I love my rice cooker. But I didn’t really know this consciously until the day I found out that outside of my little sphere of existence it is considered a single-use appliance, a uni-tasker, a *gasp* non-necessity. Truth be told, I never even thought that much about it. It was always there, parked in a corner of our kitchen counter (it always had priority of space) in every single house I’ve lived in. When I got married it was one of the first things we chose for our registry. Not with much fanfare, just a sort of preliminary requirement before moving to more exciting things like the Rabbit and choosing the china pattern.
It went beyond necessity. It was a given. A never-thought-twice-about non-negotiable. People in favor of the rice cooker have cited that it can be used for other things as well. And I am all in favor of that. But that’s just icing on the cake for me. I need a rice cooker to cook rice…over and over and over again.
I am well aware that you can prepare rice on the stove top in any old pot that you can also use for a million and one other things, and quite easily at that. But not easier than throwing it all in the rice cooker, pushing a lever, and forgetting all about it until the “ting” that signals perfectly cooked rice…each and every time. And when you cook rice every single day, sometimes for every single meal, you need the easiest easy you can find.
My rice cooker comes with all sorts of attachments and add-ons. I have a steamer basket, a sort of four compartment pan for poaching eggs, and a basket for cooking noodles. These accoutrements are usually on the shelf, untouched, as the cooker focuses on its main task. A wonderful surprise gift though made me rethink that steamer basket. A good friend of mine from all the way back in university sent me a message that his sister had a stock of Chinese goose liver sausages and could spare a couple…would I like some? Would I?? Oh yes please and thank you with a cherry on top!
Chinese Goose Liver Sausage Steamed Over Rice
- 300 grams white rice (I used a variety called Angelica that is grown by my organic farmer...yes, he grows organic rice too!)
- 400 ml water
- 2 Chinese goose liver sausages (about 60 grams total weight)
- 100 grams shitake mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced
- 50 grams pechay or bok choy
- Arrange the sausages, mushrooms, and pechay in the steamer basket and place on top of the rice.
- Cover and turn the cooker on.
- Midway through cooking turn the sausages and move the vegetables around a bit so they take on some of the oil from the sausages.
- When done, remove steamer basket. Fluff the rice with a fork and return steamer basket on top. Cover and keep on the “Keep Warm” setting for an additional 10 minutes.
- Slice the sausages thinly on the diagonal. Place rice in individual bowls and top with sausage and vegetables.
- Serves 2 (although you will have leftover rice). You can also use a regular pot with a steamer basket on top to make this if you really don’t think a rice cooker should be part of your life.
My searches through the internet for a recipe to prepare the sausages came up sadly lacking. My friend, and a few others on Twitter, suggested steaming it with rice. Hence my rice cooker’s steamer basket was pulled into active duty. Cooking it this way is perfect as the flavorful oils from the sausages drip onto the rice while it steams. As the flavor of the goose liver sausage is quite strong I added some vegetables to the steamer alongside the sausages – some pechay to counter the sausages’ richness and shitake mushrooms to complement it. This worked so well that I am putting the steamer basket into regular rotation and finally elevating my rice cooker into something more than just the one-trick pony it is accused of being.
So to all those “non-negotiable fixtures” in our life that are so essential, yet so often under-appreciated…I salute you! You keep on truckin’ so we can keep on truckin’. May your constancy never make us complacent.
(And to all those generous food gifting friends a big fat thank you!!! I received another gift recently as well – a set of the cutest tiny cookie cutters from a reader. She had read my post on cheese crackers for little C and had chanced upon these in a store. She emailed saying that she thought of me when she saw them and, if I didn’t mind, could she mail them over? After some semi-bashful foot-shuffling on my part I accepted as graciously as I could. Thank you so much N! I love them! I am so wanting to make cute cookies right now!)