the grain. Following are some ideas to inspire your break from the mainstream:
Polenta: combine 1 part cornmeal with 4 parts water, butter, cheese, herbs, and seasoning (or whatever else you prefer in polenta) in the pot. Stir once, cover, and activate the cooker. When the cycle is complete, let the polenta stand for 10 minutes so that it fully absorbs the water. Enjoy!
Congee: my mother makes this rice porridge on the stove, but it can also be made in a rice cooker. She flavors it with chicken, ginger, and scallions, but it can be made with a variety of different accouterments or none at all. She boils the chicken until cooked and uses the stock as the liquid for the congee, adding the cooked chicken back to the finished product. This may not be feasible in a rice pot. For a quick fix, add chicken bones and ginger to the water and rice (9:1 ratio). Activate the cooker! Serve with chicken, scallions, sesame oil, soy sauce, etc.
Poached fruit: poach peeled fruit in wine/other alcohol, juice, and/or maple syrup/other simple syrup.
Eggs: coat the inside of the rice cooker with butter, add scrambled eggs and any fillings you please. Cook and enjoy!
Oatmeal: the most practical. Combine oats, water, and any additives (think bananas, raisins, seeds, sweeteners, etc.) and activate the cooker! The oats:water ratio will depend on the quantity/type of additives and the type of oats. Stir and top with anything else you enjoy on your oatmeal (I’m a fan of nuts and coconut flakes).
For more ideas, check out http://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutson/surprising-things-you-can-make-in-a-rice-cooker.
Cover photo source.