“ Brand: Tefal / Slow Cooker „
We bought the rice cooker a while ago when I was going through a bento phase and having real trouble getting my Japanese rice right. I can safely say that besides the kettle and toaster this is the most used piece of kit in the kitchen. Within a week it had replaced the microwave on our kitchen worktop and we must use it two or three times a week. It's a really versitile bit of kit - as the description states it has 4 functions which are:
The obvious one. The rice cooker comes with a booklet that gives you advice on how to cook different types of rice. Because different rices have different absorbancy capacities (e.g basmati is very different to long grain which is different again to Jasmine rice) you need slightly different amounts of water for each type of rice. For my Japanese sticky rice, I find that 1:1.3 rice to water ratio works about right. You can cook up to 10 cups of rice at a time which is a hellishly large amount, so great if you're entertaining.
The rice cooker has a delayed start function which is absolutely brilliant for bento boxes. You can set your rice cooker up the night before and have warm, perfectly cooked rice in the morning. It's also great if you're going out somewhere and want the rice to be ready when you get back. It also has a keep warm function which means that if your rice is finished before whatever you're serving it with it keeps the rice nice and warm until you're ready to use it. I've found it's best to let the rice stay on keep warm for a little while after it's finished cooking as any residual stickiness/wateriness will be thoroughly worked out by that point.
I've also found it works really well if you throw some veg in to cook with your rice. If you do that, though, you might need to add a little extra water to cater for the veg. Otherwise your rice can finish cooking before it's quite finished.
We've used this a couple of times and had fantastic results. It works like any slow cooker - you throw everything in, switch it on and leave it to cook for up to 9 hours. Another great function for if you want to go out for the day and fancy a nice warm stew or soup for when you get back in. Again, the keep warm function kicks in once it's finished cooking.
The unit comes with an inner steaming bowl for steaming veg or fish or whatever. As the steamer bowl sits over the main bowl, you can steam at the same time as you're cooking the rice, which means that you really can do an entire meal in the rice cooker.
I haven't used this function so can't really comment on how it works.
Other great aspects to this rice cooker:
- it comes with an instruction book and recipe book with lots of great ideas about how to get the best use out of it.
- it's very, very easy to clean. The rice lifts easily from the non-stick bowl and you don't get any of that messy residue that it left on a pan after cooking rice. I'd say it's easier to clean than a pan.
- it's really quick. A couple of cups of rice takes around 10 minutes.
- your rice is perfectly cooked and there's no need to rinse it after cooking.
- no need to use salt (unless you want to). If you do use salt, use less than you normally would as it would be very salty otherwise.
- it doesn't use excess water. Just put in the right amount of water for your rice (following the instructions) and any slight excess will be steamed off. We usually end up with about a tablespoon of water left if the water drainer at the end.
Only downside to this rice cooker I would say is that it's quite bulky, but as it takes up less space than our microwave did we haven't really had any complaints.
I know the idea of rice cookers in this country is a bit alien. I've mentioned it to a number of my friends and they all give me a bit of an odd look, after all how difficult is it to cook rice? I understand that viewpoint, but then again you could say that it's perfectly possible to toast a piece of bread under the grill but most of us have toasters. It's hard to explain how much better the rice is from the rice cooker. It's light and fluffy, there's no excess moisture used either in the cooking or left in the rice afterwards. You can set the machine and basically forget about it, and it'll just give you a little beep once it's finished to let you know. It's really great for more speciality grain rices which are more difficult to cook right like Japanese, Jasmine or Basmati rice and as well as rice it slow cooks and steams.
We bought our rice cooker from Tesco for around £40. You can also download the user manual (but not the recipe book) direct from the Tefal website in case you ever lose it.
People kept asking us what we wanted for our wedding and so we came up with a list of suggestions that were non brand specific. One of the things on our list was a slow cooker and my husbands relatives bought us this one from John Lewis.
I was very excited because I had always wanted a rice cooker but could never justify the extra space taken up in the kitchen. I never knew that you could get one that could be a steamer, rice cooker, porridge maker and slow cooker in one.
