The Amazing Tatung Cooker

We bought a 10-person Tatung rice cooker a few weeks ago, and my wife loves it. She’s experimented with a few recipes, mostly Chinese cooking. Now I understand why Taiwanese people take these things overseas when they move.

Today my wife just quartered an apple and put it in there and made a baked apple. We did it again tonight, this time slicing the apple and putting in a little brown sugar and cinnamon. Both were delicious. I hadn’t paid much attention to the intricacies of it before, but I’m now thinking this thing could be used just like an oven–albeit a very small one. Has anyone tried Western-style dishes in theirs? Have you worked out cooking times relative to typical ovens?

1 Like

I’ve tried using a rice-cooker as a casserole or slow-cooker, and it just doesn’t work at all. I suppose it depends what your cooking and what type of rice cooker you have - but it doesn’t really work for me. I suspect the problem is the temperature setting of the low-temperature thermostat. If yours is a bit higher than mine (above 70’C, I’d guess) then you’ll probably do OK.

Was it a Tatung? These things actually operate quite differently from regular ones. With these, there’s a pot within a pot. You pour water into the outer chamber and heat it. This creates steam in the outer chamber and heats the inner pot and cooks whatever is in there. Cooking time is adjusted by how much water you pour into the outer chamber (but you can always turn it off early if you want).

That’s why I started a thread specifically about the Tatung. It’s more than just a rice cooker, so maybe my title was misleading. This thing really has potential.

1 Like

[quote=“SlowRain”]Was it a Tatung? These things actually operate quite differently from regular ones. With these, there’s a pot within a pot. You pour water into the outer chamber and heat it. This creates steam in the outer chamber and heats the inner pot and cooks whatever is in there. Cooking time is adjusted by how much water you pour into the outer chamber (but you can always turn it off early if you want).

That’s why I started a thread specifically about the Tatung. It’s more than just a rice cooker, so maybe my title was misleading. This thing really has potential.[/quote]

The one that I brought to US in 1983 (good for 6 people) had a cord and plug that you can detach from the cooker. The plug was unfortunately damaged and I could not get a replacement unit in US so the cooker now sits in my garage.
My mom brought a bigger one (good for 10 people) to us for our growing family in 1990 and its cord is now attached to the cooker. I guess many would damage the cord or lose it.

There are other accessories: a dish that you can steam the fish or tofu, and a steam pot that fits between the cooker and the lid, and we use it to steam bou-zi or zong-zi.

All are going strong after all these years.

1 Like

I use mine to reheat meals. As instructed by the GF, just put in 2 shot glasses worth of water and then your plate of food directly in the machine. Doesn’t dry food out like a microwave :slight_smile:

We have one of these. Previous one lasted for years and years until our toddler pulled the plug over a counter and the thing was smashed. Had to get one sent over from Taiwan the next week because it is used for everything, from nightly rice to morning steam buns to cooking sweet potatoes and other stuff throughout the day.

Handy little machines.

1 Like

I agree the Tatung is the best.

1 Like

Some people use it to make yoghurt. I’ve never tried though.

Lots of Taiwanese have attested to the longevity of these little machines. Apparently they’ll last over 20 years. The design is simple and the construction is good.

Has anyone tried using theirs as an oven for cooking Western dishes? I want to compare cooking times, but I’d rather not experiment with something complicated. Any suggestions?

1 Like

It’s great for heating stuff up. I use it to replace the microwave. Sure it isn’t as fast, but 10 minutes to heat something up is fast enough for me, beside it tastes much better

1 Like

Use it to steam crabs, lobster and other shellfish. Put a large bowl in the cooker, put a cup of water in the cooker, wait for it to come to a boil, and drop the crustacean on the bowl. Cover and steam. Easy. If the animal sits just right, its juices will drip into the bowl for later use. We also got one of those steamers that sets on top of the cooker. I steamed a crab and lobster in that too. Works great.

