Sticky rice comes in many forms and comes from all countries worldwide. It’s popular in areas such as Thailand, China, and even Japan. There are many different recipes you can cook using sticky rice and while there are a few different names, they are all the same.
Sticky rice is typically steamed, but you can also make sticky rice in rice cookers. It cuts down on steps and makes it a lot easier.
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What is Sticky Rice?
If there’s any type of food that symbolizes Southeast Asia, it’s sticky rice. It’s the staple food and is widely eaten worldwide. For the most part, it’s a medium-grained rice that is opaque white before its cooked. When it cooked its different from jasmine “sticky” and it contains a different type of starch. The starch amylose is almost near absent in sticky rice. It’s sometimes referred to as sweet rice. It is often sold in Thailand and marked as pin kao.
Sticky Rice vs. White Rice
White rice and other varieties contain two types of starch-amylopectin and amylose. How sticky rice is depends on the proportion between these two starches. There’s a higher amylose content in white rice (about 19-23%) meaning it’ll turn out fluffy, while there’s lower amylose content in short-grain rice (about 12-19%) which causes grains to stick to each other. On the other hand, sticky rice contains a max of 1% amylose and a high concentration of amylopectin which makes it sticky when it is cooked.
Uses for Sticky Rice
There are several dishes that sticky rice can be used in including desserts. Some people use it in sushi, dumplings, and more. It’s great for use in stir fry or in Italian risotto. In Chinese cooking though, long-grain rice works well for savory dishes while short-grain rice is great for desserts. Long-grain rice is firmer while sticky rice, or short-grain rice, is sweeter and softer.
What is a Rice Cooker?
Rice cookers are compact appliances placed on countertops, and they are designed to cook large amounts of rice with little to no supervision. Rice cookers consist of a non-stick inner lining and heating element, making it simple and ideal to use if you are going to be busy for a while. It’s an excellent asset for businesses that might need to produce large amounts of rice daily. They are also great for personal use if you plan on making a unique dinner that night.
The initial rice cooker was introduced in Japan in 1955 by Toshiba. Because it was widely popular, other companies soon joined to add an innovative appliance to their kitchen.
How to Use a Rice Cooker
Using a rice cooker is relatively simple. First, wash it thoroughly before using it for cooking. It prevents rice grains from sticking to each other and promotes good hygiene. To help ensure grains don’t stick together, make sure you use olive oil, but wild or brown rice might require additional water.
For each cup of rice you plan on using, make sure you use one cup of water. One cup will equal to be about 2 cups of cooked rice. For softer rice, add an additional cup of water and slightly less for firmer rice. The firmer the rice you want, the less water you’ll use. Increase the water for softer rice.
For the most part, any good rice cooker will have an inner bowl with measurement lines inside to help measure water and rice as needed.
Why Should You Use a Rice Cooker?
Cooking rice has traditionally been a time-consuming task that required lots of soaking and more. Electric cookers make the process a lot easier by mechanically and electronically controlling the temperature and timing. It makes it easier to save time while allowing you to pay attention to different aspects of cooking your meal.
All you need to do is measure the rice and water, place it in the rice cooker and set it and let it do its thing.
Many modern-day cookers have an insulated casing and a warming mechanism that helps determine when the rice is done cooking. The cooker will automatically turn to a keep warm feature. It will prevent the rice from being overcooked.
For most rice cookers, it’ll take about 30 minutes to an hour to cook rice. The time required will depend on the amount of rice being cooked and the rice cooker’s model. Some rice cookers have a higher heating element, while others will not.
Different Types of Rice Cookers
The main thing that rice cookers boil down to when choosing the best one is its features. You can choose various features in your rice cooker, and below are just a few of these features that can set multiple cookers apart from one another.
Cleaning a rice cooker can be simple in most cases, but if rice gets stuck inside the cooker, it becomes a bit of a task. Instead of washing a cooker while trying to avoid getting electrical aspects wet, having an inside that can be removed makes it a lot easier. By being able to take the inside container out, it makes clean up a breeze. This removable inside container is also great if you have leftover rice to store without having to dirty other dishes.
Overcooking rice can be easily done if left in a cooker for too long without being supervised. There comes a point where it sticks to the container’s side, which can be tricky to get clean and a bit of a chore. By getting yourself a non-stick rice cooker, cooking becomes a breeze.
These cookers allow you to use a warm setting, keeping rice warm without cooking it more. Soaking your cooker overnight becomes a thing of the past with non-stick cookers.
