I enjoy cooking and spending my free time in the kitchen, trying new recipes and meal prepping. But since I don't have very many mouths to feed (or a lot of counter space) I get by on a simple collection of cookware, utensils, and essential appliances. I haven't had a microwave in years and I only recently got a toaster. I love rice and other grains but the idea of buying a rice cooker, something I’d only use once or twice a month, never crossed my mind. When I got the Dash Mini Rice Cooker as a gift I was shocked to find out it’s basically a 2 cup crock pot. It’s a plastic outer pot with an electric heating element and a metal inner pot, with a non-stick coating, for cooking the food. It comes with a lid, measuring cup (essential for the recipes in the booklet), and rice paddle.
Aside from plugging it in, there’s no set up required —this isn’t a complicated piece of technology. There aren’t sound effects or a digital display. There are just two settings marked Warm and Cook. When you plug it in it will be on Warm. The Cook setting will stay on for 20 minutes and then automatically switch back to Warm. To cook for an additional 20 minutes you push the lever back down. When I took it out of the box, I thought it was so cute and I loved that it would easily fit in a cabinet, but I was skeptical it could cook enough food for two adults. Plus I usually cook enough to have leftovers (although I admit I don’t love eating them).
Two cups doesn’t seem like a lot but it turned out to be just the right amount of rice for two entrée-sized servings or a large family style platter of fried rice. It took me about 40 minutes to cook two cups of short grain rice to a light and fluffy texture. I love chili but I don’t like how long it takes on the stove top. Instead I combined a can of beans, a squeeze of tomato paste, and a mix of sautéed vegetables, set it to Cook (3 times), and without having to stir I had chili for two in an hour (and we didn’t have to eat leftovers for the rest of the week).
I made the chocolate cake from the included recipe book which serves 4. I watched it carefully while it cooked because I wasn't sure what to expect. In 20 minutes I would have had a cake with a gooey middle. After 30 minutes the top was firm and it was pulling away from the sides just like a cake baked in the oven. I tilted the pot and it slid right out with a nice, even color on the bottom and sides. I was impressed that this little pot got hot enough to bake a cake. While the Cook setting can boil liquids in a few minutes, the Warm setting is too low to boil and doesn’t create a lot of steam. This makes it great for warming queso, tempering chocolate, and melting butter; three things I couldn’t accomplish easily without a microwave. I’m sure this mini rice cooker will continue to be a big helper. Maybe it will even earn a permanent place on the countertop.
Dash Mini Rice Cooker
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