The cooker is great for precooking ribs for the toaster oven. I marinate my pork ribs in a bowl of dark beer and assorted spices overnight. The next day I take the bowl out of the fridge, let it get to room temp, put it in tbe cooker, put a cup of water in the cooker, cover, and flip the switch. The liquid in the bowl makes lovely gravy. Put the ribs in the toaster oven and finish with BBQ sauce.

Meatloaf anyone? Tried that once. Worked great. Only problem is you don’t get a nice crust on the top.

I use it for steaming potatoes and vegies. When the potatoes are about done, I drop some spinach onto them for a quick steam. While the potatoes are cooking, I pan fry some chicken or something. When the meat is done, I can let it set. I then use the drippings as a base for a simple sauce for the potatoes and vegies. The timing is about right. Just take the bowl of potatoes and vegies out of the cooker and drizzle the sauce on them. Better yet, plate the sauced potatoes and vegies, and put them in the toaster oven for a few minutes.

2 Likes

Totally OT: do you find a toaster oven works OK for the finishing broil/grill like this? Just set it to max and put the meat as close as you can, without actually touching? Any tips?

Totally OT: do you find a toaster oven works OK for the finishing broil/grill like this? Just set it to max and put the meat as close as you can, without actually touching? Any tips?[/quote]

Well the one problem with my method of ribs in the Tatung cooker is that they stay very fatty and wet. If you want them a bit drier, you either have to trim them really well, or have to wrap them in foil and put them in the toaster oven on about a medium high setting for a half hour or more. You’ll get a lot of oil in the foil. Then you unwrap them and put them on a fresh sheet of foil and finish them. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes for the meat to char. I just set the temp all the way up, and set the ribs a couple inches from the top element.

My toaster oven is small, and I don’t want to start an oil or electrical fire or fill the house with a lot of smoke, so I limit my oven time to 10 to 15 minutes. Just enough time to char the meat a bit, and caramelize the bbq sauce. works ok for me.

If I was going to cook the ribs for longer than half an hour, I’d set the toaster oven on my balcony, and make sure it was the only appliance on the circuit. It draws a lot of amps.

The liquid from the ribs in the tatung cooker makes an awesome au jus for dipping crusty bread or sandwiches. the secret is the beer. I use Michelob dark. why? it just happens to be the beer that the little grocer near my house stocks. I’ve tried Taiwan beer, but it doesn’t add enough taste. A hoppier ale or a stout would be nice. boddington’s would probably work really well.

I’ve just got mine Tatung cooker (high time after 5 years in Taiwan). All my Taiwanese friends say it is THE thing you have to have in your kitchen. Apparently a girl being married always gets one.

Mine is exactly as the one on the photo at the beginning of this thread. I am thinking now how to play with it. I seem to miss some accessories (bought second handed). Could you guys take photos of those extra steaming thing? Can I but those separately?

I saw some people have like very high lid for it… what’s the purpose?

I wonder if there is an English cook book for it (I heard there are Chinese ones). So far I made rice it it :smiley: want to go further than that~

1 Like

It comes with an interior pot and lid; a slotted grate to put in the chamber, under the pot; a plastic measuring cup, and a rice scooper/paddle. Your pot may be aluminum. You can go to the Tatung store and buy a stainless steel one if you want. We did because there’s apparently a health concern with aluminum and certain acidic foods.

I’ve done potatoes, carrots, and sausages in it, but the potatoes need to be sliced quite thin. Carrots can be cut a little thicker than the potatoes. I’ve also done salmon in aluminum foil. I haven’t done much else. Like you, I’m waiting on some recipes.

1 Like

Thanks! Now I remember I saw a Tatung store in my area, I will check it. I don’t have the slotted grate. And yeah, the pot seems to me aluminium. Good advice with it.

It’s round with round holes in it. It keeps the pot from sitting directly on the bottom of the chamber. However, if you go to the Tatung store they’ll have some on display that you can look at to see if you have everything.

1 Like

thanks, got it! I didn’t know before and just put the inside pot directly in… it was fine to actually, but I guess that will be even better. Once I have some free time I’ll experiment a little with steaming food recipes~

igorveni: this is actually really useful video! thanks!!!