If you are an English teacher at a public high school in Korea, you probably know the ins-and-outs of your contract like the back of your hand (well, the important stuff anyway). Vacation time, winter camps, and most importantly all the free stuff that comes with your apartment. Yes, the free closet, bed, and desk are all lovely attributes, but it has come to my attention that many ex-pat teachers are not utilizing one of the most versatile items in their apartment to its full potential: the rice cooker.
For most westerners, the rice cooker is not a standard kitchen appliance, and we have gotten by with our microwaves and toaster ovens for quick and easy meals. This big, clunky machine just for making rice? Most would rather just buy the microwavable package and call it a day. But, I’m about to rock your world and show you some delicious, hearty dishes prepared in your rice cooker that are easy and fast, even for the most novice chef.
The first installation of this series: Rice Cooker Stew. It’s hearty and healthy, tasty, tried, and true, and all the ingredients are relatively cheap! (This recipe has been adapted and slightly altered from a great resource for rice cooking recipes, Rice Cooker Fetish.)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves 4 people, or 3 very hungry people
What you need:
½ cup rice
1 cup water
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper or zucchini, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can beans, rinsed
Salt and pepper
Cheese, grated or cubed (I like Monterey Jack or Cheddar)
Optional: stir-fry beef in a frying pan with a little bit of oil, add it to the mix!
Place the rice, water, chopped onion, chopped green pepper or zucchini, minced garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms into the rice cooker. Be sure to wash the rice before you add the other ingredients! Turn the cooker on and let it complete its cooking cycle. While the stew is cooking, rinse the beans and cut up cheese into ¼ inch cubes. I use Monterey Jack, which is available at E-Mart and most large-scale grocery stores. For a stronger flavor, you can find Cheddar cheese at Costco or most foreign food markets in Korea (see below for details). While the stew is cooking, rinse the beans, cut up the cheese, and start cooking the beef, if you want a little cow in your chow. (Drop some oil into a small frying pan, wait until it’s hot. Add the meat, and cook until all the meat is brown. Takes 10-15 mins.) Once the cooking cycle is complete, add the beans and close the lid again. Warm for about 2 minutes. Then, pour the entire contents into a bowl, mix and add the cheese and meat. Taste and add seasoning as desired.