Do we see ads for Pencils(Natraj)? Light bulbs? Fans? TV? Freeze? Of course, Yes.
Did you ever see an adv. for rice cooker’s in Indian main stream media? I didn’t. Ever wonder, what could be the reason?
Certainly low price is not the reason (it costs roughly 2-5k). We are still a majority rice eating nation, so it’s not an alien product category for us. It’s not like there are no proper branded companies present in this product category, there are. Also, it’s not very hi-tech. It’s 40’s technology, Japanese invented it, and now it has got acceptance as a daily use product in many rice eating countries worldwide. For example, 0.45 million rice cookers were sold in Taiwan, for a population of 23 million (2012 data). This among many other questions was triggered in my mind from a discussion with my mom in 2014.
I remember, my mom visiting us that year. It was then that the 60 year old lady used an electric rice cooker for the very first time in her life. Needless to say, she seemed to like how conveniently rice could be cooked in it. Seeing her admiration for this simple daily use appliance, I offered, if I could buy one for her back in our native. To my surprise, her answer was a quick and resounding “NO”. She preferred her traditional method of cooking rice in plenty of water in a vessel and draining the extra starch water out after rice is cooked (Let’s call it, starch reducing method). “I don’t like the extra starch that remains when you cook in these electric rice cookers. Your dad is pre-diabetic and must avoid any excess sugar consumption,” said she. For sure, she liked the convenience of an automatic rice cooker, but not at the cost of changing her method, which has stood test of time. One would think, what’s the big deal about the difference in method of cooking? Rice gets cooked, end of the story.
Well, not that straight. I have grown up seeing my mom cook rice in the age old Indian traditional starch reducing method. I don’t know for how long this traditional method has been followed in many parts of India. It’s such a tedious, time consuming and sometimes risky process, because of handling the draining hot starch liquid!! Through my inquiry, I found, it’s not unique to my native, Odisha. The same method is followed at least in all these states, Karnataka, Kerala, TN, Andhra,Telangana, Gujarat, Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Eastern UP, Himachal, Punjab. If you belong to any other state and still can relate to this method or you have any story of injury in your family while cooking in this method, do leave a comment below. Not only that, here are few more prominent benefits of this method.
- Published research claims, excess carb (sugar/starch etc) consumption as one of primary reason for weight gain and T2 diabetes. Millions of people are now adopting a low carb lifestyle to avoid obesity and diabetes. You can find such people on many forums worldwide including http://www.forums.dlife.in in India, http://diabetes.co.uk in UK etc. It’s a no brainer, when we drain the excess starch water after rice is cooked. We reduce our starch consumption without lowering the portion size.
- Another research from Belfast University claims, rice contains traces of arsenic (cancer causing) due to use of pesticides while growing. Cooking in this Indian traditional starch reducing method also reduces the arsenic content by about 50%.
- The difference in taste: I have spoke to 100’s of people on this topic. Many love the taste of rice cooked in this method. Due to busy lifestyles, sometimes they would very grudgingly buy a rice cooker, or use a pressure cooker to cook rice, only to get back to cooking in starch reducing method on special occasions, holidays when they have more time in hand.
Alas!! Only if this traditional method was easy to follow or I had more time in hand, I would never want to use a conventional rice cooker. Probably it’s the same with many of us, who would definitely love to continue the method our previous generations followed. The rice cooker available in markets are suitable for people who eat rice with chopsticks; as they need it to be sticky and excess starch helps to keep it so. But I have no special liking for sticky rice!! In fact many Indians would consider sticky rice as of being poor quality rice or cooking, it’s like burnt roti. My father is a pre-diabetic and would like to avoid any excess sugar, and mom is growing old to continue with the rigor of this method of cooking. I am in late 30’s and have a bulging belly to vouch for it 😉
So, why don’t we have a fully automatic rice cooker, which automates this traditional method? This motivated us to work on a rice cooker which cooks in the Indian traditional method. When we first thought about the problem and it’s solution, we raised a question here on this forum (Patent or Prototype what do first ). We will post our learning on that question, separately.
HumbleRice Cooker – Starch reducing, fully automatic. Now, we have finished the design, electronics & prototype for our idea and have a patent pending. Manufacturing being an expensive pursuit for our limited resource, we are looking for support in form of early adopters and backers. We are currently taking the mail registration on our site, plan to open pre-booking in July and deliver before December’17.
Our site and face book page provide much more detailed info. Encourage you to visit & like us, https://eathumblerice.com | https://www.facebook.com/HumbleRice/ | twitter: @EatHumbleRice support us, by helping to spread the word among your well wishers. Do talk to your family members, how rice was cooked in past, how it’s done now. Do register for pre-booking, if you find the product useful and like your family to eat healthy.
To answer the question we raised in the beginning. Our guess is, rice cookers are not advertised in MSM, because it doesn’t meet our need, doesn’t automate our method. People just buy it out of no other choice being available. Could you think of a better reason, do let us know.
Our Bio: I trained as software engineer, have 15 years of software industry experience. My wife, has 10 years of experience in Airline and Telecom industry in operations. We both are from Odisha and have moonlighted on the project for last 2 years, engaging small engineering firms and freelancers to reach at current stage. Manufacturing is being handled by a design & engineering firm based out of Bangalore. We continue to moonlight for now and plan to take up this as full time entrepreneurship from Aug’17 and give few years of our life and see what Almighty has willed for us. If you like the work we have done till now, please support us. We will do our best to not let you down.