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We eat quite a bit of rice, some we cook at home and some we get from the Indian and Chinese takeaway. Our Friday night treat is a Chinese take out and our midweek 'can't be bothered to cook' treat night (usually a Tuesday for some reason) is usually an Indian takeout. On a recent economy drive we worked out how much we would save by not buying takeout rice; it comes to about £10 a month which doesn't sound a lot till you work out we spend around £120 a year on take out rice. Buying a rice maker then became a perfectly reasonable investment.
After a bit of research we decided to go for the RK700015 also known as the Tefal Electronic Multi Cooker. This is a combined rice cooker, slow cooker and steamer. It is a fairly compact round machine; its dimensions are 29 x 28 x 28 cm (H, W, D) so it doesn't take up much space; about the same as a large saucepan. It has a very large capacity and can cook up to 10 cups of rice which is enough for 10 portions. In litres this equates to a volume of 3.2. 1 level cup holds approximately 150 grams of rice
The exterior of the body is finished in stainless steel trimmed with black plastic. It is well made and sturdy. The stainless steel finish doesn't pick up a lot of fingerprints which is very pleasing. The interior bowl is aluminium with a non-stick coating. There is a large spatula/spoon and holder, measuring cup and steaming dish included with the cooker. It also has a condensation catcher
The control panel is petrol blue and is easy to use with minimal buttons, just mode, time and start and the display panel is clear and easy to see.
It is very simple to use. When cooking rice you use the measuring cup to measure out the rice, and there is a chart which indicates the amount of water to use and There are graduated markings inside the bowl so you can add the right amount of water easily .These are marked in both cups and litres. You always put the rice in first so you get the amount of water right. It is best to use the included large spoon for stirring as the rice container is non stick and the supplied spoon won't damage the interior coating.
When using it as a slow cooker you get the best results by starting it off in a saucepan as you would a stew. If you bring it briefly to the boil you will kill of any bacteria so they don't multiply during the slow cooking. You tip it in the cooker straight after it has boiled. I have cooked stews, bolognaise pasta and chilli in it but we now have a separate slow cooker as it is more convenient and we can have the rice and the meal cooked at the same time. I don't use it much as a steamer as I prefer to use a bamboo steamer over a saucepan.
The aluminium bowl is removable and when replacing it you need to rotate it left and right to ensure it is seated in the correct position and has good contact with the hotplate underneath. The steam shield and condensation collector should be checked to make sure that is in the correct place too you then add the food ad liquid, replace the lid, and click it locked and that's it. (The lid stays cool to the touch for safe release). It will either start cooking straight away or at the time interval you have selected if you are using the delayed start. You can delay cooking the rice for up to 9 hours which really is great if you want it ready for when you return from work either with the takeaway bag in your hand or the main course cooked and waiting in the crock-pot.
To start the cooking process after closing the lid you then press the mode button and the first red 'rice cooking' LED indicator light ill flash and then press start to start cooking. The Tefal automatically works out the time depending on the amount of rice and water. It also stops the cooking process once all the water has been absorbed and will move into the 'keep warm' stage and the orange LED pops on at this stage. When delaying he start you use the time key to programme the interval you want and then the start key to set it.
Once you are used to its basic operations you can mess about with it a bit as if you add a little bit more water the rice is moister and if you add a little less the rice is a bit dryer. It is possible to use any type of rice, long grain and short grain, basmati brown, wholemeal or white. quick cook rice doesn't cook well in this cooker and becomes mushy and far too sticky and has a nasty tendency to stick to the bowl so save your money and buy the less processed ordinary rice; it better for you anyway
We use it primarily for cooking rice but we have used it for casseroles and for steaming vegetables. I have tried steaming vegetables at the same time as cooking rice but that wasn't very successful as neither came out very well.
When cooking meat, fish or vegetables you can set the timer any where from 1 to 60 minutes. If you use it as a slow cooker there is a 1-9 hour timer. neither of these sections have a delayed start but all three modes offer an automatic keep-warm function. With rice I find its best not to keep it warm for too long as it can make the texture a bit too mushy for my taste.
An essential part of any kitchen equipment is the ability to keep it clean easily. The Tefal RK700015 really is easy to look after. The outside just needs wiping over and all the removable bits are easily washed. We don't have a dishwasher yet but the steaming basket and aluminium bowl are both apparently dishwasher safe. The condensation collector needs emptying and washing after each use
Recipes ~~~~~~~~~~~~ The user guide has a couple of dozen recipes split between the 3 modes. We have tried several of these and were a good way to get used to the cooker as well as being tasty. There are a few sweet recipes too which are worth trying
Best results when cooking rice ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rinse rice under cold running water and drain thoroughly before putting it in the container as this removes any extra starch. Spread the rice evenly around the base of the bowl not in a little pile in the centre. Don't open the lid as this lets steam out and lengthens the cooking time. You don't need to open it anyway as it doesn't need stirring. Once its cooked you should give it a good stir then put the lid back on for a couple of minutes as this helps separate the grains and adds to the fluffiness
Overall opinion ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The rice comes out perfect every time, fluffy and tender without being mushy and squidgy. I find it doesn't stick (unless kept warm for much too long) and you don't get that nasty starchy water spilling over onto your cooker. The Tefal Electronic Multi Cooker RK700015 takes all of the hassle and trickiness out of cooking rice and gives consistent, perfectly cooked results each time .We have found it particularly great if you have friends over for a meal as you can time everything and spend your time with them rather than fretting over a pot of steamy rice. It's certainly much more fun having a glass of wine with your friends than standing in the kitchen with a gurgling pot of rice steaming away and making your hair lose its style and replacing it with frizz!
Ours cost just under £40 from John Lewis and we have found it to be well worth the money
Very useful review. Another tip for those without one of these gadgets. Cook the rice, well covered in lots of boiling water, until just tender. Then drain away all the sticky starch that's now in the surplus water and the rice will be left light and fluffy. Easy!
mintsuper 05.10.2007 23:54
Great writing and I think very useful for many of us. I often keep search this kind of things
dvdsprks2 03.10.2007 18:33
Great review sounds like a good investment have an E. David