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I love my rice cooker.

I also like rice with stuff in, makes an easy quickish dinner.

I sometimes cook up some stuff, say mushrooms, chilli and garlic fried in a bit of olive oil, or small chunks of pork, some browned onions and broccoli florets with paprika, and then add that to my rice + water (which I have measured before I add the extras) before I cook it.

Then I stick the rice cooker on and let it do its magic, and 20 mins or so later, a tasty rice and stuff one bowl meal.

My problem is that sometimes the rice ends up a little undercooked and I need to add a bit more water and cook for a little longer. And if I add a bit too much water, the rice at the bottom can get a bit mushy.

So how can I better judge if I'm going to need to add any extra water and if so approximately how much? Will it depend on what I've added to the pot, and how much, relative to the rice?

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I haven't had a rice cooker for years, but don't remember having any problems, so can't help ... but you might be interested in the cookbook The Pot and How to Use It to see if it gives advice – Joe Nov 26 '10 at 1:53
1  
Rice varies a little bit in and of itself, particularly with length of storage, so it is really hard to judge. Rather like boiling an egg in that regard. – Orbling Nov 26 '10 at 2:24
up vote 6 down vote accepted

There shouldn't need to be any variation in the water at all, since the things that you are adding are already hydrated and are not taking in any water. Indeed, it would be possible that some vegetables might even give off water.

I would be more inclined to look to whether you are measuring accurately every time you use the rice cooker (just asking) and then, if so, whether your rice cooker is consistent. I had an inexpensive rice cooker that I liked for the convenience, but it was inconsistent on turning off, so the results were a little too varied, OK for me, but not when I was serving other people.

The only other thing to consider is that many rice cookers work on a temperature principle...when the temperature starts to rise (meaning the water has been absorbed) the cooker shuts off. If the ingredients you are adding are raising the temperature of boiling (as in a lot of salt, say) then it is possible that you cooker is shutting off before the rice is cooked, and then the water is absorbed or evaporates, but the rice cooks no further.

I would pay very close attention to your measuring (rice and water) for the next couple of batches and see if that fixes the problem.

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I am presuming all the added ingredients are raw? On that basis, I would either pre wash and soak the ingredients (where applicable). For example some of the ingredients maybe absorbing water or heat from your rice cooker, affecting the cooking of the rice.

Or, start cooking the rice in the cooker and brown off the ingredients in a separate pan. Aim to have the ingredients hot and ready to add to the cooker once the while has almost evaporated. The residual heat and steam should finish cooking the ingredients (if not completely cooked through already) and allow the flavours and juices to absorb into your rice.

If I misunderstood your OP, then this second method will prevent your rice cooker thermostat switching off too early.

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