The Best of the Best Rice Cooker Cookbook: 100 No-Fail Recipes for All Kinds of Things That Can Be Made from Start to Finish in Your Rice Cooker

The Best of the Best Rice Cooker Cookbook: 100 No-Fail Recipes for All Kinds of Things That Can Be Made from Start to Finish in Your Rice Cooker

by Beth Hensperger


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This beautiful book will have you falling in love with your rice cooker as you use it every day for perfect-every-time rice and an incredibly surprising range of other foods.

Rice cookers are ideal for the way we cook today. They are versatile and convenient, with one-button operation and a conveniently small footprint on your kitchen counter—plus, they can be cleaned in a flash when you are done cooking. Rice cookers make foolproof rice and beans, of course; but, as Beth Hensperger shows in this collection of the 100 best recipes from her earlier Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, they cook a whole lot more than you might have thought.

Here are all sorts of grains beyond rice, including quinoa, millet, and couscous, as well as all the popular pulses and legumes. In these pages, you will also find custards, hot cereals, and puddings, which, it turns out, cook up like a dream in the rice cooker. For substantial meals, there are a host of tasty and easy-to-make risottos, pilafs, chilis, stews, and soups, some with meats and some vegetarian.

Unlike the earlier book, this new book has beautiful color photos to inspire you, as you make a heartwarming Sweet Brown Rice with Curry, Carrots, and Raisins; a zippy Fiery Pineapple Rice with Cashews and Cilantro; or a comforting Millet, Squash, and Sweet Pea Pilaf. Never has such a humble and simple-to-use kitchen appliance seemed so powerful and full of promise.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781558329638
Publisher: Harvard Common Press, The
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 591,050
Product dimensions: 7.80(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Beth Hensperger, a New Jersey native who has lived in California since her teens, has been educating, writing, and demo-lecturing about the art of baking for over 30 years. In the last few years, she has shifted focus to countertop appliance–driven cookbooks that embrace adapting traditional and professional recipes for the home cook: the bread machine, the rice cooker, the microwave, and a four-volume compilation specifically for use with the electric slow cooker, stressing personal creativity in preparation and selection of ingredients. Hensperger is the author of over 22 cookbooks, including the best-selling Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook series, which includes Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker  Recipes for Entertaining, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker  Recipes Family Favorites, and Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker  Recipes Recipes for Two, along with the blockbuster first volume, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. Her other books include highly-acclaimed titles such as The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook, The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, NYM Microwave Cookbook, and NYM Weeknight Cooking. She is also the author of The Bread Bible (Chronicle Books), winner of a James Beard Award in 2000. She has twice been nominated for the Julia Child/IACP Cookbook Award. Hensperger wrote a San Jose Mercury News food column for 12 years, Baking with the Seasons. She is a contributor to dozens of national and online cooking & lifestyle magazines, such as Food & Wine, Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, Veggie Life, Cooking Light, Working Woman, Victoria, Prevention, and Family Circle, and is a sought after newspaper and radio interviewee speaking on slow cooking, bread baking, and entertaining. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Visit her website at and blog at

Read an Excerpt



American Long-Grain White Rice — 1
Chinese-Style Plain Rice — 2
Converted Rice — 3
American Jasmine Rice — 4
Thai Jasmine Rice — 5
Medium-Grain White Rice — 6
Japanese White Rice with Umeboshi and Sesame — 7
Riso — 8
Short-Grain White Rice — 9
Steamed Sticky Rice — 10
Long- or Medium-Grain Brown Rice — 11
Short-Grain Brown Rice — 12
Germinated Brown Rice — 13
Brown Basmati Rice — 14
Wehani Rice — 15
Black Rice — 16

Buddha is said to have existed on one grain of cooked rice per day while on his early ascetic path. His mendicant disciples are given the credit for the spread of the rice culture, along with its cooking pots, making rice basic fare throughout Southeast Asia and China. For the Buddhists, this set the atmosphere to imbue the grain with the power for supernatural nourishment (thus making rice the food of alms throughout Asia) as well as a simply wholesome foodstuff (the first food an Indian bride serves her new husband).

Japanese Zen Buddhists have lent the name "little Buddha" to each grain in their rice bowls; children love the association.

The gentleman-scholar Confucius, a contemporary of Buddha, was known as the apostle of virtuous living and a gourmet. He is said to have established the philosophical basis for today's Chinese cuisine: food that combines the attributes of fine sensory aesthetics with inner harmony. His meticulously prepared daily rice bowl, always perfectly white, would be the background for the jewel-like colors of contrasting or similarly hued complementary foods, served in a bowl that was also a work of notable artistry. This is the ancestry of the rice, cooked in basically the same manner, that graces our tables today.

