One thing that I learned from Chef AJ is that you won’t find healthy food everywhere (or in the case of a WFPB SOS-free diet: anywhere). That means that we have to plan ahead in order to enjoy healthy food during our much-deserved holidays. Now I know that some people bring their Instant Pot with them, but for me, that’s just not an option. I only travel with a carry-on and never (ever!) check in a bag, no matter where I go (traumatic event when a European airline lost a bag of ours). So I needed something smaller that still allowed me to make rice, steam vegetables, cook applesauce etc. I immediately thought about a rice cooker, but they’re usually made from glass and metal, which obviously doesn’t make them an ideal travel companion. But then I found the perfect solution: a mini rice cooker!
I bought this one on the Korean e-commerce site “GMarket“, which is remarkably similar to eBay (and is, in fact, owned by eBay). Keep in mind that this one is 220V, so it will not work in countries that have 110V (like the US). There is, however, an orange version of this rice cooker that is suitable for 110V operations.
So this is my mini rice cooker, made by the Korean brand 키친아트 (if you read Korean you will agree just how funny this name is). And since it is Korean, the manual and all the stickers are in Korean, as well:
To compare the size: this is the rice cooker next to a standard IKEA glass jar, a small Vitamix container and inside a standard-sized carry-on bag:
As you can see, it is small. The downside of that is, of course, that it can only make about 1.5 to 2 cups worth of rice at a time. That’s not an issue, however, if you are like me and eat multiple times a day, anyways.
So what can you use a rice cooker for when traveling?
Obviously. I do like rice made in the rice cooker better than rice made in the Instant Pot, but that might just be my personal preference. I still use my Instant Pot when making huge batches of rice which I freeze.
Make other grains
You can make any other grain in the rice cooker, you just have to be careful with grains that contain a high amount of saponins and will thus produce a huge amount of foam that could make the rice cooker overcook (Quinoa is the best example). These can still be made in the rice cooker if you leave the lid off.
Zucchini, broccoli, carrots, onions: you name it! Just fill the rice cooker to the brim, add a few tablespoons of tap water and off you go!
Make small servings of soup
After having steamed your vegetables, you can easily add some water and condiments to make your own soup.
Make applesauce and other fruit purees
This is what I like to do in the evenings. I chop some apples, add a few dashes of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of water and 15 minutes later I have the most delicious dessert.
Make warm oatmeal
When travelling, I always bring my own breakfast: oatmeal portioned in separate zip lock bags, one for each day (yes, for a 7-day holiday that means I’ll be taking seven bags). I usually eat it cold by just adding tap water (or one of those small soy milk cartons if I’m that adventurous), but on some days, I just want something warm. In that case, I place the oatmeal and water in the rice cooker and cook it (without the lid), stirring a couple of times.
This 50€ investment has made travelling and eating healthy so much easier for me. I do not have to worry what I will eat, as I can easily make my own food without having to schlep my somewhat clunky Instant Pot around.
Do you have any accessories and appliances that you take everywhere?