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What can I add to my rice cooker to create a similar flavour? Also I find, rice comes out quite dry even when I put more water? There's a slight oily sheen to it. Will this help?

Thanks heaps!

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You'll probably want to ask this as two questions -- one about it drying out even after additional liquid, separate from the attempt to recreate the boxed mix. –  Joe Nov 13 '13 at 21:44
    
I've never read it, but there's a rice cooker cookbook by Roger Ebert (yes, the film critic). It's possible that there might be something similar in there. –  Joe Nov 15 '13 at 2:02
    
Does your rice cooker have an automatic shutoff? I wonder if it's just shutting off too late, so that if you add more water it just cooks it off. –  Jefromi Nov 18 '13 at 23:27
    
When you say your rice is too dry, what do you mean? Is the rice still crunchy from being undercooked, or has the rice cooked fully and then begun to dry out? –  sourd'oh Nov 18 '13 at 23:33

3 Answers 3

The ingredients on Uncle Ben's Chinese Fried Rice are:

LONG GRAIN PARBOILED RICE, SOY SAUCE (SOYBEAN, WHEAT, SALT), DEHYDRATED VEGETABLES (RED BELL PEPPER, CARROT, PARSLEY, ONION, GARLIC), MODIFIED CORN STARCH, GLUCOSE SOLIDS, HYDROLYZED PLANT PROTEIN (WHEAT, SOY), MALTODEXTRIN, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, FLAVOUR, SPICES, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN, COTTONSEED), SILICON DIOXIDE, SALT, CARAMEL, VINEGAR SOLIDS.

First off, the rice: In a rice cooker, I wouldn't use parboiled. Just get regular long grain white rice, but be sure to rinse it pretty well. Extra starch left on the rice can cause it to come out sticky. When you complain about your rice being too dry, I'm not sure what you mean, so perhaps leaving a bit of starch in would help?

You can easily just add a bit of soy sauce to the water that you'll cook the rice in.

As for the vegetables, if you can find dehydrated vegetables, great. Otherwise, I'd just saute fresh veggies and fold them in at the end.

Next we have some industrial ingredients that will be harder to replicate at home. The corn starch I'd skip. Glucose solids can be replaced with a pinch of sugar. Hydrolyzed plant protein and autolyzed yeast extract could be replaced with a bit of nutritional yeast or some liquid seasoning like Maggi or Kitchen Bouquet.

Flavour and Spices get a bit tricky. I'd guess a bit of black pepper and a dash of sesame oil, which can be thrown into the water at the beginning. You'll need to adjust those to taste, of course.

Hydrogenated vegetable oil can be replaced with whatever you saute the veggies in and the sesame oil you threw on the rice.

Silicon dioxide is just an anti-caking agent to keep it from clumping up in the package, so you can skip it.

Salt, caramel, and vinegar solids: Your liquid seasoning (Maggi, Kitchen Bouquet) should provide these. You should, of course, salt it to taste though.

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If you're Canadian and talking about the Chinese Fried Rice, see sourd'oh's answer. But if you're from the UK (or maybe other places?) and are asking about the Chinese Style Rice...

The UK site has an ingredient list!

Steamed long grain rice with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic & ginger

Ingredients: Pre-steamed LOng Grain Rice (85%), Onions, Red Peppers, Sunflower Oil, Flavour, Sugar, Garlic, Ginger, Chives, Salt, Toasted Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, Chili Oil, Spices

You've got some of the main ingredients you'll want there: soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper, onion, garlic, ginger, and chili oil. By far the simplest thing would be simply to mince the red pepper, onion, garlic and ginger and toss them in along with all the other seasonings (soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili) to cook with the rice. For the chili, you could use some kind of ground chili powder instead; it's just there to add some heat. If you want this to be really easy, you could try paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder instead. The flavor will be a little different, though. (Ground ginger is very different from fresh, though, that's harder to substitute for.)

For "flavor" and "spices", you may not need too much, but I'm guessing you'll want some umami - you could try a bit of fermented soybean paste (or a premade Asian sauce containing plenty of it), nutritional yeast like sourd'oh suggested, or whatever your favorite is.

As for the rice drying out, I'm not sure. My best guess would be that your rice cooker is just going a bit overboard and overcooking your rice. That'd explain why adding more water doesn't help - it just automatically cooks it longer with similar results. If that's it, you might have to just try to time it and shut it off a bit sooner than it wants.

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I am an engineer by training; if I can't give you an exact answer, I give you the information you need to do functionally the same thing. As such, this is not a perfect answer, but it will help you get rice cooked (and edible) and it will help you make the dish in question.

Cooking Rice

I avoid rice cookers. Every time I use them, the rice is always too dry. This doesn't seem to happen for multitudes of roommates I've had who use them though.

When I make white rice (any length, but not arborio rice) I usually use 1 part rice to 2 parts water. Bring the water to a boil, add the rice, cover it with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not open the lid until the 20 minutes are up; rice needs pressure to cook correctly. If it comes out dry or crispy, turn down the heat, and it doesn't hurt to add a little extra water.

Brown and wild rices will cook differently. If you use the above cooking method on them, you'll probably have to throw it away (it can be salvaged, but it takes some knowledge).

Making Fried Rice

As far as Uncle Ben's Chinese rice goes...I've never had it. I've started learning how to cook various Asian dishes at home simply because I love Asian food enough that I want to know anything and everything about it.

That being said, making fried rice from scratch isn't too hard once you figure out the sauces/flavors you want in it. Frequently, I will use sesame oil instead of olive oil (I never cook with vegetable oil, particularly in a wok where temperatures are higher, which breaks down vegetable oil relatively easily). Not only is sesame oil safer with high temperatures, but it also adds a distinctly Asian flavor. After I'm done with all the cooking, I like to add a little teriyaki sauce, Hoisin sauce or Five-spice powder (also known as Chinese five spices) depending on my mood. I've even had roommates who will throw in a splash of rice wine while it's cooking. (These are not necessarily authentic uses for these flavors; I am not even Asian by association.)

Take left over rice. If it's cold from the fridge, even better, although not necessary. Put 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a large frying pan or wok and add some heat. Before the oil gets way too hot, put the rice in and try to evenly coat it in the oil while heating it up. Add bits of cooked meat, tofu, vegetables, or whatever else you'd like in your fried rice. Once the rice is warm enough (you can even brown it a little if you'd like) and the vegetables are cooked to your liking, take it off the heat and add any additional sauces you'd like. Be sparing with the sauces though; you don't want to over power the flavor of the food and a lot of sauces are potent and chalk full of sodium (even MSG depending on where you get it). You can even sprinkle some green onions and/or sesame seeds on top.

Uncle Ben's website also has a handful of Asian recipes, although most of them look like normal rice with something prepared served on top.

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I'm not sure that this is functionally the same thing. You're focusing on fried rice, which is not what the OP is asking about. And while the question does ask about the rice drying out too much, it's definitely interested in the flavor, which as you say, you don't actually know. So this is a lot of good advice that's sort of related to the question, but I'm not sure how useful it is as an answer. (Note that whoever downvoted can come to those sorts of conclusions even if they don't know the "correct" answer - there's nothing wrong with downvoting.) –  Jefromi Nov 18 '13 at 23:24

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