My rice cooker / vegetable steamer / miracle appliance

February 21, 2015 by Joshua
in Fitness, Habits, Tips

I don’t claim to be a great cook. I don’t like unnecessary gadgets. I avoid promoting businesses for no reason.

But, man, do I like my Hitachi Chime-o-matic rice cooker / vegetable steamer / miracle appliance.

Hitachi Chime-o-matic

I call it a miracle appliance for fun because I can’t figure out how it knows when to turn off, but it does, every time. I like the kitschy name Chime-o-matic.

Mostly I love that it cooks food amazing with almost no work. I don’t even cook rice in it, or at least I haven’t in years. It steams vegetables perfectly almost every time. Legumes too. The last few things I cooked in it are

  • An eggplant
  • Kidney beans (from dry)
  • Garbanzo beans (from dry)
  • Split peas (from dry) with carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Most of the vegetables from my CSA
  • Tons more

Look, I know I’m no great cook. I don’t claim steaming vegetables is a big deal, but I love having this one part of my life taken care of so it doesn’t cost me much time, money, or hassle, but I enjoy it. It’s great that even take-out in Manhattan, designed to maximize convenience, isn’t as convenient as home-cooked.


With this thing, the time to prepare vegetables becomes the time to wash it, chop it, put it in the Hitachi Chime-o-matic rice cooker / vegetable steamer / miracle appliance, press the button, and I’m done—usually under five minutes. I have to wait for the food to cook, but I don’t have to pay attention. It knows how to finish somehow.

Throw on some olive oil, salt, and pepper and I have most of a delicious, healthy meal.

This thing makes home cooking vegetables faster, easier, healthier, and cheaper than going out.

Also, even when I want to fry or stew vegetables in other dishes, I often steam them halfway first to soften them.


Beans are where this thing shines. Cooking beans from dry takes only a few minutes of my time and they taste better than anything I’ve found in a can. Plus I don’t waste using a can that I have to recycle.

Usually I soak the beans overnight (about one minute to rinse them and cover them with water). Then I add a bunch of olive oil, salt, spices, and herbs, turn it on, and I’m done preparing. About forty minutes later I have a ton of soft, delicious beans.

If I use garbanzo beans, I squeeze half a lemon after.

Split peas are the best. I add chopped carrots, garlic, onion, and ginger, and I get split pea soup as delicious as anything I’ve found in a store. They just dissolve on their own somehow. Hence “miracle” appliance.

I’m sure cooking beans on the stove is easy too, but I haven’t had to do it. The Hitachi Chime-o-matic rice cooker / vegetable steamer / miracle appliance does it right every time.


This thing enables me to buy vegetables I don’t know what to do with. If I can prepare a dish with them I will, but if I can’t think of anything else, I’ll just steam them. So I get stuff on sale to find out what it is to use it later. I end up with more kale, spinach, other greens, and so forth that way.

I’ve also been sampling all the kinds of dried beans, like mung beans, different colors of split peas, and so on that the bulk food store near me has.


I find restaurant food increasingly unsatisfying, even well-rated New York City places. It’s hard to beat home cooked vegetables, under-ten-minute preparation and clean-up time, and delicious.

In my fridge now I happen to have a big container of perfectly cooked kidney beans and a steamed eggplant. So easy!

By the way, I think I bought this thing in college, so it may be twenty years old. I’ve done nothing to maintain it besides washing the pot, steaming plate, and lid after each use.

So I recommend the Hitachi Chime-o-matic rice cooker / vegetable steamer / miracle appliance. I don’t even know if they make it anymore. I’m sure other rice cookers work as well, but I have experience with this one.

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10 responses on “My rice cooker / vegetable steamer / miracle appliance

  1. Thank you. I did do that, but I couldn’t find one that suited me. One is for the fuzzy logic cookers, which I do not have. I will keep looking. I am sure I will find one that I like.

    • Good luck. Let me know if something works out. Eventually I’ll have to replace mine.

      I just ate my lunch of split pea soup made in the rice cooker: split peas, olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper, chopped onion, chopped carrot… throw it all in and later you have delicious, healthy, effortless food. A few meal’s worth.

  2. What is the measurement of Water to Rice for the Chime-O-Matic.

    • I use roughly 2 parts water to 1 part rice, but I find it’s pretty forgiving of mistakes.

      Since that post, I’ve completely switched to using the pressure cooker, though, and haven’t cooked rice in years in favor of vegetables, fruit, and legumes.

      This post and the links of related posts at the bottom is a good start, if you want to read more of what I wrote on it. Also this post.


  3. Do you have recipes for what you make? I don’t have my manual with me but your soups and veggies sound great.
    Barb Stevens

    • Instead of recipes for the rice cooker / vegetable steamer / miracle appliance, I offer what I replaced it with—a pressure cooker:

      Pressure cookers rock!

      A Miracle Contender

      and a video of how I use it, which most of the time means making vegetable stews with no set recipe:

      20-minute vegetable stew. I’ve also made other things in it, including whole wheat bread from wheat berries ground in a blender and all-fruit desserts.

      I don’t think I’ve used the rice cooker / vegetable steamer / miracle appliance since buying the pressure cooker. I recommend pressure cookers instead now. If you want more tips than the video, let me know. I’m happy to promote more people using them.

  4. HI Joshua, Would you have the manual for the chime-o-matic? We no longer have ours and can’t remeber how much water to steam vegetables. Thanks!

  5. Pingback: A miracle contender - Joshua Spodek

  6. Pingback: Product review: Webinarninja embarrassed me in front of customers. One of the worst products I’ve used. | Joshua Spodek

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