No matter where you are and what you are doing, there's always a way to hack something in your kitchen so that you can prepare almost any dish. While a rice cooker isn't really made to be used as a slow cooker, it can double as one if you don't have anything else that will do the job.
Recently, I had bought a gigantic pork roast that I planned on cooking. Currently I live in Asia, and our apartment doesn't have an oven. I was looking for a simple solution to cook the roast properly that wouldn't cost me too much money. I really enjoy slow cookers. The Crock Pots are fine, but I actually prefer the large porcelain or stone pots that you can put on a stove.
I checked around to see if I could find a cheap alternative. I found some hotpot pots which could do the job. The trouble is that they were on the expensive side, a minimum of $50. I decided to think about it and went home. Then it hit me. I had used a rice cooker to cook some chili a few months ago. There was no reason that it couldn't be used to slow cook a roast.
We rarely use the rice cooker unless we steam some veggies. Our rice cooker has a few different settings, including one that will just keep the pot warm. This is the setting that you'll leave your cooker on for most of the time. To start out, place your ingredients in the rice cooker. I placed a pork roast, onions, curry, soy sauce, chili sauce, lemon juice, garlic, and a few other spices including coriander. I usually guestimate the proportions.
Once everything is in the pot, set the cooker for the normal rice-cooking cycle. After it's attained a near boiling temperature, change the heating to the warming setting. That's how I left the rice cooker for about an hour or so. I periodically turned up the heat for a few minutes and then put it down. Just like a slow cooker, it's best not to open the pot too often, as the heat will dissipate and will have to be built up again.
The results were very good. I'll use this technique again in the future for other meals. The pot roast was very juicy and savory. This process is a winner in my book for a couple of reasons. It uses some tech that I already had at home instead of spending money on other pots. Electricity consumption was extremely low. It's been demonstrated that slow cookers consume very low amounts of power. Also, using this sort of cooker is very convenient. You don't really have to watch the dish cooking, you can go back and do something else while it does its job. I love how you can start a dish in the morning before leaving for work and come back to it being ready after work. Lastly, my place was smelling extremely good while this was cooking on Saturday.
(images via SmallSpacesAppliances, The Rice Cookers, and Range)