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Re: rice cookers and brown rice/grains

>I absolutely love my rice cooker for making white rice, but I'm not sure
>what modifications to make for cooking brown rice.  Do I use the same
>ratios of rice:water as for stovetop cooking <snip> Will the
>cooker know when the rice is done, or should I force it to cook longer than
>it wants to?  Also, does anyone use their rice cooker to cook things other
>than rice (like barley or beans etc)?

I've cooked brown rice, barly, garbonzos, black beans, navy beans, etc in
mine. For brown rice I use slightly more water than the instructions
suggest for white rice (which is less than 2:1 (water:rice)). For barley I
use slightly more that 2:1 ratio. For beans I use slightly less than 3:1.
The only time I ever cook white rice in it is when I want jasmine rice for
thai meals, yet it is the most used appliance in my kitchen (I eat lots of
whole grains & beans).

>Which leads me to another question:  How exactly does the rice cooker know
>when to stop cooking?  <snip> Or does the dumb thing just have a
>preset cook time and doesn't really sense when things are done?

I think mine monitors when the water has all boiled off. It definitely
cooks different amounts of time depending on what's in there. It always
stops when all the water is gone, and if I didn't add enough water things
are crunchy, and if I add too much, they're mushy. Maybe it's like the
thing in the dryer which is supposed to shut off when your clothes are dry,
only the one in the rice cooker seems 300% more accurate!!!

My rice cooker is the Japanese kind, btw (a gift from my brother's Japanese
in-laws). I don't know if the transparent American ones work the same way
-- has anyone else experimented with them?