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Gluten Free Meets the Rice Cooker

Posted Jun 09 2009 12:17pm

I was introduced to the rice cooker by Emi Momotani.  Emi came to our family as an exchange student from Japan.  She was very surprised to find out that American kitchens do not have rice cookers.  I, on the other hand, was very surprised to learn that Japanese kitchens do not all have coffee makers. Most do not.  It was a kitchen cultural exchange.

Little did I know how fond I was to become of my little rice cooker. I watched in awe as Emi nonchalantly dumped rice and then water into the pot. There were no settings, no dial, no timers, nothing to figure out.  A short time later there was a perfectly cooked batch of Asian rice.  After having experienced numerous stovetop rice failures, I found this fascinating. How did it work? 

I googled it and learned that the pot has a sensor which reacts to the disappearance of steam inside the pot. Clever!  But, would it work for quinoa? I put in my quinoa and water…………Voila!  a perfect pot! How about millet?……..Voila! another perfect pot!  This was a real find.  I could cook up a batch of Gluten Free grain, divide it in half and have some right away and  freeze the rest for another time. 

I have since moved up from my very basic model to the second tier model.  Rice cookers are very inexpensive. They can cost as little as $20. in your local discount chain.  The basic model with which I began,  has a tight fitting lid and simply cooks the rice. The next level up has a latch to insure tight seal on the lid. The next higher level of model will not only cook your grain but also keep it warm.  We are now the satisfied owners of this type of rice cooker.

After my bread machine, my rice cooker has become my favorite Gltuten Free appliance. Emi has since  returned to Japan.  I wonder if the Momotani family has purchased a Mr. Coffee? 

Lynn Cicero, M.S., R.D.

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