A rice cooker is a handy appliance that perfectly cooks rice with minimal effort required. All you have to do is pour in rice and water, and the machine takes it from there. Some companies make appliances that can function as both rice cookers and deep fryers. If you have a standard rice cooker, you can't use it to deep fry foods, since the temperature does not get hot enough, but you can use it to gently stir-fry vegetables alone or as part of a tasty rice dish.
Prepare the Rice Cooker
To use your rice cooker to stir-fry foods, start by drizzling a little bit of cooking oil, such as vegetable oil or olive oil, into the rice cooker bowl. Close the lid and start the regular rice cooking cycle on the machine. Wait until you can feel the outside of the cooking unit get warm with your hands, then open up the rice cooker. The oil will be warmed up and ready for frying.
Toss any vegetables you wish to stir-fry into the hot oil. Add minced garlic, diced onion and any flavorings you'd like. Stir the vegetables with a wooden spoon as they fry. Close the cover to the rice cooker occasionally, but watch the vegetables closely to make sure that they don't burn. When the vegetables look slightly golden and crisp, you can remove them with a slotted spoon and let them rest on a plate lined with paper towels, or leave them in the cooker if you plan on using them to create a complete vegetable and rice meal.
Once your vegetables are fried to your liking, you can create a fried vegetable and rice dish by adding water and rice right into the rice cooker pot with the vegetables. Turn the unit off, then add the rice and water as your normally would. Turn the machine back on, close the lid, and set the rice cooker for the regular cycle. When the cycle is finished, you'll have perfectly cooked rice along with your stir-fried vegetables.
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Avoid frying frozen vegetables in a rice cooker. The water in frozen vegetables can cause the oil to pop, which puts you at a high risk for burns. Always wash your rice cooker pot well with warm soapy water, especially after using the pot to fry foods, to make sure you remove any oily residue.
Leigh Good has been writing for magazines and newspapers for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in numerous print and online publications. Good has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Georgia State University.