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Vacuum Cooking with Rice Cooker


Hiroyuki
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The Dec. 20 edition of Hanamaru Market (Japanese only) featured vacuum cooking with a rice cooker with a keep warm function.

I think I'll try this method to make roast beef as one of New Year dishes (osechi) and report on the outcome. In the meantime, anyone interested is encouraged to try this method before I do.

The following are rough translations of two of the recipes presented in the TV show:

1. The simplest recipe:

Ingredients:

200 g chicken

Salt and pepper

1. Rinse chicken with water (or with sake (Japanese rice wine) to get rid of the smell).

2. Drain and cut into manageable chunks, then season with salt and pepper.

3. Put them in a Ziploc bag, put a straw in, and seal the bag. Suck air out of the bag. Remove the straw, taking care not to let air in, and seal the bag.

4. Put 2 cups (i.e., 400 cc) of hot water of 60 to 70 degrees centigrade (140 to 158 deg. Fahrenheit) in the rice cooker and put the bag in.

5. Put the lid on, press the keep warm button to heat for 50 minutes.

2. Roast beef

Ingredients for 2 servings

200 g beef

Black pepper

Salt

1/2 clove garlic

1. Sprinkle salt and pepper on beef.

2. Put the beef in a Ziploc bag and add garlic.

3. Suck air out with a straw.

4. Put water of 60 to 70 degrees centigrade in the rice cooker, put the bag, and press the keep warm button.

5) Leave it for 40 to 50 minutes.

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I filled my Sanyo ECJ-D55S 5-Cup rice cooker two-thirds full with water and left it on in the Keep Warm mode for two hours. I took the temperature with a Thermapen digital thermometer. I got 137F degrees.

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I filled my Sanyo ECJ-D55S 5-Cup rice cooker two-thirds full with water and left it on in the Keep Warm mode for two hours. I took the temperature with a Thermapen digital thermometer. I got 137F degrees.

Thank your for your two replies, esvoboda.

So, you mean you have actually tried vacuum cooking with a rice cooker??

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...

So, you mean you have actually tried vacuum cooking with a rice cooker??

I'm waiting for someone else to be the guinea pig. :biggrin:

I've drifted off to other food projects, as I like to call them, and haven't come around to experimenting with sous vide yet. I read your post and it got me thinking more about what these rice cookers could do so I ran that test.

I also tried the slow cook/soup setting hoping it might give me a stable simmer at 190F or so. Unfortunately, the water climbed to a full boil and stayed there. The only advantage that I can see to using this setting over cooking on the burner is that I can set how long I want the liquid to boil. But, a full boil results in cloudy stocks and soups. I don't braise at a full boil either. No application to sous vide that I can see.

Edited by esvoboda (log)
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I would think that the "ideal" meat to cook would depend on what the temperature range of the device in "keep warm" mode was. Cooking time may also be hit or miss as the meat should achieve its iideal temperature as an equilibration with the surrounding medium.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I would think that the "ideal" meat to cook would depend on what the temperature range of the device in "keep warm" mode was. Cooking time may also be hit or miss as the meat should achieve its iideal temperature as an equilibration with the surrounding medium.

I know what you are talking about, but according to the TV show, the ideal temperature for meat and seafood is 60 to 70 C (140 to 158 F) and the rice cooker in "keep warm" mode keeps the temperature at around 70 C (158 F). So, if you pour water of 60 to 70 C into the rice cooker, I guess you can maintain the water at around 70 C constantly.

Anyway, there is only one way to find out. I need to buy a thermometer first. :biggrin:

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This is interesting. Thanks for posting the recipe/techniques. I'm going to try it in a couple of days once I see what temp my rice cooker maintains over time with the water added at proper temp. Perhaps a little NY Strip or pork, depending . . . I'll post pics when I do.

Lamb might be a good option also given the temp expected.

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Does using the straw technique provide enough of a vacuum? How much of a vacuum do you need anyway?

I can't give you a definitive answer.

The TV show does not specify the degree of vacuum to be attained. According to the link I provided above, the important thing to remember is to make sure that the meat is in direct contact with the bag.

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This is interesting. Thanks for posting the recipe/techniques. I'm going to try it in a couple of days once I see what temp my rice cooker maintains over time with the water added at proper temp. Perhaps a little NY Strip or pork, depending . . .  I'll post pics when I do.

Lamb might be a good option also given the temp expected.

I've been waiting for someone like you. :raz::biggrin:

Of course, I will try that method too.

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Definitely some rice cookers thermostats are more pernickety than others.

I haven't tried cooking on the keep-warm setting only, but I've had success cooking fairly heavy foods such as potatoes.

There was a fad for cooking cakes in rice cookers a while back, but modern rice cookers tend to turn off too soon, because the cake dough is too light...

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There was a fad for cooking cakes in rice cookers a while back,

Oh, yes, I know. My wife has made a sponge cake in a rice cooker only once. It was more like mushi pan (streamed bun)... :sad:

I love mushi pan! Could I use a mushi pan batter and my rice cooker to make mushi pan? I've never tried to do it before but this sounds like a great new use for my rice cooker...

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I don't remember where I saw it but as an alternative to the straw pseudo-vacuum technique.

Place your meat in a ziplock back

submerge the bag in water to push the air out

close bag while submerged

Seems like it may give you a better "vacuum"

Msk

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137F is almost ideal. However, depending on the thickness of the meat I would allow more like several hours. If the food is uniformly at that temperature and held there for half ann hour or so the pathogens will be killed.

Unfortunately, when I left my cooker on overnight and checked the temperature this morning, it had risen to 161F. I don't think the water was hot enough before I began my first test and the Keep Warm setting won't heat the water very quickly.

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I have to admit that I am very sceptical of this technique given that its general adventure is getting the end products to equilibrate at a precisely desired tempersture. If I were to cook beef this way for example and the temperature equilibrated at 160 degrees F, I don't think I would be very happy, whereas for chicken it might be fine.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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For my first attempt ever, I used chicken breasts (550 g in total). I cut them into manageable chunks of about 1 x 1 inch and put half of them in a Ziploc bag for vacuum cooking. I pan-fried the other half with no oil for comparison.

After one hour, I transferred the contents of the bag to a plate. They looked like a single lump.

gallery_16375_5_1103693932.jpg

I separated them.

gallery_16375_5_1103693949.jpg

gallery_16375_5_1103711120.jpg

Right-hand side: Vacuum cooked

Left-hand side: Pan-fried

(Sorry for the photo. We ate most of them before I could take a picture!)

Conclusions:

The vacuum-cooked chicken was a little bit tenderer than pan-fried, but there was no major difference in taste.

I confirmed one great advantage of vacuum cooking - no shrinkage.

I think this method is worth trying. For my second attempt, I will use beef!

Place your meat in a ziplock back

submerge the bag in water to push the air out

close bag while submerged

Thanks for the tip. I sucked the air out with a straw while submerging the bag.

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I love mushi pan!  Could I use a mushi pan batter and my rice cooker to make mushi pan?  I've never tried to do it before but this sounds like a great new use for my rice cooker...

Akiko,

Here is a very simple recipe (Japanese only) with pancake mix. Just prepare pancake batter and put it in the rice cooker.

But here is one caution:

Not all rice cookers are suitable for making cakes. If the cooker turns off in the middle of cooking, just give it up.

From here:

http://allabout.co.jp/gourmet/cookingabc/c...220a/index5.htm

(Japanese only)

According to this (Japanese only), a person broke his/her cooker at the third attempt :shock: .

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