Mr. T's Vietnamese family always has rice--perfectly cooked and hot in the rice cooker sitting on the counter at their house. I grew up in a house where you bring the rice to a boil, cover and steam 20 minutes hoping for the best. When we got married, I learned my oh-so-knowledgable husband that this method was really not satisfactory enough. At the very least, the rice needed to be rinsed in three waters.
Still, my stove top method was lacking. One Christmas we were given a modest, small rice cooker from Target--the ease of cooking with this model wooed me away from the stove top method, but leaving the rice in
the cooker on warm overnight produced a sticky, crusty crust.
When we had Mr. O, my Vietnamese in-laws came to visit and looked aghast at our Target rice cooker.
I'm glad they did, because on the NEXT visit, they brought a Tiger Brand rice cooker along with a TWENTY FIVE pound bag of Jasmine Rice. This was no small, non-descript rice cooker. This is what the people who know use. "Tiger Brand" is a fabulous indicator of the mighty wonders found within.
The rice! It is perfectly fluffy and stays warm for a day or so. This means that if you are doing a crockpot supper that requires rice, you can start the rice cooking right when you start your dinner in the morning and it will stay perfectly perfect all day. This beauty also makes as little as three (we do two) cups or as much as ten, so if you are having Red Beans and Rice for a crowd, you're all set.
We've done all a manner of white rice in this, from sushi to jasmine to basmati, to plain old long grain rice. I've had varying success with brown rice as it requires extra water. (I'm too scatterbrained to record our successes and so every time I guesstimate).
For a fabulous brown rice recipe, I suggest using Alton Brown's recipe.
Another neat trick is to add in diced, cooked chicken, some olive oil, salt, frozen broccoli and sour cream and let the rice steam the broccoli--it's kind of a quick broccoli rice casserole without the cream of mushroom soup.
The Tiger Brand cooker is pricey, I'll admit. However I've found that when I have really great tools in my kitchen I'm more likely to cook-and do so with enjoyment! We rank this appliance up there with the Kitchenaid Mixer and Cuisinart Food Processor. It's just that good.