Can a Rice Cooker Be Doubled up as a Vegetable Steamer?



Working All Day and Eating Healthy Are Not Mutually Exclusive

With increasing demands made by our jobs and daily lives, we are always looking for ways to kill more birds with one stone. Cooking is no exception. After a stressful day in the office, who would be in the mood or even have the energy to cook a tasty and healthy meal? But it’s very doable if you have the right appliance such as a rice cooker with a vegetable steamer.

Many kitchen appliance manufacturers have definitely kept pulse on the life style changes and trends. They have done an exceptional job in developing new appliances with multiple features and functionality to help us manage our lives more efficiently. A case in point is a rice cooker with a food steamer.

Put Your Rice Cooker and Steamer to Work For You

Many of us know how easy and convenient it is to use an electric rice cooker. These days, a rice cooker gets so fancy that it even has a computerized chip that regulates the temperature and duration of cooking. Better yet, there are brands of rice cookers that come with a steamer on top of the inner pot. The steamer can be used for vegetables, for steaming hard boiled eggs and so on.

Sanyo, the Japanese manufacturer of consumer electronics and appliances, has a rice cooker (Sanyo ECJ-HC55S and ECJ-HC100S for 5.5 cup and 10 cup of uncooked rice) with a steamer as well as a slow cooker. Talking about having modern technology do all the work for us! I’ve done an in-depth review of the 10 cup rice cooker model in case you are interested. The 5.5 cup is only smaller and has the same of everything as far as the technology goes. The latter consumes a bit less electricity. Oddly enough, the price for the 5.5 cup rice cooker is more expensive than the 10-cup one due to the popular demand.

A Little Planning Will Go a Long Way

Imagine if you take an hour on the weekend to plan out some meals for the week. For example, you can marinade some meats and fish in your favorite sauces and grill them. Clean and cut up some fresh vegetables. I’d like to have veggies of all colors and textures. A piece of advice, don’t substitute fresh veggies with frozen ones. The frozen ones are tasteless and you feel like eating cardboard.

Marinade the Meats and Fish Overnight

For me, I make different marinades depending on what mood I am in. I can either whip up some Oriental marinade by chopping up some garlic, ginger and onion. Add a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, a dash of dry sherry, a pinch of brown sugar. If you like it spicy, mince a Thai chili or jalapeno. To add more complexity to the sauce, add a couple of anise seeds, a whole clove, and a cinnamon stick. Get creative! Get daring with your cooking!

What if you are in the mood for Italian? In this case, I would still mince some garlic and onion. Throw in some fresh oregano and flat leaf parsley. Add a cup of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. The trick is to marinade the meats and fish overnight for best flavor.



AM Ritual: Say Goodbye to Your Rice Cooker

Before going to work in the morning, you can measure the rice, add the water, select the menu setting and set the timer to cook, say one hour before you come home from work.

By the time you fight your way through traffic and get home, waiting for you is a freshly cooked pot of rice with its welcoming aroma. All you need to do is to take the rice pot out of the rice cooker and cover with some foil to keep it warm. Put another inner pot with a cup or so water into the rice cooker. Layer the steamer on top of the inner pot. Add some mixed vegetables to steam for 15 to 20 minutes while you change to lounge clothes. By the time you come back to the kitchen, your veggies should be done. Drizzle a bit olive oil. Add a sprinkle of garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper.

Who Says a Healthy Meal Requires a Lot of Effort?

Heat up the grilled meat in the microwave. There you have it. A freshly cooked meal with protein, carbs and veggies without spending hours in the kitchen after a long day.

So the secret to eating healthy is to plan ahead, have the right kitchen appliance and put in minimum effort on your part. Who wouldn’t sign up for this winning formula?

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