I absolutely love it. It is easily one of the wedding presents we use the most. I use mainly the slow cooker option but I have used all four functions successfully. To slow cook, I normally brown the meat and onions in a seperate saucepan and then decant all of it and all the vegetables and liquid into the slow cooker and switch it on. The buttons are very easy to use once you have read the manual and because I have used it so much it is second nature to me now. But I have noticed my friends using it and not understanding why it is flashing to begin with so I guess you really do need to read the manual the first time. I set it to cook overnight or sometimes I set it in the morning and it cooks while I am at work. It is nice and big so you can fit a whole chicken in it. It feels a lot safer leaving this cooking than leaving things in the oven while I'm not there.
The rice cooker I find a bit more fiddly. I have to follow the recipe for exactly the right amount of water and rice or some of the rice turns out crispy. You can't make it up like you can with the slow cooker. When I follow the recipe though it makes beautiful rice.
The porridge making function is good for more than just porridge. You can use it to raise the temperature in the cooker and although it only sets for about 10 minutes that is enough to boil or fry something quickly. Also you can use it for making rice pudding out of the rice you have just cooked. It also is a lot less washing up than making porridge or rice pudding in a pan because it is so non-stick.
The steamer function I have used the least but mainly because I don't tend to eat much boiled / steamed veg. The few times I have used it has worked very well.
I am always singing it's praises to people. If we have friends coming round in winter for a weekend I will put a stew with dumplings in it before we go out for the day and when we come back it is all ready for us. It has a keep warm setting that it automatically goes to which is really useful if you are out longer than you intended. I am not sure if you are supposed to do this but several times I have taken the metal dish out of the slow cooker and stuck it under our browning grill on the oven to brown off dumplings or potatoes. It has survived that treatment fine. And the non stick metal dish is very very easy to clean.
Other things I use it for:
* Making chicken / fish / vegetable stock - on the slow cooker setting
* Making mulled wine, first on porridge setting and then on the slow cooker setting - people can help themselves and you don't have to worry about a pan on the stove at a party.
* Keeping curry hot at a buffet, people could help themselves when they arrived.
I have even taken it on a self catering holiday (now I sound really sad) because it can do rice for so many people and can just be plugged in anywhere. All in all, I couldn't wish for a more useful gadget in my kitchen.
I bought this based on reviews on this website, as a great idea to save space and time during the cooking process.
The item is advertised as a rice cooker which also steams and makes porridge as well as being a slow cooker.
I bought the item on Amazon for 69.99 but it is now 48.99, I was immediately impressed with the size, it is big enough to make rice for 8 but small enough to take a small amount of space in the kitchen, being about 6 inches by 5 inches in width and depth.
The item is easy to use, you fill the bowl with the amount of rice you require, fill water to the level which is indicated in the bowl by the number of people you are feeding and then click rice cooking.
20 minutes or so later it is done, the process is similar in making porridge, and there is a special black plastic bowl for the steaming process.
I really used the item to cook rice so will concentrate on this area of the machine, for the first few times it cooked rice perfectly, and the cleaning utensils make it a quick and easy item to clean, however.......
After a few goes, the teflon inside the cooking bowl began to stain, we wondered if it was due to the cleaning process, but it wasn´t as it is so quick and easy you couldn´t damage it, it appears that while cooking rice it overheated.
Consequently everytime we cook rice we get a reasonable amount of nice rice and a lot which is gloopy, stuck together and inedible, the item has been in the house for 8 months and we now cook rice in a pan again as we can guarantee its quality, due to this we haven´t bothered making porridge and plan to return this to Amazon or Tefal to find out what the problem is.
As I say, when first bought it cooked perfectly and we followed the instructions for cooking at all times but this was one of those items where for me the reviews are better than the actual product, it is clearly working well for the majority of people but we are in the minority who found a glitch with it and don´t really want to use it again in the future.
Overall i´d say from my experience its not worth buying but please read other reviews as the vast majority of people seem to have found this a great product, and whilst it worked for us it really was convenient, easy and well worth the money.
We don't have much storage space in the kitchen, so we wanted a multi-purpose appliance and this one can do the following:
* Rice cooking
* Slow cooking
* Porridge cooking
The model I have got has a white metal housing, but it is also available with a brushed stainless steel housing with varnish.
