Rice cookers are an extremely versatile appliance. Not only does it allow you to make rice, but you can also use it to steam vegetables, poach fruit, cook soups, make oatmeal, and more. That said, for some dishes, such as steamed fish, you may find that using aluminium foil is either an integral part of your recipe or makes post-cooking clean-up significantly easier.
Aluminium foil is safe to use in a rice cooker, especially if it comes attached with a steam tray. When using a cooker with a steam tray, you can steam food and make rice simultaneously, and foil will ensure that the flavours of the first dish don’t seep into the rice.
The rest of this article will look at how to steam food in your rice cooker, the pros and cons of cooking with aluminium foil, and what other dishes you can make in this appliance.
Is Aluminium Foil Safe In A Rice Cooker?
It is safe to use aluminium foil within a rice cooker. You can use the foil to wrap up fish to cook along with the rice or even steam vegetables at the same time. Foil can work with higher temperatures than other cooking materials such as parchment paper, silicone or even glass.
Foil is also a great way of protecting your basin from dried on rice which can be hard to clean off later or even cause damage.
The Pros and Cons of Cooking With Aluminium Foil
While using aluminium foil in your rice cooker can be safe, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use foil when cooking food, in a rice cooker or not. There are numerous considerations to keep in mind when cooking with aluminium foil.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using aluminium foil in your rice cooker.
- Cooking in foil helps enhance the flavor of food, especially if you add spices before cooking.
- Foil makes clean-up post-cooking significantly easier.
- If you’re cooking several dishes in the same appliance, foil prevents the chance of juices and flavors from one dish seeping into the other, like when you’re steaming meat and cooking rice together.
- Foil is a great conductor of heat. This property allows your food to be fully cooked, especially when cooking dishes that include meat or fish. Additionally, when cooking over a grill, using foil can reduce cooking time by a lot.
The biggest concern about cooking with aluminium foil is whether using it is safe for your health. Some of the cons of using foil when cooking include:
- A study in the International Journal of Electrochemical Science shows that cooking in aluminum foil results in small quantities of aluminum leaching into your food. High levels of aluminum in the body have been linked to developing Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more.
What Aluminium Foil Alternatives Are There?
Using foil is great for a number of cooking techniques within your rice cooker and completely safe to use but in case you don’t have any or you are looking for alternatives I created this list.
Not all of these will be compatible with your rice cooker and something you will need to research further before trying them out. Also, make sure you do a test run on a lower temperature before using the new materials at a high temperature.
Wrapping your food in a banana or lotus leaf
Using leaves to wrap food is a great option when steaming ingredients and dishes.
Use Parchment Paper
Keep in mind that not all appliances work well with parchment paper, and check to confirm whether using this alternative is a good idea for the dish you’re making.
This is another great tool to use though if you are looking to use something other than foil. It also helps to keep foods moist and create more of a steamed effect than roasted as you might find in foil.
Wrap Your Food In Kelp
This option is great when making fish, especially salmon. Indigenous cooking practices utilize kelp when cooking fish, and you get the added benefit of extra flavour from the kelp itself.
This can add flavour to your cooking, an extra ingredient and also use a more natural material within your cooking.
Try Using Cedar Wraps
These are made from cedarwood and impart a woody, smoky flavour to your food. They’re particularly useful when grilling or BBQing food.
Though make sure your appliance is compatible before using them as this can cause a fire or damage to your appliance.
Silicone Baking Sheets
Aside from steaming and grilling, aluminium foil is a popular tool to use when baking. Silicone baking sheets are a great reusable alternative, and their non-stick nature means you don’t have to worry about struggling when removing food placed on them.
That said, unless you’re already ingesting a lot of aluminium through your food or are using foil for most dishes, you probably don’t have to worry about the aluminium content in your body.
While foil can increase the amount of aluminium in your diet by a tiny amount, it’s not enough to be significant on its own, which means you should be okay to continue using foil if necessary.