Rice, the most popular grain in the world, comes in a wide variety of textures, colors, sizes, and tastes. It is grown in every temperate and tropical zone on this earth. The explosion of interest in traditional ethnic cuisines, from Asian to Middle Eastern cooking, has introduced a staggering array of different types of rices to the home cook. After cooking, some rices are dry, with each grain delightfully separate, while others are moist and sticky. All types can be cooked successfully in a rice cooker. Of all existing species of rice in the plant world, only two types have been cultivated. One is native to the African continent and the other, Oryza sativa, is indigenous to Asia.

This latter species is the rice that the world eats, knows, and loves. There have been tens of thousands of varieties, cultivated and cross-cultivated off the early ones, over a multitude of centuries.

There are two distinctly different shapes of Oryza sativa. One is long and slender, known as indica, or long-grain rice. The other is short, plump, and more translucent, known as japonica, or short-grain. Once you have these two types set in your mind, you have the key to knowing the basics about rice. Within each type of rice, there are many varieties. While some people think that rice is just rice, so very many traditional dishes call for a specific rice in their preparation. Indica (for India) is the grain of choice for pilafs, a favorite Western rice dish. It is a low-starch rice and cooks up dry, with each grain separate from the others. This is the preferred rice for salads and a pile of plain old hot rice and butter for dinner. Long-grain rice can be rather bland, like extra-long Carolina gold, or aromatic, like Thai jasmine and Indian basmati. Long-grain rice always requires more liquid to cook properly than medium- and short-grain white rices. Long-grain rices are popular in all cuisines of the Western world and are the rice of choice in India, China, and the Philippines.

Japonica (for Japan) includes short- and medium-grain rices. While Americans make a distinction between short- and medium-grain rices, please note that outside the United States these rices are both known as short-grain rice. These are the rices grown in Southeast Asia, Korea, and Japan and are generally not exported. The University of California at Davis developed the variety of medium-grain rice so beloved by Japanese-Americans, called Calrose, and a good portion of the California rice-growing land north of Sacramento is devoted to this and similar varieties of rice. The finest short- and medium-grain domestic rices are such superior rices that we were told they are brought as house gifts when visiting in Japan.

Short-grain rice is known for its clumpy, clingy nature, perfect for eating with chopsticks, and often eaten only when dining at a Japanese restaurant. It is beautifully made at home in the rice cooker, giving your sushi or Japanese recipes that wonderful authentic touch. There is also a short-grain sticky rice, sometimes known as sweet rice (it is not sugar-sweet) or glutinous rice. This is a specialty rice eaten in Japan, parts of southern China, and the mountainous northern areas of Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, where it is rolled into balls and popped into the mouth. This type of rice is usually steamed, rather than boiled like other rices, because it is mercilessly sticky otherwise. It is also used in rice desserts and porridge.

Different varieties of japonica rice are grown in northern Italy, France, and Spain. These have plenty of the starch amylopectin and are featured in the traditional dishes of these areas, risotto and paella. Medium-grain rice is the rice of choice in the Caribbean, Central America, and Japan. Medium- and short-grain rices are nice for rice pudding, giving it a thick, naturally creamy consistency.

Rices are further categorized by how each is processed. Plain white rice, whether long-, medium-, or short-grained, is processed, or milled, by a procedure called polishing. The bran and germ are removed (hulled) to make the grain more digestible and faster to cook. It is then enriched by spraying it with thiamine, which is lost when the bran is discarded. Thiamine is needed for the proper metabolizing of carbohydrates and iron.

Brown, or unhulled, rice is a whole grain, with its bran and outer layer of fiber intact. It has all the vitamins and minerals rice has to offer. Because of the oil-rich bran, it is best kept refrigerated or frozen, rather than on the cupboard shelf, where it can go rancid. Brown rice will always take at least twice the amount of time to cook as white rice.

In the United States, more and more specialty rice varieties are being grown for niche markets. Several varieties of rice have been developed to perform like the imported white Thai jasmine and Indian basmati. There are numerous varieties of rice that have unusual bran colors, like Wehani, red rice, and black rice, all technically considered brown rices.

Converted rice is long-grain white rice that has been parboiled and dried before refining. It is an excellent, firm white rice; do not confuse it with instant rice. We don't usually use Minute rice or instant rice, which is completely precooked and dehydrated. Cooking up quite mushy, instant rice just cannot compare with fresh-cooked white rice. But if you are backpacking or traveling (and cooking in your motel room), instant rice has its place.

