I originally got this recipe from a cookbook, but I made so many changes as time went along that it's practically a new recipe. A rice cooker is an undervalued utensil in Western kitchens but is found in most Asian kitchens. What most people don't realize is that a rice cooker can cook more than just rice. This is one of the fancy electronic rice cookers that can tell when rice is perfectly cooked, but that also applies to other grains, and some can also work as a steamer, bread maker, or a slow cooker. If you want to experiment with a new appliance this is a great idea, and fun. And of course the rice is good too. There are a few specialty rice cooker cookbooks, and one is very good, I think you'll be able to figure out which one it is, if you look.
This recipe uses American/English measurements, do not use the cup that comes with the rice cooker.
Machine: Medium (5- or 6-cup) rice cooker, fuzzy logic only
You need a very starchy rice such as Arborio or an American-grown version of it to get the right consistency for this pudding. Using more than 2 tablespoons, however, makes the pudding too starchy, especially when cold.
Place the rice and milk in the rice cooker bowl; stir to combine. Close the cover and set for the Porridge cycle.
When the machine switches to the Keep Warm cycle, open the rice cooker, and add the sugar and vanilla, quickly stirring it into the rice milk mixture. Stir until combined.
Close the cover and reset for a second Porridge cycle. Stir every 15 to 20 minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Warning: cooking the sugar for more than about 1/2-hour makes the pudding difficult to clean from the rice cooker bowl, so don't add sugar at the beginning of cooking (although the rice pudding comes out fine)! Rice mixture will thicken as it cools. If it comes out too thick, just add more milk.
Pour the pudding into 6 custard cup or ramekins, or pour into a single larger bowl. Serve warm or let cool slightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When cold, cover with plastic wrap and store for up to 4 days.
You can add dried fruit and or cinnamon, and top with whipped cream. Also a fruit syrup or sauce or fresh fruit would be good as a topping. Coconut can be added to the mixture as well.