I’ve recently discovered the loveliness of Quinoa, and the joy of buying it in bulk at Costco, so I’ll be making a lot of it in the near future. I’m wondering if I can use my rice cooker to make the Quinoa. Has anybody done this? Does the ‘fuzzy’ logic in the machine prevent it from doing anything other than cooking rice and steaming veggies? I hope not, but I also don’t want to ruin a good kitchen tool finding out either. Thanks!
I've cooked white rice, brown rice, wild rice, whole Oat Groats (2 brown rice cycles + a little extra water on cycle two) , rye groats, Khorasan wheat (kamut), barley, Spelt, and numerous other seeds in my fuzzy logic rice cooker, but never Quinoa. It seems to me the white Quinoa seed benefits from a short cook time, and a long post-cooking expansion time. A rice cooker doesn't do that very well. The red Quinoa I can also get is tougher, and might like being cooked like brown rice. That said, I haven't tried it. It's certainly possible that your rice cooker could make passable Quinoa. I suggest you give it a try on a small batch. If you like the result, post that here, and I'll try it too.
Rice cookers are quite versatile and cooking Quinoa would not ruin the rice cooker if you do indeed want to experiment.
A rice cooker works because there is a springloaded thermal sensor plate at the bottom of where the metal pot sits(only if it is automatic. Some rice cookers have a switch to flip to go into the heating process). This will then start the heating process to boil to water. Because boiling water do not rise above 100 degree Celsius, the sensor can tell if there is still water left in the cooker. Once the sensor reads higher than 100 degree Celsius, this means the water has all boiled away. At this point the rice cooker goes into a sitting phase where the steam will continue to cook the rice and the rice is allowed to expand.
With this knowledge, we know that the main problem you would come across when cooking Quinoa in your rice cooker is getting the correct ratio of water to Quinoa grains. If you use the same amount of water you use for cooking rice, the Quinoa might turn out softer than desirable.
Take a look at this link: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-cook-quinoa-super-easy-way.html. It provides some information in regards to cooking Quinoa in a rice cooker. It seems to suggest 2-1 water to Quinoa grain ratio (which is typically what I use for rice too).