The first domestic rice cooker came in 1955, created by Toshiba. Replacing the cast-iron cookware of the time, which worked on the wood stove, electric rice cookers came to assist Japanese housewives in the tiresome task of monitoring the heavy rice cookers.
Soon after, other companies entered the market, adding innovations that expanded the usefulness and characteristics of rice cookers. Today, they are widely used because they are practical, hygienic, produce delicious tasting foods and just need a plug to work.
Some might think, "But if I have to plug it in, won't I waste a lot of energy?" You will spend a little energy yes, but it saves the cooking gas you would use with a conventional pan, which would normally be more expensive. In addition, electric cookware has the advantage of not burning food, keeping it warm and automatically shutting down.
But, how does an electric pan work? It consists of a thermally insulated container with a built-in heating element, a non-stick inner pan and a plastic or glass lid. When activated, heat begins to transfer to the inner container. The basic settings are high, low and off. Responsible for calibrating the temperature of the pan contents is the thermostat, a small spring activated thermometer that sits at the bottom of the main pan structure.
During the process, the food is cooked in its own broth at a slow and constant pace, which leads to a more natural preparation. Since there is no contact with water, the properties of foods, as well as their nutrients, shape and taste, are preserved.
They range from the simplest single-dial pans to the most luxurious pans with buttons or digital displays. The latest ones offer a timer that turns off the pan or changes the temperature to keep food warm after a preset cooking time. Some models even have pre-programmed timers for certain recipes.
Today, electric pans are used for the preparation of various types of food, such as rice, beans, pasta, vegetables, meat, soups and stews.
In the case of rice, which needs water and a lot of heat to cook the grain, it needs to go through four steps: soaking in the water, boiling, watering and resting. In a conventional pan on the stove, it is difficult to perform this whole process perfectly, hence the advantage of electric cookers, which automatically guide rice through these stages.
The process of cooking rice is as follows: when the water reaches the boiling point (100 ° C), it does not heat up anymore. As long as there is water in the pan, the temperature should be stable. When the rice absorbs all the water in the pan, the temperature begins to rise. The electric pan detects this change and may turn off or enter the heating cycle. At this point the rice has finished cooking and has entered the rest stage.