Electric rice cookers, a variation of pressure cookers, don't necessarily need to be used only to cook rice. They can also be used to boil dal and sabzi.But not to fry or sauté. What differentiates a rice-cooker from a pressure-cooker is that though it cooks under covered pressure, it works more like a steamer - the lid is loosely fitted and is held down by its own weight.It consumes between 400W to 900W.
TYPES OF RICE COOKER
On/Off Rice Cookers
The least expensive rice cooker although it is perfectly capable of cooking a good batch of rice. Just add rice and water, and it will turn off once the rice is cooked. These lack many of the features seen in a higher priced cooker, such as non-stick rice pans, and indicator lights. They work well as a basic, small rice cooker.
This type of rice cooker has a feature that will automatically switch into a ‘keep warm’ mode once the rice is cooked. It becomes handy if you want to eat at different times. Many have built in steamers and other helpful features.
Fuzzy Logic Rice Cookers
These are programmable rice cookers that let you select different rice textures regular, soft, firm or modes that make cooking rice for soup, porridge and sushi a simple task.
These have an induction heating system and are high end rice cookers. This technology allows for even heating of the rice resulting in perfectly cooked rice. These cookers will have temperature sensing methods that are more accurate and heat distribution will be even throughout the entire rice pan, not just radiating from below. The level of heat can be adjusted accurately and instantaneously and the program can correct for measuring errors automatically by making adjustments to the cooking time and temperature.
RICE COOKER FEATURES
A 3 to 5 cup model is adequate for two or three people or a small family. Opt for more capacity (6-10 cups) if you have a big family or tend to cook large quantities at once.
The price of rice cookers varies based on size.
You should ensure that the cooker container is non-sticky for easy cleaning.
Other Features and Accessories
An auto timer -All rice cookers have an automatic shut off. When rice is done the unit automatically changes to the "warm" temperature. There is no light that indicates that the rice is done. If you want to turn off the "warm" feature you have to unplug the unit. There are some rice cookers that have "electronic cook" and "keep warm" feature. In this case the unit keeps rice warm for up to 12 hours. If you are family that eats rice during the long period of time these rice cookers might be the ones for you.
A dew collector to avoid water droplets settling back onto the food.
A built-in keep warm function
A non stick cooking bowl
An internal streaming tray
Cool-touch lid and indicator lights
Accessories including a spatula and a measuring cup
Some rice cookers offer steaming trays. You are able to steam your vegetables while you are cooking rice. You can also steam your vegetables before or after the rice is done. Even though they cost more than a basic model these are a good machines to choose if you are looking for something more flexible and safe.