There is a place for every type of rice in the home kitchen. No rice is better or worse than another; it is totally dependent on your own palate. "Rice is a live thing," says Ken Lee, co-owner of Lotus Foods, a specialty rice import company with its headquarters in El Cerrito, California. "You have to pay attention since every rice can vary from time to time." This accounts for the rice you make every day looking, behaving, and tasting just that little bit different, even though you made it the same way you always do. If you buy rice in bulk, note the proportions of liquid to rice that worked best for that batch and be prepared to reassess the recipe when you buy your next batch of rice. Variables include the time of year, how old the rice is, what grade you bought, and how the rice was stored; it changes all the time.

When buying or evaluating rice, you want to look at the color of the grains; they should be pearly (for white rice) or shiny (for red or black rice) or evenly tan (for brown rice). The grains should be the same size, without a lot of broken grains or milling bits in the bag (and certainly no bugs!). Judge the aroma of both the uncooked and cooked grain; every single rice will have a different fragrance, from floral, grassy, nutty, or herbaceous to earthy and musty. The aroma will blossom and intensify after cooking into a bouquet of sorts. Some rices lose their aroma as they cool. Then there is the final texture, which is dictated by the amount of water absorbed during the cooking; some people like chewy rice, others like it mushy. And, finally, judge the overall flavor of each rice. Sweet and nutty to wholesome and bland, each rice is an adventure to the palate.

Every recipe in this book will specify what type of rice is needed, so you won't have to wonder when a recipe says "rice" what it means. Keep your cupboard stocked with different rices and, before you know it, you will be a bona fide rice lover with a vast repertoire of different rices that are less than an hour away from serving.

Long-Grain Rices

The kernel of long-grain rice is slender and about four times as long as it is wide.


Carolina gold, America's long-grain indica rice, was first grown in the waterlands of North and South Carolina during the eighteenth century. It is also known as southern long-grain. Dozens of varieties of this rice have been developed. This is the most common type of rice consumed in the United States — and the world — as a table rice, beloved for its dry, separate grains and bland sweet-grain flavor. After the destruction of the Civil War, growing shifted to Texas on the Gulf of Mexico, Arkansas, the Missouri riverbeds, and the Louisiana Mississippi delta, all areas with a specific type of soil and moisture perfect for rice growing, where its cultivation flourishes to this day. The top producers are Arkansas, then Texas, and the northern Central Valley of California.

Some brands will have the state of origin on the bag (look at the address in the small print on the side of the bag); others will be generically labeled "long-grain rice." There are slight differences among varieties, and many varieties are kept separate for special processing like parboiling (converted rice), while similar rices are mixed and packaged under the generic label by super-companies like Uncle Ben's and Riviana (Mahatma). American long-grain rice is good for casseroles, side dishes, curries, pilafs, jambalaya, salads, chili, stuffings, and waffles.


Part of the royal duties of Chinese princes was to plant the first grains of rice at the beginning of each growing season. In China, rice growing has been an agricultural passion for millennia, rivaling that of India. In Mandarin, a bowl of plain rice is known as fan, or rice bowl rice. Asian long- grain rice is a slightly moist rice, but not sticky like Japanese medium- or short-grain, or dry and separate, like Indian basmati or converted rice.

It is never aromatic. It is pure, simple rice at its most basic.

Inspect a pile of rice sacks in the corner of your Asian specialty market, labeled in Chinese, and this will be Asian-style long-grain rice. This is the rice called for in Chinese recipes, served in Chinese restaurants and for fried rice. It is the preferred rice in China, Taiwan, and parts of Southeast Asia. Little of this rice is exported, so unless you shop in Asian grocery stores, any type of Carolina rice can be substituted.


Known for their authentic floral-incense scents emitted during cooking, aromatic rices are exceptionally popular now for all-around cooking purposes. They were once served to Asian royalty and reserved for religious holidays. Varieties are now being grown domestically, but connoisseurs seek out the imported brands.

Basmati rice, which translates to the "queen of fragrance," is imported from the Indian Himalayan foothills of the Ganges Valley and Pakistan. Its distinctive flavor is an integral part of the cuisine of India and is said to be the result of the combination of the Himalayan headwaters and the soil of the Punjab, the famous ancient valleys of the Indus River and its tributaries (the best grade still comes from this region). Fine basmati commands high prices. This rice has a high amylose content and a firm, almost dry texture when properly cooked. The raw kernel is long and slender like southern long-grain, but is slightly smaller, and the kernels increase in length by more than three times when cooked to produce a very long, slender cooked grain. The best Indian basmati has been aged for at least one year (with no broken grains in the bag) to increase the firmness of the cooked texture and increase the elongation achieved in cooking. It is simply one of the finest rices grown, with a rich flavor, and is perfect for pilafs, curry, biryani, casseroles, and sweet puddings. It is a great all-purpose rice. Excellent brands include Pari, Daawat, and Tilda, although if you shop in Indian groceries, the bags can also be labeled by the area in which the rice is grown.

