You most definately add water to the rice bowl. Just follow the instructions in the manual for the amount of water to add to the rice bowl. I have used a couple of Black and Decker steamers for the last 20 years.
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I have a Sunbean Instant Streamer model 4710... I just wash the rice, add it to the bowl and add 1 cup of rice to 2 cups water. I fill the the bottom of the streamer to the max line and turn the steamer to 50 minutes.. The rice comes out great in my streamer this way
there is normally a special rice bowl, which looks like the lid upside down which is used for rice cooking and should be placed at the highest point in the upper steam bowl and place the lid on top.
for 1 cup of white regular rice, use 1 1/2 cups of water, steam for 45-50 mins
for 1 cup long grain rice use 1 2/3 cups of water, steam for 50-55 mins
for 1/2 cup of brown regular rice, use 1 cup water and steam for 42-45mins