Your rice cooker can do much more than just cook rice. It can steam, broil and even slowly boil soups and beans. While built-in functions are common in an electric cooker, many simple rice cookers have only one on / off switch. But that does not mean you can not use a simple 3 or 6-cup instant rice cooker for steaming. Moreover, steaming vegetables in a rice cooker are no biggie. You have to take a few things and you can serve yourself a healthy batch of treats.
People who are afraid to use the stove can go for an electric instant pot. They are extremely easy to use and maintain. Almost all models come with a user guide to help you better understand your device. While many of them come with a recipe booklet that contains delicious rice cooker recipes. The booklet also informs you about the cooking time for the different types of rice and water required. So whatever type you prefer, white, brown or jasmine, a good quality rice cooker can prepare it perfectly for you. But let’s find out what else you can do by using a rice cooker at home?
Steam vegetables in a rice cooker (with basket)
Rice cooker comes with a steam basket that is ideal for steaming vegetables. The perforated stainless steel steam basket helps to sear vegetables perfectly without overdoing them. If not steel, many models include a silicone vapor basket. These baskets are designed in such a way that they are easy to assemble and take out of the instant pot.
Depending on the size of your stove, add the recommended amount of water. Usually it takes 2-3 cups to steam vegetables perfectly in a small rice cooker. But you need to add more water if you own a large unit with a capacity of 6 or 8 cups. Then fill the steam basket with your favorite vegetables and carefully place it inside the stove.
Now select the steam mode and set the timer. If your instant pot does not have a timer, do not worry. In this case, guess and just turn on the machine for 5 minutes. Increase the time if there are many vegetables to be steamed. Although it sounds threatening, it is very easy to steam vegetables in a rice cooker that comes with a basket.
Steam vegetables in rice cookers (without basket)
First of all, check if you can double your rice cooker as a steamer. If the manual says yes, you can buy a small trivet that fits perfectly in your instant pot. You can put the vegetables directly on the trivet to steam them. Or if the size of the vegetables is small and is likely to fall out of a trivet, you can lay a sheet of foil over the top. This allows you to steam small vegetables in the rice cooker that does not come with a basket.
Today, there are many collapsible steamer baskets on the market. Instead of silicone, go for a steel steamer. It lasts longer, plus it does not hold stains of turmeric-based foods. And best of all, many steel steamer baskets are dishwasher safe. So you can simply blow it inside the dishwasher after use for easy cleaning.
What foods can you steam in a rice cooker?
There are many other foods that steam well in a rice cooker. Below is the list of some common vegetables that people usually steam in their instant pot. We have also mentioned the approximate time it takes to steam.
- Broccoli florets – 5 min
- Carrots – 8.5 min
- Asparagus – 5-6 min
- Green beans – 4-5 min
- Small potatoes – 12-18 min
- Cauliflower flowers – 6-7 min
- Brussels sprouts – 10-12 min
- Peas – 2-3 min
- Spinach – 3-5 min
How are vegetables cooked for steaming?
Small vegetables like peas and baby broccoli can be added directly to the steamer basket. However, large vegetables like cauliflower and carrots need some preparation before adding them to the steamer. You need to cubes carrots, cauliflower cauliflower, diced large potatoes and slice mushrooms for proper steaming. But certain vegetables like artichoke can be added as a whole. Just make sure to trim the artichoke properly. In addition, green leafy vegetables like spinach can go in as a whole without cutting or trimming.
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Can you steam frozen vegetables?
Yes, you can steam frozen vegetables in the rice cooker. Steaming frozen vegetables is actually the best way to preserve water-based nutrients. In addition, it does not take much time to steam frozen vegetables.