Thai jasmine has a lovely muted floral quality akin to the scent of tropical flowers (hence the name) and is more nut-sweet than basmati; it is the second most popular aromatic rice in America. While classified as a long-grain rice and looking much like Carolina rice before and after cooking, it contains the same amount of moisture as medium-grain rice and cooks up more similar to that type. The national rice of Thailand, it is ever so slightly sticky and tender compared to basmati. The rice is best consumed after the new crop is harvested, as the rice hardens in texture and loses aroma with time. There are many varieties being grown in the United States in imitation of this unique type of rice, with Jasmati being the best offshoot of the lot. There is now a Texas-grown domestic organic jasmine (both white and brown) available from Lowell Farms that is a must for jasmine rice lovers. The first American-grown jasmine is marketed in cloth sacks by Della and grown in the delta areas of Arkansas and Missouri. For a lovely salad, steep a jasmine tea bag in the cooking water for a few minutes before you make a pot of jasmine rice. Jasmine is not the traditional Chinese rice, but today many Chinese-American consumers are making the switch. Good brands are Mahatma, Pacific International (formerly Homai), and Tilda, labeled Riz Parfumé.

Calmati, Texmati,Kasmati, and Jasmati are all domestic offshoots of the wonderful but more intensely flavored aromatics. Calmati is an Indian basmati crossed with regional varieties of Carolina long-grain grown in California. Texmati, a Texas long-grain basmati adapted to the area, was bred twenty years ago by RiceTec, Inc., and was the first grain in their line of hybrids. Texmati is part of RiceSelect's Royal Blend, a combination of white and brown Texmati with scarified wild rice, so that all the types cook in the same amount of time. Kasmati rice has a stronger aroma and firmer center of the grain, which is visible upon inspecting the individual grains. These three rices have basmati's viscosity and cooking style, but smaller individual grains. Jasmati is Texas-grown Carolina long-grain rice crossed with Thai jasmine rice and our favorite of these aromatic offshoots; it cooks up softer, is snowy white and fragrant, and stays moist longer under refrigeration. It is recommended for rice puddings. All of these rices cook very quickly, like other long-grain white rices, with some rest time on the Keep Warm steam cycle at the end to set the starch. Look for RiceSelect brand, the marketing arm of RiceTec, Inc., formerly the Farms of Texas Company, the largest private rice research and plant breeding company in the United States. Located in the "rice belt" south of Houston, which covers an area from El Campo to Beaumont on the Gulf of Mexico, RiceTec contracts with small local farmers to grow their proprietary seed (the farms are in various locations to avoid total crop devastation in case of tropical storms). A 14ounce (390 g) box contains 2 cups (475 ml) of raw rice.

Della rice is our homegrown American aromatic basmati grown in Arkansas, the landlocked area that is not a river delta but the Mississippi River basin, a prairie that is known for how well it holds water, irrigated by extensive ground wells. Decades ago, Lehman Fowler of the Southern Rice Marketing company planted a variety of Indian basmati seed that he adapted for growing conditions in the United States. It is marketed as a white and brown rice under the Della Gourmet trademark of Specialty Rice, Inc. (an offshoot of the now defunct Southern Marketing), along with domestic Arkansas jasmine, Texas Arborio, and domestic Koshi Hikari Japanese rice. Della basmati cooks up nice and dry with distinct grains and is a popular variety to cross with other rices (the different seed stock relatives of Della all have names like Delmont and Delrose, with slightly different characteristics). It is subtle, but still has that nutty basmati taste that is easy to eat alone. Della basmati has been nicknamed "popcorn rice." The most notable American rice offshoots from the Della seed stock are Wild Pecan rice and Louisiana popcorn rice, both with the same faint characteristic perfume.


Excerpted from "The Best of the Best Rice Cooker Cookbook"
by .
Copyright © 2012 Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann.
Excerpted by permission of The Quarto Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

It All Started with a Grain of Rice 7

The Rice Cooker Machine 9

Rice Made Perfectly 22

Simple Rices and Small Meals 57

Pilafs 72

Risottos 86

Sushi 93

Whole-Grain Cooking 106

Polenta, Grits, and Hominy 119

Hot Cereals 126

Beans, Legumes, and Vegetables 136

Whole-Meal Steaming 150

Puddings, Custards, and Fruit Desserts 159

Index 172

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