Technology
Filipino rice cooker

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Make columnist and kayak builder George Dyson sent us these photos (click to make big) from Wipke Iwersen, his boatbuilding friend who is on an extended visit to the Phillipines. George says: “This re-evolution of the electric rice cooker is brilliant, and new to me. Have you seen this? I love it!”

The rice cooker is filled with concrete apart from a hole in the middle, with a perforated bottom. In the hole they make a fire from coconut charcoal, and on top of the rice cooker the pan is placed. And what do they cook there? Yes, rice. Now you may think, oh, that’s for the people who have no electricity – but not at all! There is a new switch on the rice cooker, made from wood – and a fan installed in the bottom! When you put a piece of burning wood from the normal fire (next to the rice cooker) into the hole, and fill it up with charcoal, and switch “ON” , it takes about 20 seconds to have a perfect fire… really amazing. They call this thing “pressure cooker”.

8 thoughts on “Filipino rice cooker

  1. I lived in the Philippines for a couple years, a couple years back. You could have whole blogs dedicated to their ingenuity. I have not seen this exact implementation of the rice cooker, but I have seen many ingenious inventions like unto it.

    If you ever want to sponsor a columnist to live there, sign me up!

  2. Britt, this is a conventional rice cooker that’s been gutted, filled with concrete, and repurposed as a charcoal burning stove for cooking rice in a pot on top. There’s also an electric fan on the bottom to blow on the charcoal and get it to burn hotter.

  3. Probably not concrete. It doesn’t play well with fire and tends to pop and flake apart as waters of hydration decide they’d rather be steam. Probably some kind of refractory mortar like you’d use in a BBQ pit or fire place.

    (Then again there may be bags of concrete everywhere in the Philippines and the maker decided it didn’t matter if it had to be relined once a month. Who knows.)

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Mark Frauenfelder is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Make: magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.

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