A rice cooker is essentially a steamer so in theory you could use it to steam anything. When it comes to meat, the best things to steam in a rice cooker is fish or chicken.
However, if you wanted to braise beef or cook meat on top of cooking rice that could also be achieved in a rice cooker. The important thing to note is that a rice cooker won’t work without a certain amount of water or some-sort of water-based liquid (ie. broth or stock).
What Is A Rice Cooker?
A rice cooker is an electric automated appliance that allows you to cook perfect rice at home.
No fussing over a pan on a stove wondering if the lid should be off or on or how long to cook it for; with a rice cooker you simply add the rice and the correct amount of water, cover with the lid, press the button and leave it to cook.
It works by holding the water and steaming the rice efficiently and evenly. It senses when the rice is done by the change of weight inside the machine. Once cooked, most models will also keep the rice warm and until you are ready to eat it.
How To Cook Meat Inside A Rice Cooker
Here are the multiple methods I use to cook the meat inside a rice cooker. Each technique is slightly different and some are better suited to different types of meat / fish than others.
I reccomend trailing each of the methods to find out which works best for you.
Cook Meat & Rice Together
A great way of using less dishes and pans is to cook meat together with the rice in the rice cooker. Simply, add in the rice and the correct amount of water then place your seasoned meat on top.
The pressure and steam created within the cooker should steam and thoroughly cook the meat as well as cook your rice. Just make sure the piece of meat isn’t too thick or big; cut into thinner slices before cooking if so.
Steamed Fish or Meat
If you are looking to steam fish or meat, it is important to have a steam rack that can be slotted into the basin of the rice cooker. You don’t want the meat to be touching the bottom of the rice cooker as that may lead to burning or a malfunction.
First pour in the water; it is recommended to use 2 cups (500ml) of water for fish and 2½ cups (625ml) of water for chicken, pork or beef. Place seasoned meat onto the steam rack and turn on the rice cooker.
To avoid overcooked meat, you may have to set your own timer as the rice cooker will only turn off once all the water has evaporated not when your meat has cooked.
The more you use your rice cooker for this function the better idea you will have of what time it takes to cook your meat perfectly.
The great thing about rice cookers is that you can take off the lid without having to turn off the machine making it easy to check how cooked your food is. Once done, you can leave the meat in the rice cooker set at the ’warm’ setting but not for too long as that may also lead to overcooked meat.
Braised Meat or Meat Stews
Cooking one-pot meals such as beef stew or braised short ribs can also be done in a rice cooker.
Simply turn on the cooker to the ‘cook’ function and, once hot, it can be used to saute any vegetables or meat before adding in the liquid and covering with the lid to allow the dish to fully cook.
For this kind of cooking, try to find recipes suitable for rice cookers as you may need to add more water or liquid to allow the rice cooker to work effectively.