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I eat a lot of rice dishes, yet (and this is a source of eternal shame for me) I have never been able to master cooking rice in a pan on the hob. My attention span is too short, I wonder away, and the pan boils dry (I have the same issues with boiling everything). I've always used a rice cooker, and until last October this was my faithful Cookworks model, which after three years of heavy use and abuse, decided it didn't want to play anymore.
Whilst feature wise I'd have been happy buying another of the same, I've been in the process of replacing my kitchen appliances as they broke with shiny stainless steel and chrome finishes, and the white would have stood out like a sore thumb. However,the Breville RC3, which I got for £20, and which also acts as a steamer, fits in with my colour scheme perfectly.
At 24 x 27 x 27 cm , it doesn't take up too much of the worktop, and unlike my old model, since the steamer basket sits internally rather than getting added on the top, it all fits away nicely in my cupboard. Included in the basket are the main electrical body of the cooker, the internal bowl for cooking the rice, the steamer tray, and instruction booklet, a rice measuring scoop and a plastic spatula. With a 1.8 litre capacity, it easily cooks enough rice for four people, with a little bit left over.
The instructions were clear and very easy to follow, the cooker took minutes to get set up, I added in my rice and water, with the handy measuring scoop helping to ensure I got the right proportions, switched it on, and true to form wondered off to do my own thing! The cooker basically works by cooking the rice until all the water is absorbed, after which it buzzes to let you know when the rice is done. It's not the loudest buzzer in the world - I can hear it if I'm in the living room, but not when I'm upstairs. Not to worry though, once the rice is cooked, the cooker will simply switch to warm mode rather than cook mode automatically. The cooker does have a clear glass lid enabling you to keep an eye on things if you want to.
The non stick bowl can be lifted out of the cooker for serving at the table if you want to (or for washing). I however tend to plate up in the kitchen directly from the appliance, so that any rice not portioned out can stay warm while we eat. Occasionally rice does stick a little to the bowl, but not to the extent that it requires much elbow grease to remove it (and naturally, being non stick, you should be careful scrubbing the bowl). The rice comes out nice and fluffy, soft but not wet, and I've never had any issues with it burning or being overdone. I do find the rice at the very bottom of the pot can tend to get a little crispy if left warming too long, so if I think it's going to sit for more than 10-15 minutes, I do like to add an extra cup of water for luck, which prevents this from happening.
There is also an internal steamer, which you use simply by filling the non stick bowl halfway with water, then popping the steamer on top. I have used this on occasion to steam chicken feet and steamed buns, though naturally with the steamer you have to pay attention, as different things take different times to cook, and you can't rely on the cooker to know what meats or desserts are inside the buns. I do find it is a nice tray if I am steaming dim sum for myself alone, but if I am steaming a lot I still prefer to use the traditional bamboo stackers. Nothing sticks to it though, which is good, but it's not a function I use too often.
The bowl is very easy to clean (it is dishwasher safe, but I don't have one myself,) as is the clear glass lid. The outer stainless steel part of the cooker wipes clean and buffs up to a shine easily, and my cooker still looks pretty much as new after 5 and a bit months.
Overall, I'm very please with this. For the £20 I paid I really think I got excellent value for money, especially as it has such a nice large capacity and looks very sleek and stylish. Perhaps my one criticism, not one that affects me personally, but that might put others off, is that it's not really suitable for cooking a single portion of rice, so may not be the right size for everyone.
One of the things I hate most about cooking is cooking rice. There is a very small margin of error between it being just right, and mushy. So I bought a rice cooker.
Got this one because of good revies on other sites, plus it was down to £20 in Argos!
It was bigger than I expected, taking up mre of the counter than I wanted, but as long as the rice was good (we eat a lot of it), I would be happy. The instructions are clear. 2 scoops of rice, 2 scoops of water, throw it all in, turn on, 15 minutes later, rice.
That works in theory, but reality is a bit different. One of the main issues I had was that the minimum of 2 scoops of rice is way too much rice for 2 people at one meal. It turns out about 130 grams of dry rice per person. I normally do 100 grams per person which is just about enough for me, but more than enough for my wife, who normally leaves a bit. This churns out a third more, which is a bit of a waste. Luckily, despite the instructions, it can cook 200 grams of rice quite nicely, so alls good there.
You also need to wash the rice. this meand sticking it in a sieve under a fast running tap until the water is clear. this can take a good 5 minutes when done properley, so adds time to the whole process.
