Getting Creative with Rice
Trying to think of something good for dinner tonight? Maybe by reading these rice cooker reviews, you will be able to come up with something delicious. Here are just a few of the best rice cookers on the market today.
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer
This pricey option took the longest of all the machines to prepare brown rice, but it produced consistently excellent white, brown, and sushi rice. The “fuzzy logic” technology supposedly adjusts time and temperature settings as needed during cooking, and its extensive menu includes settings for “harder” or “softer” rice as well as “quick cooking” (though the rice will be slightly firmer). Its timer and water line markings are clear and the removable inner lid is easy to clean.
Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker
For a cheap, one-button machine, this model produced impressive white and sushi rice, though brown rice was a tad dry. Its lift-off lid maintained a tight seal, so rice cooked quickly. It lacks a timer but makes an audible click as it switches to keep-warm mode.
Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity Deluxe Rice Cooker/Steamer
While this cooker was intuitive, large quantities of rice were unevenly cooked—soggy in some sections, chewy and dry in others—and the quality of the rice further deteriorated as it sat in keep-warm mode. It makes a minimum of 2 cups uncooked (about 4 cups cooked) rice, which is often more than we want to make. Starchy water became trapped under the plastic gasket in the lid and made it difficult to dry properly.
Zapiekanka is a Polish dish somewhat similar, in construction at least if not in taste, to other dishes such as the Italian appetizer bruschetta. This dish consists of a baguette of bread, either sliced in half along its length or cut into round slices, which is topped and then baked until crispy. The toppings used on this dish can vary widely among regions of Poland and the preferences of a cook or eater, but traditional toppings include mushrooms and grated hard cheese. Zapiekanka is then often covered lightly with a sauce after baking, and while ketchup is traditional for this dish, some people prefer mayonnaise or garlic sauce instead.
The name of this dish comes from the Polish word zapiekac, which means “to bake” and can be used to indicate any baked dish in general. During the time in which territories of Poland were part of the Soviet Union, as food and money were scarce for many citizens, “zapiekanka” began to refer to a particular dish that was cheap and easy to make. After the end of the Soviet Union, the tradition of eating zapiekanka as a Polish fast food continued, and many restaurants and street vendors continue to sell this dish.