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How to Use a Rice Cooker

Using a rice cooker is very easy. It usually keeps the rice warm for a long time after it is ready. One of the main advantages is that you don’t need to check up on the rice as it cooks. You can continue with your day to day routine since these electric cookers comes with an automatic timer that goes off after the rice is ready.

Probably you already knew all about this but what you are not so sure about, is how to cook the rice. Being a Sri Lankan, not knowing how to cook rice would be sad. This article aims at helping you cook rice in your rice cooker in the easiest way avoiding rice burns as well as ruined pots.


  • Measure the amount of rice you intend to cook with a cup and put it in the cooking pot.

Depending on the capacity of your rice cooker, the pot may or may not be removable. If yours has a removable pot, remove it put the rice. But if your pot is built-in, then you will have to put the rice directly into your cooker. In most cases when you buy a rice cooker in Sri Lanka, it comes with a measuring scoop, or cup.

The cup can fit about 180 milliliters that is equivalent to about three quarter of an ordinary cup. If the one you own does not have a measuring cup or you have misplaced it, you can just use a normal measuring cup. A cup of uncooked rice of about 240 ml will generate about one and a half cup of to 3 cups of cooked rice (720 milliliters).

This will depend on the quality of the rice. Make sure the space is enough in order to prevent spill overs.  

  • Rinse the rice.

Some people don’t see the need of rinsing the rice but most of us do rinse the rice in order to remove the herbicides, pesticides or any contaminants that may be in the rice because you cannot be so sure about anything with so many things causing diseases. Some milling practices might create broken grains which have lots of starch.

When you rinse the rice the broken grains will be removed and you can be sure that your rice will not clump together. So if you are one of us who prefers rinsing the rice, pour enough water into the bowl or hold it under the faucet. Make sure to stir as you add water in the process until all the rice is fully submerged. After that drain the water or you can sieve as you catch the falling rice grains.

If the water is still discolored, you might want to consider rinsing the second or even the third time.  If the rice cooker you are using has a non-stick bowl, make sure to wash the rice before putting it in. You don’t want your non-stick bowl damaged because replacing one can be quite costly.  

  • Measure the water.

In most cases you get a set of instructions on the level of water to be used. The amount of water required will depend on the type of rice you are cooking and of course how you like it. Do you like moist or dry? Read the instructions that indicates the amount of rice and water should be added. Your package of rice can also have this instructions. If you prefer it moist, you will need to add a little bit more water than it is recommended on the instructions. Some people soaks the rice in the water for about 30 minutes but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.

Others adds flavoring in the water before they start cooking so if want to add some flavoring you can go ahead. Butter oil is the most common but of course it is optional. Make sure that there are no rice grains around the pot before you start cooking. If there is any, use some plastic or wooden utensil to move the grains back to the water. If the rice has been left on the sides of the pot, it will burn during the cooking.  

  • Check if your rice cooker has some special options.

Most of the models come with an on and off switch but there some that have some added features. There those who have a setting for brown rice, or even the ability to make sure that your rice will be ready in a certain time even if it is delayed. Not that you will have any problem when you just use the basic options but it will not hurt knowing the added features on your unit, will it?  

  • Cook the rice in your rice cooker.

For the rice cookers that have removable pots, the first step is putting back the pot back to the cooker. Close the lid and then press the switch on. There will be no need to lift the lid checking up on the rice because once the rice is ready the switch will just go off.  And keeping on opening the lid lets the steam escape and this might lead to uncooked rice. The cooker will only turn off if the temperature inside the pot is more than 100 degrees and this will only happen when all the water has vaporized.

When the switch has gone off and the rice is ready, then it is time tom remove the lid so that you can serve the rice. It is recommended that you wait for about 15 minutes before removing the lid because it usually reduce the possibility of rice sticking on the pot.  From there you can go ahead to serve the rice with your favorite stew.
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