THE ULTIMATE RICE COOKER COOKBOOK: 250 No-Fail Recipes for Pilafs, Risottos, Polenta, Chilis, Soups, Porridges, Puddings, and More, from Start to Finish in Your Rice Cooker

Beth Hensperger, Author, Julie Kaufmann, Author . Harvard Common $24.95 (352p) ISBN 1-55832-202-7

Although the electric rice cooker is an essential piece of equipment in most Asian kitchens, it hasn't found a home on as many American countertops as the authors believe it should; Hensperger (The Bread Bible) and Kaufmann (food editor of the San Jose Mercury News) are out to change this. Their thesis—backed by 250 interestingly international recipes—is that everything from Creamy Breakfast Oatmeal and lunchtime Old-Fashioned Black Bean Soup to dinner entrées such as Steamed Chicken Breast with Warm Mango Sauce and Coconut Rice can be made with no fuss in the rice cooker. Even risottos and polenta dishes no longer require tedious stirring. The authors begin by discussing the varieties of rice available (providing online and mail order sources), and move on to a comprehensive analysis of cookers ranging in price from $20 to $200. Each recipe suggests which kind of machine to use, but readers should be aware that not all dishes can be made in all machines. Concocting dim sum, tamales or steamed fish requires a simple rice cooker (the on/off variety), while chocolate rice pudding and applesauce call for a more sophisticated machine (the "fuzzy logic" kind). They conclude that this is the one appliance to invest in when kitchen space is at a premium, and they make a great case for the rice cooker's everyday versatility. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/19/2001
Release date: 12/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
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