The rice does only take 15 minutes to cook, but you need to leave it at least anothe 15 minutes on the warm setting to get it fluffy. Not that much of a problem if you are cooking sonething with it, but not the speedy result as promised.
Despite the failing mentioned, the rice comes out very well indeed, fluffy but firm. You can swap the water for stock, which makes a nice savory rice, and it even comes with a steamer rack, so you can cook a peice of fishg while the rice does. a meal in one go!
I would recomend this machine as despite the shortcomings, the main this is the quality of the rice, and on that it delivers.
When I was a child my Hong Kong-living cousins came to visit for a while and my auntie brought a rice cooker with her.
Back in the 70's boil in the bag rice with a sloppy chilli con carne was as exotic as it got in our house - but with the arrival of my cousins there was a whole new world of delicious Cantonese dinners, a mince dish for breakfast and the most memorable fluffy white rice.
Now I cook a lot, but over the years even rinsing the rice, letting it stand or using a microwave I have never quite recreated the delicious rice I remember from my childhood.
I had long hankered after a rice cooker, but it was one of those things I had never got round to buying. At a little under £30 (Jan 2009 £25 at Amazon) this kind of gadget is still a bit of an outlay if it is going to gather dust in a cupboard.
I must admit that I got this rice cooker a little by accident. It was offered by a freecycler (www.freecycle.org) so wasn't something I had shopped around for. I feel qualified to review it as when I acquired the rice cooker it was as new and came complete with the handbook, scooper, measuring scoop and steaming tray that accompany the rice cooker.
The lady had passed this item on as it was too big for her use - it is advertised as a family rice cooker, and this is the use to which it has been put in this house.
So how does it cook the rice, and more importantly does it do the job well?
The cooker comes in two parts - there is an outer cool wall shell and an inner non stick and removable bowl with a 1.8 litre capacity. You plug the machine in, add rice and water and press the button.
The cooker cooks the rice and then keeps it warm ready for use, a buzzer lets you know when it is done.
The accompanying booklet gives you cooking times and quantities which I won't list here, but for a family of 4 it takes about 20 minutes for the rice to be ready. You cannot use "easy cook" rice in the cooker (well you can but it won't get good results), and wholegrain takes about 10 minutes more.
You use exactly the same amount of water as rice - so you could in fact use any measuring cup to get the quantity correct. It is pretty fool-proof.
So far the results have been fantastic and we use it at least once a week. The rice is always perfectly cooked and fluffy, not sticky. I add a splash more water than they say as otherwise I find the rice can stick to the bottom and get a little crispy if you are not eating it straight away.
This proved a great feature at a buffet where we used the cooker to full capacity to cook for a large number of people.
You can also use the cooker to steam vegetables - a great way to cook vegetables quickly whilst retaining vitamins and minerals - I have yet to try this as I have to admit I prefer the conveniance of my microwave, again the booklet provides full deatils.
The bowl cleans easily - my only criticism would be that the cooker is a little heavy to lift. I couldn't find any technical information as to how heavy exactly but my kitchen scales reckon a little under 6 kilos for the whole thing, the outer shell by itself being about3 and a bit kilos. It would be nice it they had thought how to store the cord when not in use.
Talking of the cord it is a little short - the cooker produces a little steam in use and I am always worried about the steam getting into the spotlights under my kitchen cupboards so a little more of a generous cord would have been nice.
The stainless steel walls of the cooker seem to dint easily after use, when e.g storing with other small appliances but the build quality is good in general.
I don't own any other breville appliances - bar a 20 year old sandwich toasters, but I would buy one in future.
You can of course stick to using a boiling a pan full of water - but actually a rice cooker has been more useful than I thought it would be, I don't think I could do without one.
So is that rice as good as that I remember - yes it is - but I like to think my chilli is a big improvement on the 70's experience - sorry mum!
Say goodbye to uncooked burned and soggy rice! The Breville RC3 Family Rice Cooker and er delivers perfected cooked rice every time / It features a large 1.8L capacity / plenty of room to cook rice to feed even the whole family and their guests / A light indicator allows you to keep tabs on the rice and monitor the cooking and warming modes / Finally the non-stick removable bowl makes it easy to serve the meal and clean up after you have finished eating even if the rice is left sitting in the bowl for hours / You can't go wrong with the Breville RC3 Family Rice Cooker and er! 700 Watt 1.8 Litre capacity Indicator lights show cooking and keep warm modes Bell to indicate when the cooking cycle is complete Stainless steel internal ing tray Tempered glass lid Non-stick removable bowl Includes plastic measuring cup and spatula Complete with instruction guide / Short name: Breville RC3