Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Black & Decker 16C Rice Cooker Plus (RC426-C)
Being an avid cook and vegetarian-cookbook author, I'm always on the look-out for new gadgets and small appliances to check out and try. In the case of this Black & Decker 16 Cup Rice Cooker, I'm glad I did. Not only does this cooker make excellent rice, it doubles as a multi-purpose cooker for soups, stews, pasta dishes, chili...
At less than $20 (on sale when I purchased it several months ago) this has been a real bargain purchase. The large 16C. capacity is big enough for a large amount of rice to be cooked to perfection. And with soups and stews, several portions can be accommodated in one cooking session. Easy to use and to clean up too. Doesn't take up a lot of counter space either. For someone in a small apartment or a student just starting out, this would also be an excellent choice.
There are a few features that I think could be improved on this cooker. First of all, ditch the spoon holder on the side, I never use it and the spoon put in place there just gets in the way. Speaking of the spoon, well it's kind of a joke but it's tucked away in a drawer now so not a concern.
Another issue I have with this rice cooker is the steam vent on the top. It's rather small and isn't adjustable so when a soup or similar recipe is at full simmer, it's sometimes necessary to jiggle the lid to tilt it open it a bit (not a great idea safety wise), to allow for more steam to escape and to continue to simmer without boiling over. This could definitely be improved with a bigger and adjustable steam vent opening.
Another feature to add that would be helpful is a low and high setting, in addition to the warm. The two settings: Warm and Cook don't leave much in the way of options. If you are only using this for rice, it works fine but for other types of cooking, 3 settings would be very helpful.
A measuring "cup" is included with the cooker and it's important to use this when measuring out rice, not a regular full 1 C. measuring cup. It's actually a 3/4 C. measure. Instructions for cooking different types of rice are included in the instruction manual. I've tried a various types of brown rice, all with good results but I now add more water at the beginning of the cooking process, to get better results and no sticking on the bottom of the pot.
For example, for a 2 C measure (using their cup!) I fill the cooker to the 3 C. water line, not the 2 as stated in the instructions and it works much better. You will need to try it with your own favorite types of rice and adjust water accordingly. The tip to leave the rice in warm mode for 10-15 minutes at the end of the cooking process (it automatically clicks over to warm mode) is a good suggestion. It really improves the fluffiness and flavor of the finished rice.
For a very low price, this is a multi-use small appliance that is a real helper in the kitchen. I often have my bread-machine baking and this cooker filled with soup simmering away at the same time. And voila!!! a delish homemade bread and soup for dinner, ready in a hurry and easy-peasy cleanup afterwards!
The Amazon page featuring this cooker shows the U.S. model. The C in the model number I note on my instruction book, I'm assuming refers to the product sold in Canada. I bought ours at Walmart on sale but the one I've featured here appears to be exactly the same.
Overall rating for this product: Good. 3 out of 5.