FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Just two scoops rice? Microwave it
By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Food Editor
I was complaining about this when it happened: One of my co-workers, a card-carrying Local Girl who once took vacation just to learn how to cook her oba-chan's New Year's recipes, said she doesn't use a rice cooker anymore. She cooks rice in the microwave.
We stared in disbelief. No rice cooker! I think they can throw you out of the state for that.
She described her technique: 1 part rice, 1 part water; let rice and water sit a few minutes in a microwave-proof container; microwave 6-7 minutes on high, 6-7 minutes on 50 percent power (6 minutes for 1 cup rice; 7 for 1 1/2 or 2 cups). And she swore that her husband, a card-carrying Local Boy, wouldn't eat rice cooked any other way.
Well, she was right.
At first, I microwaved the rice in a lovely little porcelain casserole dish a friend gave me, sized just right and nice-looking at the table. Still, there was one little annoyance: the rice always boiled over, leaving starchy white scum on the floor of the microwave. If ever I forgot to clean it up, the ants would be in there doing the macarena by the next morning.
Then, burrowing through the interesting stuff at Marukai, I stumbled on an inexpensive plastic microwave rice pot Êjust a tub, a perforated top that allows the rice to bubble up and a locking top over to keep the liquid from actually boiling over.
I had to try a couple of brands before I found one that fit in my rather smallish, old microwave, but when I did, the Seto Speedy cooker (pictured below) worked beautifully despite the fact that all the directions were in Japanese and I had to pray that my friend's original formula would work. The price for this Japanese brand was $19.95 but I've since seen several options for $10 or less: a Japanese brand at Marukai for $8.99, Norpro at Shirokiya ($10), Miracle Wear at Daiei ($9.99).
If yours is a small household that enjoys its daily rice, check it out. And if you already knew about this ... how come nobody told me???