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Rice is one of those things I always seem to get wrong in the pan it either ends up either to sticky or too wet so I treated myself to a rice cooker in the Christmas sales to see if this would help especially as my son loves rice.
What is it?
This rice cooker and steamer from Breville has a stainless steel finish to it giving it a nice modern look in the kitchen. The lid is glass and is very useful for seeing how far along the rice or vegetables are cooking. The cooker has two settings cook and keep warm. Included in the set is the cooker itself with a steaming tray, a plastic serving spoon and measuring cup. The steamer has a 1.8 litre capacity and takes 8 measuring cups meaning it can cook up at least 8 generous portions of rice or if our on diet 16 portions.
As this was my first rice cooker I had no idea how they worked and what you have to do. The instruction manual with the cooker has proved invaluable and gives very clear and easy to understand instructions for us. There is a useful guide that gives all the steps from how to wash and set up and cook the rice. My only criticism of the manual is guidelines for the amount of water needed are not generous enough and I find I do need more water than suggested to stop the rice catching on the bottom.
The removable bowl for cooking the rice is non-stick and I have found this to be invaluable in my learning how to cook with this product as at the beginning when I was not using enough water. However the non-stick surface works very well and stopped any rice getting imbedded in the bowl. I find with stir of the plastic spoon included then any rice on the bottom comes away easily. The base often has some rice starch left on it even if I have rinsed the rice for a good length of time but this is easily cleaned off when washing.
The manual suggests washing the rice thoroughly then placing in the cooker and covering with the required amount of water ensuring it goes past the minimum mark on the bowl. This I find to be very easy to use and straight forward. You then you then press the button on the front down to the cook position and time it and once ready push it onto the keep warm position for a further 10-15 minutes which finishes cooking and steaming the rice and makes it a lot more fluffy. I find if I do forget to time the rice then it is more likely to stick to the bottom of the cooker. It does seem to automatically switch to the keep warm facility after a while but this is not an automatic timer facility and shouldn't be relied on to time or cook the rice for the length of time wanted. This is handy especially if I get distracted by my son as it means the rice doesn't get burnt even if it does stick slightly. The lid on the cooker is a great fit and I have never noticed it rattling with the steam or water coming out from it during cooking. This good fit means that the steam stays inside bar the small steam hole and allows the food to cook inside to perfection.
The steamer function of the cooker is something I only utilise when cooking rice at the same time as I have a large steamer that works a treat and has a better capacity than this cooker for our needs. I find that the vegetable tray is very handy as it sits nicely on top of the cooking rice and takes easily several florets of broccoli or some beans at the same time which can then be stirred into the rice. However due to the large size of the holes in the steam tray it isn't really suitable for some vegetables such as peas or sweet corn as this would fall through the holes. I would of preferred a more mesh style bowl for this reason. I have experimented with putting peas and sweet corn actually in with the rice during cooking and find that this actually works very well and allows me to have the ingredients ready mixed within the rice. It works best if using frozen vegetables for this as the moisture from the frozen vegetables means I don't need to add extra water for them too.
Cleaning the cooker is very easy the bowl and lid are suitable for the dishwasher and seem to be cleaned well both there and in the sink. Even after over 3 months of use the bowl and surfaces are showing no signs of wear and tear and the non-stick surface is still intact with damage.
This is a great rice cooker and it cooks the rice a treat. The capacity is more than adequate for our small family and with the steamer tray included allows me to cook the rice and accompanying vegetables at the same time. It is easy to clean and the non-stick surface lives up to the claims. I would suggest adding more water than suggested by the manual to the rice to reduce it sticking and to give more fluffy rice. I find one extra cup seems to do the trick. The only function that I feel is lacking from this cooker is a timer as if this was included it would be even easier to use and reduce the need for me to keep such a close eye on it. I got this half price in the Christmas sales at around £18 which is cracking value and at this price I would definitely give it 4 stars. At the full price at £35 I am not sure it can justify the price due to the lack of timer and would then only give it if I could 3 and a half stars for value for money.
Short name: Breville ITP135