7 Super Simple and Creative Ways to Use Your Rice Cooker
By Charlotte Mei
Mar 06, 2020

7 Super Simple and Creative Ways to Use Your Rice Cooker

Did you know, you can make desserts, dips, sauces and even a whole meal in your rice cooker? Here are 7 super simple ways.

Rice cookers are one of my favourite appliances. Not only because of its versatility in terms of the recipes you can make with it, but it allows you to prepare a dish without having to constantly watch over it. The whole process is automated and foolproof - it heats up, gets food cooked to perfection, and shuts off the heat while keeping the contents inside warm.

Here are a few things you can make with your not-so-humble rice cooker! 

1. Make a sensational rice cooker chicken meal 

Made roasted chicken over the weekend and have some leftovers? Here is a quick recipe you can pop into the rice cooker for a tasty chicken rice twist. A great way to use up leftovers!

2. Make a satisfying mixed rice bowl 

Jazz up the usual steamed rice simply by adding a tomato into it. It not only adds flavour, but additional nutrients too! Tomatoes have been linked to helping fight prostate cancer due to their levels of the antioxidant lycopene. However, did you know that eating them cooked rather than raw, and cooking them with oil gives a huge nutritional boost to the humble tomato?

Give this recipe a try - it requires barely any more effort than your usual steamed rice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rice
  • Water, a little less than usual due to the liquids from the tomato
  • 1 large tomato, stem removed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Toppings: Shredded seaweed, kewpie mayonnaise, shredded emmental cheese, coriander (optional)

Method:

  1. In a rice cooker, place rinsed rice and water as per normal.
  2. Place a tomato stem side down on top and season with salt, pepper and olive oil.
  3. Cook as per normal.
  4. Once ready, break the tomato into the rice and mix well. Season it if needed, and finish it off with your choice of toppings. Easy!

3. Use it to soak and simmer ingredients

Beans are an easy way to add lean protein to a meal, however if you’re using dried beans (instead of canned), it may require a little more time and effort due to the soaking required. But, as it’s 2020 and no one has time to sit around waiting for beans to soak, and watch over a pot while it cooks, put your rice cooker to work!

If your rice cooker has a timer, you can leave the beans to soak in the pot with some water, and set it to cook at a certain time such that you arrive home from work with freshly boiled beans to throw into a stew, a salad, or to make a dip with!

4. Make an easy rice cooker egg dish 

Frittata is normally made in a pan, but it can be easily made in a rice cooker too

Frittata, a warm and fluffy egg dish, is a great one to make when you’ve got a few mouths to feed, but not much time on your hands. It’s high in protein, and there is no fixed recipe for the fillings! In fact, this recipe is a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge. Serves three. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup spring onion, chopped
  • 6 prawns, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  •  1 tsp vegetable oil

Method:

  1. Brush the sides of the rice cooker with some vegetable oil
  2. Add all the ingredients into the rice cooker, mix to ensure it’s evenly distributed, and set it to cook. Depending on the settings of your rice cooker, you can either set it to 10-12 minutes to cook, or you can set it to the general setting and come back to check on it 10 minutes later.
  3. Check for doneness by ensuring that the eggs are set.
  4. Carefully remove the frittata onto a plate using a plastic spatula.

Note: If you’re not ready to eat it right away, you may leave it in the rice cooker to stay warm, however don’t leave it in for too long or the eggs will continue cooking with the residual heat, and may turn rubbery.

5. Make fuss-free desserts

You heard it... you can make dessert with your rice cooker! Here’s a simple recipe for a banana cake with less than 10 ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 90g all-purpose flour
  • 70g sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 100g ripened banana, mashed
  • 85g oil
  • 45g whole milk (plant-based milks work too), room temperature
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the mashed banana with the milk and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Add in the oil and egg, and mix together with a whisk until combined.
  3. Add the banana-milk mixture into the bowl and mix well.
  4. Add the mixture into a rice cooker and set it to cook for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Make sauces and dips 

One super addictive sauce I love is applesauce. It's incredibly easy to make, and can be done over the stove, however doing it in your rice cooker means that you can do it without having to watch over it. And you can make a bigger batch of it too if you don’t have a large pot at home!

Drizzle it on a bowl of Greek yoghurt, your cereal bowl, or on some toast with cream cheese for something sweet and savoury. It also makes a great accompaniment to a roasted pork loin! And, it makes a great gift for family and friends.

Ingredients (Makes about 2 jars)

  • 10 apples, chopped
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp salt

Method

  1. Place the chopped apples into the rice cooker along with the other ingredients.
  2. Set it to cook and give it a stir halfway.
  3. Once done, remove it from the heat and let it come to room temperature.
  4. Use a hand blender to blitz up the applesauce to your desired consistency.
  5. Store it in an air-tight jar in the fridge.

7. Turn it into a steamer 

Double-up your rice cooker as a steamer! While cooking your rice, why not steam some vegetables at the same time! If you happen to be steaming sweeter vegetables like carrots, broccoli, or corn on the cob, they would even add extra flavour to your rice.

Charlotte Mei is a nutritionist and self-taught cook based in Singapore. She frequently cooks up nutritious, delicious dishes - and the occasional indulgent treat too. Follow her on all her socials at @thecharlottemei .

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