There is an LED electronic control panel with a button for each cooking function, and plus and minus buttons to change the amount of cooking time (or set a delayed start to the Rice Cooking function). The control panel is easy to read and very easy to use, so you won't need to keep referring to the user guide every time you want to use it! There are also Cook & Keep Warm indicator lights.
The 3.2 litre cooking bowl is non-stick and removable so it's really easy to clean with hot soapy water and you also get a plastic inner steam basket, a measuring cup and a spoon.
Whilst most people just use this appliance as a Rice Cooker, I have tried out all the different functions and this is what I think:
Slow Cooker Function:
The Slow Cooker only has one setting, not low and high like some traditional slow cookers. I've never had a slow cooker before, but judging by the time it has taken to cook the following meals and from reading recipe books, I have made an educated guess that the Tefal cooks at a low setting:
Oxtail Stew = 9 hours
Beef Stew = 6 hours
Lamb Shanks = 9 hours
Lamb Curry = 6 hours
Spare ribs = 6 hours
Everything I have made has turned out brilliantly as the meat has been really soft and tender. I love that I can just throw everything in and walk away and leave it to work its magic. Also, because the cooking bowl can hold 3.2 litres, I can cook quite a large quantity of food and freeze any leftovers (not that there are usually any leftovers!).
I like to have rice with my curries; so I have to transfer the cooked curry to a pan so can use the Rice Cooker function. This might be a nuisance for some people, but I don't mind as this allows me to thicken the sauce as it simmers in the pan on the hob.
One thing that might put people off using the slow cooker function is that it doesn't have a delayed timer like some traditional slow cookers. Apparently using a timer plug won't work with this appliance because of the electronics. I personally don't think it's safe to leave food in a slow cooker for a few hours before you start cooking it, so no points deducted from me for this!
Rice Cooker Function:
The Tefal 4-in-1 produces absolutely perfect rice! In the past I have struggled to get consistently perfect rice using different methods (steamer, microwave rice cooker, in a pan of water), but using the Tefal I'm now confident that I can make fluffy rice with separated grains.
For plain rice, you simply measure out the appropriate number of cups of rice, rinse the rice and put it into the cooking bowl. Then you add water up to the correct line marking on the inside of the bowl (the line marking will match the number of cups), for example: 2 cups of rice = line 2.
You then press the Rice Cooker function button and it will automatically calculate the exact cooking time depending on the quantity of water and rice placed in the bowl, so there's no more guesswork involved. Once it has finished cooking it will automatically switch to the keep warm function. It is possible to delay the time the rice starts cooking, however this is the only cooking mode for which programming a delayed start is possible.
It would be nice if the control panel did show the cooking time for rice though, as it would greatly help in time management when preparing a whole meal. There are estimated cooking times in the user guide, however they're not very accurate and the copy I received was really confusing, so I contacted Tefal and they sent me a different copy, which confirmed that my guide had a printing error! 2 cups of rice takes about 20 minutes and the user guide estimates 14-17 minutes, so I totally ignore the user guide and go by my own experience.
One thing that isn't in the recipe book is if you want to cook rice and steam something at the same time, so I had to make an educated guess and experiment. As cooking the rice takes about 20 minutes, I guessed that steaming salmon would take about the same amount of time and luckily I was right and produced a lovely Chinese meal, which was incredibly quick and simple - I just love those one-pot meals!
The steaming basket rests within the cooking bowl, so this is why it's possible to cook rice and steam at the same time. This is also handy for storage, as everything fits inside the cooker nicely. However, the basket isn't very big, but you could fit about 4 portions of fish or chicken into it. Fitting a lot of vegetables into the basket is a bit trickier, especially leafy vegetables, so I'd recommend cutting them into smaller pieces. Even so, I only managed to fit half a bag of pre-cut curly kale into the basket, which is enough to feed two people, but this won't suit everyone's needs.
The steamer function is very good though and produces great results and I like that I can put a lot of water in the deep cooking bowl so it doesn't need constant topping up.
