One look at the inner bowl tells you the Tefal Delirice is more than your average rice cooker. It’s built for durability and even cooking results. You don’t need to stick to steamed rice either. With some ingenuity, and perhaps some help from a rice cooker recipe book, you could make a variety of one-pot rice meals, congees and even a limited range of slow-cooked dishes (using the one hour or two hour congee settings).
It’s easy to assemble, clean and reassemble the Tefal Delirice. The inner lid or ‘steam shield’ unclips for washing and the steam valve comes apart easily. The inner bowl is rounded at the bottom, for maximum heat distribution. It’s quite solid and has a hard anodised non-stick coating. The manual warns that brown marks and scratches may appear on the bowl “after many hours of use”, but the coating is clearly superior in quality to the kind of non-stick surfaces found on most rice cooker inner bowls. The bowl can go in the dishwasher, but it’s very easy to wash by hand as the surface is so smooth. However, the manual recommends rinsing rice in a separate bowl before adding it to the rice cooker inner bowl, to protect the inner bowl from the possibility of dents or scratches. To cook rice, add rinsed rice and water, make a selection from the menu and press start.
As well as the basic rice cooking option, the menu includes quick cooking and small quantity options for rice, one hour and two hour options for rice soup (ie congee or rice porridge), plus keep warm and reheat (for cooked rice or congee). All cooking options switch to keep warm when finished. To steam food, you use the rice cooking menu. The manual gives approximate cooking times for the menu options and brown rice or mixed rice (which we think this means kayaku gohan, a Japanese one-pot dish of rice cooked with stock and other assorted ingredients) but there are no recipes provided or suggestions on how to use the rice cooker for more than white and brown rice or congee.
The Delirice cooks up to eight cups of rice (or six metric cups), and it did a great job of both white and brown rice on the standard rice cooking setting. The quick cooking setting produced satisfactory results when we tested it with three cups of rice, but it did not compare to the fluffy perfection of the rice we cooked on the standard setting.
Most rice cookers specify two cups as a minimum quantity and usually do a better job of quantities closer to their maximum capacity, so we were interested to see that the Delirice has a small quantity setting, for one or two cups of rice. We tried cooking one cup on this setting with reasonable results, but it took much longer than the 28 minutes approximated in the manual. Perhaps the listed time doesn?t include the time taken to reach maximum heat level, which may be 20 minutes.
The plastic steaming basket sits in the top of the inner bowl, so it can accommodate food up to the dimensions of the basket. We easily fitted a plateful of frozen dumplings in the basket and placed it above a small amount of water in the inner bowl, closed the lid, selected rice cooking and start. About 20 minutes later, after having no doubt slowed the process by opening the lid and lifting the steaming basket to check whether it was steaming yet, we started to wish we had used even less water, and heated it in the kettle before putting it in the bowl. The sealing clip-down lid is great for the cooking process, but not so good if you need to monitor whether the water is boiling in order to turn it off after your dumplings have steamed for 10 minutes.
Although the manual says the reheat setting is only for reheating cooked rice or cooked soups (presumably meaning cooked congee), we tried it for cooked oat porridge with a congee-like consistency and it worked very well. The rice soup one hour setting (using the water level markers inside the inner bowl) produced a very thin congee; the rice soup two hour setting resulted in a thicker consistency.
The Tefal Delirice is easy to use for cooking or reheating rice or porridge and produces good results. You could use it for a broader range of dishes, but the manual won’t guide you in this direction. The Delirice is worthy of consideration, if only for its high-quality inner bowl, which has non-stick coating that looks very durable and makes it easy to wash. However, in this price bracket you may find other models with all the features of the Delirice and more, such as programmable cooking start time and programmable duration for steaming and slow cooking.
Reviewer: Vanessa Winter