Breaking in my Rice Cooker

Brown rice with chicken and vegetables

As a professional foodie, I’m sure you can imagine the amounts of cooking gear I have. In case you can’t, let me just tell you it’s a LOT. And trying to fit it all in my small apartment and teeny tiny kitchen isn’t an easy task, so I have to be choosy about what new gadgets and even ingredients I buy. With that being said, I couldn’t resist the urge to buy a rice cooker.

Steam coming from rice cooker

I know, I know, it’s SO easy to make rice on the stove top. I’ve done it hundreds, if not thousands, of times. But buzz on this gadget has been fierce, so when I saw a model on clearance at Target I just had to get it. The “positive” side is that I went the cheap route, forgoing the “fuzzy logic” technology that is said to produce the most delicious rice at a high price tag (those models start around $200). The negative: the Aroma brand rice cooker I bought is fairly large and I have no idea where I’m going to store it.

Cubed chickenVegetables

Despite my internal conflict surrounding the purchase, I decided to try it out this afternoon during the Bears game (they won, by the way) with an Asian-inspired recipe for brown rice with chicken, mushrooms and peas. The instructions pretty much went as follows: chop up ingredients, dump everything in the rice cooker, close top, plug in, press one button and walk away for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Yup – if you paused on the cooking time, you’re right. That was my only complaint, the long cooking time for brown rice (according to the manual, the cooking time for white rice is much less).

Ingredients in rice cookerFluffing rice

Brown Rice with Chicken, Mushrooms & Peas

8 ounces chicken tenders, cubed

6 mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 “cups” brown rice (used two full measures of the cup that came with the rice cooker which does not equate to a standard cup), rinsed well and drained

3 “cups” low-sodium chicken stock

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons mirin

1/2 cup peas

Combine all the ingredients EXCEPT peas in the bowl of a rice cooker. Cook following manufacturer’s instructions. When the rice cooker switches to “warm,” stir in the peas and fluff rice. Cover and let stand for ten minutes, then enjoy, finally.

Peas

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