Porridge Cooker Function:
I really liked the porridge I made as it had a nice creamy consistency and it didn't involve standing at the hob constantly stirring it! You just put the porridge oats, milk and any other ingredients you like into the cooking bowl (I added dried cranberries), press the Porridge function button and then enter the cooking time. The recipe book recommends 9 minutes, however the user guide says 4 minutes, so it's something you will have to decide for yourself! 9 minutes was perhaps a bit too long as there was some porridge that had slightly stuck to the bottom of the bowl, but this was easy to wash off.
The main appliance should not be immersed in water, but it is simple to clean with a damp cloth. All the other parts (the bowl, the steam shield and the steaming basket) can be washed in hot soapy water or they can be washed in the bottom shelf of the dishwasher. The user guide states that special care should be taken not to scratch the non-stick coating on the bowl and the bowl should be wiped with oil to renew the surface after being washed in the dishwasher a few times.
I have had the Tefal 4-in-1 for a couple of months now and I have to say that I think it's brilliant and I've used it loads of times, so it's not one of those kitchen gadgets that gets abandoned after a couple of uses. I love its versatility, as it truly is a 4-in-1 machine and not just a glorified rice cooker.
Power 630 watts
I was lucky enough to get this for my birthday, but a quick look online and it's available from:
Lakeland for £53.82 (free P&P)
Asda Direct for £40 (£4.95 P&P)
John Lewis for £45 (free P&P)
I recently purchased the RK701115 to what can only be described as confusion by my friends and family. They were convinced it would be yet another kitchen appliance that sat dusty at the back of the cupboard never used. They could not have been more wrong.
Not only does this fabulous machine cook rice for you with absolutely no thinking involved (you just put the correct amount of rice and water in it and it works out how long it should cook it for) but it will have dinner ready for you when you get in from work. Unfortunately it doesn't do all the shopping and preparation for you but it does provide a really simple solution for busy people. I'm a vegetarian so i will generally use it to make soups or veggie casseroles either overnight or while i am out at work - just put all the ingredients in and switch it on - it's that simple. It also steams (useful for making little foil parcels of fish and veg which you just pop in when you get home and 20 minutes later - done!), and makes porridge - perfect for this time of year.
It's super easy to clean with a non stick bowl - just be careful not to use metal utensils in it. The machine itself is quite large in size but sits on my worktop and blends in fine as it's a lovely brushed chrome and black. It's not a heavy appliance so storing it in a cupboard and getting it out again wouldn't be an issue. When it's running it's almost silent -though it does beep to alert you that your cooking is finished!
I purchased mine from Littlewoods Direct for £49.99 and though it would have been worth every penny I also got an evoucher for money off so ended up paying about £39.99 for it.
If you're a busy person who still wants to be able to cook healthy meals from scratch but not have to stand stirring and worrying about them all day -this is the appliance for you. A truly useful kitchen gadget.
Who needs a rice cooker? Well, I used to be firmly in the camp that viewed it as a useless kitchen gadget - but how wrong could I have been! Let's face it: rice can be tricky to cook, and the usual method of just chucking some in a saucepan with some water and covering to boil can be a bit hit and miss, often leaving you with a somewhat mushy mess. A far cry from the lovely fluffy rice you get served in a good Chinese restaurant.
I was first introduced to rice cookers by my boyfriend, whose extended family lived in Hong Kong for years and wouldn't live without one. Our first rice cooker was something of a joke - cheap, small (could only cook 3 portions of rice), white, and covered in pictures of rainbows and koala bears - yes, the rice cooker couldn't have been more camp! But after about 10 months, this decided to give up the ghost and begin leaking water everywhere so we decided to opt for the Tefal RK700015.
Compared to our old rice cooker, the Tefal is a monster of a contraption, capable of cooking rice for 10 people. Fairly big, the size of a large saucepan, it looks pretty stylish in silver and black. It comes in 2 parts, the outer container which contains the heating device and has a smart click-shut lid, and the non-stick pan, which is where the rice goes into and just fits inside the cooker.
We bought ours from Amazon.co.uk for £39.99 and it comes with a free 12 month warranty.
