Rice cookers are a staple of Japanese kitchens. After using them in China, and now in Japan, I’ve discovered how versatile they can be.
Many people believe that you can only make rice in a rice cooker, but just because the name tells you so doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with it. There are loads of simple dishes and drinks that can be made in a rice cooker in under an hour—and with minimum preparation. Here are three of my favorite rice cooker recipes perfect for the rainy season ahead.
1. Spiced French toast casserole with azuki spread
A great recipe that can be eaten for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
Serves: 4 Cooking time: 45 minutes
4 slices of white bread
375 ml of soy milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and mandarin orange juice
½ teaspoon of mandarin orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar (white sugar is okay, too!)
64 grams of azuki (Japanese red bean) paste
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon of cinnamon
With a sharp knife, cut the bread into small, square pieces.
Next, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla extract, mandarin orange juice, mandarin orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and light brown sugar.
Then, place the bread into the same mixing bowl as the mixture. With a spoon, evenly coat the bread with the mixture.
Pour the bread into the rice cooker bowl and allow it to sit for five minutes.
While the bread is in the rice cooker, place the azuki paste, unsalted butter, light brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
Stir the ingredients together until the azuki paste is light in color.
Evenly spread the paste over the bread.
Cook the casserole for 45 minutes on the nikomi (煮込み) setting, or until the bottom of the casserole is browned and the spread has melted.
Serve while hot.
Optional: Top the casserole with fresh whipped cream.
2. Red sauce with shiitake mushrooms
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