Warmer Setting Cookers
It can get challenging to cook everything, so it is all done at the same time. Something ends up being undercooked or overcooked, and things just become a mess if you are cooking three or more items at once. Instead of trying to get it all done at the same time next time you plan on cooking a rice meal, consider a rice cooker with a warmer setting on it. It takes out the guesswork when it comes to keeping rice warm without overcooking it. It is also an ideal option if families can’t always eat together at the same time.
Have you ever had a dinner party and forgot to turn off your rice cooker? This can be something done all too commonly. Some people come home later than they were expecting and find their rice is crispy and overcooked. Having an auto shutoff option means you’ll have peace of mind rather than having to worry all day about turning it off.
Cooking a lot of components to a meal can become a task in itself. Having some help can be nice, and that’s where a programmable cooker can come into play. If you’re picky with rice and want it to soak beforehand, a programmable rice cooker can be a great addition to any kitchen. This means you’ll have the perfect rice for dinner. You can adjust temperatures, timer settings, and more allowing you to be the pickiest rice fan.
Sticky Rice in a Rice Cooker
Making a batch of rice can be easy. Now, when it comes to making sticky rice, this might be a bit trickier. Traditionally, sticky rice is made by steaming it. It’s a process that’s more complicated as opposed to normal rice. That being said, fewer people make it.
What Type of Rice to Use for Sticky Rice?
When it comes to making sticky rice, the shorter the grain, the better the sticky rice will be. Any short-grained rice will work better than your traditional long-grained rice. What you are looking for is called glutinous rice as it’s sticky in nature—looking for the real deal? You might need to check out a specialty shop that features Thai rice.
Chinese Sticky Rice Recipe
There are several recipes available, and here is a simple and easy recipe you might want to try the next time you want to be creative with your dinner dish.
Easy Sticky Rice
- 2 cups sticky rice
- 2-2.5 cups water
- .5 tsp salt
- Add the above ingredients to your rice cooker and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
- Turn on your rice cooker, and if it has an automatic timer, let it cook until it turns off.
- If your cooker doesn’t have a timer, time it for 15-20 minutes.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes until ready to eat. The longer it sits, the stickier it gets. Play around with the amount of water to find the one that’s right for you.
Do You Have to Soak Sticky Rice?
Before cooking sticky rice, it should be soaked in cold water for anywhere from 4-10 hours. Some people will soak it overnight. Some will say you don’t have to soak it, but it won’t be as sticky or as good.
Tips for Buying the Right Rice Cooker
For a detailed guide on which are the best rice cookers click here!
There are a few things to consider when it comes to buying the rice cooker that’s best for you. Here are a few things to consider before you run out and buy the first one you see.
What should you spend on a rice cooker? This all depends on the features you want in a rice cooker. How often are you going to use a rice cooker? If you plan on using it daily or a few times a week, make sure you get yourself a good one. If you plan on using it once in a while, you can get away with buying one less expensive. However, you’ll save a lot more money when buying one that’s a tad bit more money than if you were to buy a cheaper one.
What to Look for
There are a few things you should make sure your rice cooker has and these can include:
- Ease of use
- Beeper or alarm that will tell you when rice is done
- Warner option
- Steamer tray that allows you to cook something else while rice is cooking
- Non-stick coated inner pot that can be taken out
Should You Buy a Rice Cooker?
Some people wonder if a rice cooker is a wise investment. In short, yes! If you find you cook rice more than a time or two a month, a rice cooker is going to b a wise choice to have in your home. They not only save time, but they offer great benefits to allow you to cook some of the most perfect rice.
Benefits of a Rice Cooker
Rice cookers are designed to help make cooking simpler. Well, at least for rice. No matter what type of rice you choose to cook, there are several advantages that come with using a rice cooker. You don’t have to wait for your rice to boil. Rice cookers can keep your rice warm if you aren’t exactly ready to serve your rice.
There’s a secret to rice cookers though….in some instances they can cook more than just rice! In some instances, and with some experimentation, they can cook other things as well. Here are a few hidden benefits you didn’t know about your rice cooker!
Did you know you can make oatmeal or other hot cereal in your rice cooker? Add a little less water or milk as you would if you cooked them on the stovetop and you’ve got perfectly made hot cereals for breakfast which is beneficial for cooking on the go if you are in school.
Steam Your Veggies
Who doesn’t love their veggies steamed? If there’s a steamer rack in your rice cooker, you can use this to steam your veggies, potatoes, tofu, and more!
Sauté some onions and butter in your rice cooker, add 1 part of Arborio rice and then 4 parts liquid, such as a wine or broth. Cook for 25 minutes and then use the “slow” or “porridge” setting to make some of the best risotto you’ve ever had!
Rice cookers serve many purposes that you might not have ever known about. They can make some of the best sticky rice or some of the best steamed veggies. Either way, a rice cooker has become another top appliance to add to your kitchen.