*How to use*
The best thing about the rice cooker is the ease of use - it really is designed for those who struggle to boil an egg! It can cook every type of rice I've ever heard of - plain, brown, basmati, jasmine. Everything is done from the snazzy but simple control panel on the front of the cooker, and they even help you out when it comes to measuring the amount of rice you need by providing a measuring cup (1 cup = 1 portion, what could be easier!) and a chart instructing how much water to use depending on how many cups you've used or the different types of rice you're cooking with. Simply measure the amount of rice you need and put into the pan, add the required amount of water, click the lid shut, press the rice cooking mode button and a red light next to rice cooking comes on, then press the start button, and you're away! It automatically calculates the time required for the quantity of rice and once it's cooked it will click onto the Keep Warm setting so that you don't have to stand over it waiting for it to finish cooking. For my two person portion of rice it's normally ready in half an hour, so you can press start and just walk off and do something else - no stirring, no checking, nothing!
*Tips for Use*
Do let the rice stand on the Keep Warm setting for a few minutes so that the final steam can be properly absorbed into the rice and then when you open the lid there won't be a huge gush of water rolling down the side (though Tefal have thoughtfully attached a "dew collector" on the side to prevent this kind of spillage). Give the rice a stir with the black plastic rice spoon included (don't use your own as it will remove the non-stick coating from the pan) and serve! I have been genuinely delighted with the rice we have made using this: it's light, fluffy, slightly sticky, and such a huge improvement on the rather mushy rice I used to make in a saucepan, and so much easier! Occasionally you may find that the rice at the bottom of the pan is not as good as the top, but this is very occasionally and we always have more than enough rice anyway so it's not a big issue for me. Once you've got to grips with how it works (really shouldn't take too long!) you can start experimenting to get the rice exactly how you like it. More water gives you softer, more sticky rice and less will give you firmer - I'm a big softie with mine! We've perfected our rice cooking technique by allowing the rice to soak for about 10 minutes and then rinsing before starting the cooking as this seems to remove a lot of the starch. Another tip is not to open the lid while cooking to check on it - this will let all the steam out and your rice won't be as fluffy! Now our rice is even better than when we go out for Chinese and we now have rice with everything - fish, chilli, chicken - you name it, rice will go with it!
Another great feature is the delayed start function - if you're off out but want your rice to be cooked when you get back, simply program the amount of time until you want to eat and it will let the rice soak until it needs to start cooking and then automatically start cooking at the right time. Genius! Me being me, and not always being particularly technological or possessing a huge amount of common sense, thought this would be very complicated, but it couldn't be simpler. There is a TIME button on the control panel and after selecting the rice cooking function, simply press the TIME button until your required time is shown, then START and you're done. This function is particularly great as the extra soaking time means that the rice comes out even fluffier and with very minimal bits stuck together at the bottom of the pan.
The usual problem I have with kitchen gadgets is that they create so much more washing up than the traditional method of cooking, but the rice cooker is also so easy to clean - the non-stick pan is the only part of the cooker that requires real cleaning (though of course you will need to wipe over the rest of it occasionally!) and this is made easy by the fact that rice never burns or sticks to the bottom. It's also dishwasher safe.
It's not just good for rice cooking, but can also be used as a slow cooker or a steamer. Slow cooking works much the same as rice, just select the Slow Cooking mode rather than rice, and for steaming, you are provided with a little black plastic bowl to put your veggies in which goes in and then just select the Steaming mode. Not being a huge fan of slow cooking or steaming veg myself, I can't say I'm all that impressed with either of these functions, but they work fine for what they are. The bowl for steaming the veg is on the small side, but if the veg is only a side dish it should contain enough for 4 people.
All in all, this is one of the best buys I've made and is a must-have for the kitchen - easy to use, easy to clean, and makes rice just absolutely perfectly!
The Electronic 4 in 1 Rice Cooker has 4 exclusive cooking settings that alllow you to cook rice, Steam, slow cook and rice pudding or porridge / There is no compromise on style with a renewed control panel design with blue LED and brushed stainless steel housing, this rice cooker will fit into any kitchen / The automatic keep warm function switches on at the end of cooking so the food is ready to eat when you are / Short name: Tefal RK701115