Rice Cooker Rice and Beans

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I am not really one for posting pictures of my food on social media, but in this case I have to make an exception. With our conversion to semi-off-grid, we are now exploring some of the low cost/efficient electric cooking options which we discarded years ago in favour of other technology. Now, with electricity being free we want to maximise its use on those clear western Sydney days when our system is pumping.

Our Rice CookerServe!

The humble rice cooker is a handy appliance to help with efficient one-pot cooking and there are those aficionados who would suggest it is the only appliance you need! I wouldn’t go that far, but they can be an inexpensive addition to your culinary arsenal adding variety to what you cook. There are even complete cookbooks written around just the rice cooker and it can be an eye opener just to have a look at the variety of meals a rice cooker will produce. Check out your local library!

Rice cookers seem to come in two sizes mainly, 5 cup and 10 cup, we find that the 5 cup one works for the two of us, but in former times when we were feeding 4 – 5 adults regularly we would have had a 10 cup version. There are some complex models out there but we went for a basic 5 cup model which has a “cook” setting and a “warm” setting and that’s it. It also came with a plastic rice spoon and measuring cup. Some models also come with a steaming basket which fits in the top, which is handy but not a problem if yours doesn’t.

Plus the bits

Generally I would suggest getting a rice cooker second hand if you can, but I would want to be sure that it is OK to operate. If you don’t know who owned it before you, get an electrician to check it out before you use it first. Our 5 cup rice cooker consumes 400w on “cook” and a 10 cup cooker may consume 700w, which is not much compared to a sandwich press at 2000w!

To operate a rice cooker is easy! Plug it in, place the rice and any other ingredients in the cooking pot and add the water and any spices etc. It is usual to add the same amount of rice and water, by volume. Give things a stir to distribute everything evenly, turn the appliance on and push the button to cook. When the rice is done and all the water is absorbed the cooker will automatically change from “cook” to “warm”. It can be good to leave the cooker on warm for 5 minutes just to finish things off.

The Recipe

I like this one because it includes rice for carbs, dried beans for protein and veg for vitamins & minerals (home grown of course!) and spices of your choice for flavour, it is a cheap and nutritious feed.

This will serve 2 big eaters, 3 normal (or 2 dinners + 1 lunch the next day) or 4 with a bit of something else thrown in.

Long grain rice     2 cups
Butter or marg.     2 tablespoons
Small onion chopped     1
Diced tomatoes     1 400g can or jar if you do your own
Red kidney beans    1 400g can or soak and cook from scratch
Water or stock     2 cups
Spice/flavour mix*    1 -2 teaspoons depending on taste
Diced veggies (carrot, beans, corn etc.)  1 cup


  1. Rinse the rice in cold water until it runs clear, to remove starch (if that is your thing, I rarely bother).
  2. Add the butter to the rice cooker and set to cook, you may need to hold the inner pot down to keep the cooker from switching to “warm”.
  3. When the butter is melted add and cook the onion until it is soft.
  4. Add in the tomatoes and fry for a couple of minutes
  5. Stir in the rice, water, beans, veg and spices, place on the lid and let it cook until it switches to warm. Leave for 5 min on warm to vent off remaining steam.
  6. Serve!

*Note on flavour mix – this could be any one of a number mixes depending on your likes and dislikes, we have tried a commercial Biryani Spice mix and also commercial curry powder, but Mexican spice mix of some description, gram marsala or Moroccan spices would also work well.


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