A rice cooker bowl is the pot, or bowl, that fits inside a rice cooker. The bowl is typically made from non-stick aluminum, glass or ceramic and can be easily lifted out of the cooker for food preparation and cleaning. It is lightweight and extremely durable. The bowl can also refer to the rice cooker, or outer bowl, that the pot sits in.
This simple device usually comes with a basic heating element fitted at the bottom, as well as a thermostat and a switch to turn the element on and off. More elaborate and expensive models are sometimes fitted with dials to regulate the heat. Some of the rice cooker bowls have inbuilt sensors and timers to ensure that different types of rice are cooked to perfection, as well as continue to warm the rice after cooking. In fact, a rice cooker bowl is able to cook other dishes as well, such as stews and soups. Many restaurants employ much larger appliances and the bowls are able to serve up large quantities of rice with ease throughout the day or evening.
When cooking rice, the rice cooker bowl is generally filled with the appropriate amount of water, depending on the type of rice or meal being cooked, then the rice is added and the timer set to the corresponding temperature and time. The cooker is then left to boil the rice without further supervision. Once the rice has absorbed all the water in the bowl the cooker will automatically switch to a low heat. One of the keys to cooking rice in this device is to ensure that just the right amounts of water and rice are added to the bowl. Cooking times are based on the quantity and type of rice being used, whether it is white, brown or long grain rice.
Boiling rice in a rice cooker bowl does not necessarily quicken the process. It simply reduces the cook’s involvement with the process. The rice cooker bowl is usually electrically powered and can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour to produce fully cooked, fluffy rice. Electric cookers are not recommended for rice dishes such as paella and risotto.
Rice cookers have been around for a long time in one form of another. Ceramic rice steamers are known to have dated back to 1250 BC. By the mid-1940s AD, the electric rice cooker bowls were first made by Mitsubishi in Japan, but with the ever-expanding popularity of Asian cuisine, the cookers are now available across the globe.