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I'm a recent college graduate, and will begin working 40 hour weeks soon. I'm not good at cooking, and I prefer to cook all of my food (fish, chicken, turkey, vegetables) by steaming them in a small rice cooker. This currently works out great, and is quick and simple enough to clean up without a mess.

However, I was wondering if it's possible to use one of these "multi-cooker" steamers, such as this Cusinart model for steaming and then slow cooking (i.e. "keep warm") chicken breasts for 4-5 hours while being away.

I was thinking about coming home for lunch, starting the steamer, then letting it run for 4-5 hours until I get home from work.

My current rice cooker isn't built for very long durations of "keep warm", and if I use the "keep warm" setting for more than an hour, it makes it more difficult to clean up.


Question:

What would you recommend for an optimal cooking tool given this situation. I'd rather start the cooking mid-day (12pm), then have it finished and ready by the return from work (5pm).

  • Hello Kyle, we don't do purchase recommendations for specific models here. You would have to find a cooker to suit your needs yourself. Your question could be interpreted as a safety question on a stretch, so I didn't close as opinion based, but as a duplicate of a safety question about keeping food on "warm" instead of a setting specifically designed for cooking. – rumtscho Apr 25 '16 at 17:26
  • I didn't see it as a safety Q, or a request for purchase recommendation. "However, I was wondering if it's possible to use one of these "multi-cooker" steamers, SUCH AS ____." I read as more open ended cooking tools question.. the SUCH AS was posing an example for clarity then drawing discussion. (I was going to recommend no day cooking, just use a pressure cooker in the evening) – Paulb Apr 25 '16 at 17:46
  • @Paulb if you and I see such different interpretations and none sees the other one's in the question, then this is a classic example of "unclear". If the OP clarifies, we can reopen, provided the question is really one we can answer. – rumtscho Apr 25 '16 at 18:23
  • @rumtscho I have edited to clarify the question. – Kyle.Belanger Apr 25 '16 at 18:29
  • @Kyle.Belanger thank you. I removed the sentence which asked for specific models, in case somebody else reads it the way I did. It is much clearer now what you were asking. – rumtscho Apr 25 '16 at 18:36
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If you search "multi cooker" on Amazon, you'll see a multitude of devices similar to the one you linked and the vast majority of them are able to do what you're asking. Another option that would defintely be worth considering since you're already accustomed to preparing the sort of dishes you're wanting to make with your rice cooker is upgrading to a higher-end Japanese model such as the Zojirushi Umami. I own a comparable rice cooker and it's probably my favorite small kitchen appliance. It also seems tailor-made to do exactly what you're saying you want to do. It uses an array of sensors to slow-cook/steam to perfection and automatically enters a 4 hour keep-warm cycle when the cooking is done. You can also set a start-timer if you need more time and want it to wait a while before it starts cooking.

As an added benefit over the multi-cookers, you'll also be able to effortlessly prepare rice that comes out so indescribably perfect that even the rice at an upscale Asian restaurant won't compare to what you can make at home with the touch of a button. That's Japanese design for you; when the electronics capital of the world also happens to be a place where pretty much everyone eats rice daily, their engineers are going to produce one hell of a high-tech rice maker.

I apologize in advance if this answer is deemed inappropriate; I understand that answers aren't supposed to just be opnions, but there are many different methods and appliances/tools that could be used to accomplish OP's goal and no objectively best way to do so. Anyone's suggestion would probably just be based on what they'd do in their own kitchen.

  • Even less expensive rice cookers often have a 'keep warm' mode (although, some will only 'keep warm' for a limited period of time, then shut off) ... if they also have an insert for steaming, it might be possible to put some rice & water at the bottom, then the item to steam at the top and rely on the rice finishing to switch it to 'keep warm' ... of course, I don't know if the 'keep warm' will keep the stuff in the steamer section warm enough, so you'll likely want to do a test case, then take a thermometer to it to make it sure it's safe. – Joe Apr 26 '16 at 16:35
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    You're correct that they do have that function, but the lower-end ones will usually only allow it for an hour or two due to the very things that make them inexpensive; cheaply built components with short duty cycles. They're also timer-based, which is why they usually only have one cook/keepwarm cycle. In contrast, the high-end Japanese ones offer numerous cycles. Mine even has a setting to do what you described without the need for an insert; Just throw in meat, veggies, etc. with the rice and the machine decides for itself how it needs to go about cooking it all perfectly together. – Barkode Apr 26 '16 at 22:16
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Barkode is right.

Also consider electric pressure cookers. There are many on the market. Mine has many modes programmed in, most notable: slow cooker (ie. crockpot), rice cooker, pressure cooking.

You could also experiment with foregoing the long steam. With my pressure cooker, I put in frozen chicken tenders and in 18 minutes they are done. They probably very closely resemble your half day steamers.

(if get a pressure cooker: read the manual)

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