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Rice Cookers


Kikujiro
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Oh yes I forgot to say that I bought a Zojirushi too! like this!

Not the latest, but fairly modern - hollow (double-walled) lightweight rice pan, pressure cooking.

I can't say that I notice really huge differences in cooking, except that it plays Twinkle Twinkle when I switch it on, and Amaryllis when it's done :cool: .

My old Toshiba turned out to be older than I thought - around 10 years. The base of the cord (where it is stored inside the bottom of the cooker) had shorted. Maybe the plastic cord covering had cracked? Maybe something else melted the plastic? Couldn't figure out where the initial heat/excess current had come from.

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  • 1 month later...
I've narrowed down my choices of rice cooker between the Sanyo ECJ-D55S 5.5-Cup Micro-Computerized Rice Cooker  and the  Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker. 

I can't tell the major differences between the Sanyo and Zojirushi.  They seem like the same machines besides button layout and the canister to cook the rice in. 

Is the zojirushi worth another $60 or is that just for the brand name? 

the zojirushi is like the all-clad of rice cookers- a reliable, good brand but horribly overpriced. if you're too lazy to do any research, you can buy all-clad and zojirushi ricecookers and get a good product. but, with a modicum of research and effort, you could find a product that's even better or find a product that gives you the same quality but at a signifigant discount.

everybody loves zojirushi, and raves about it. no doubt about it, its superior to the cheap $20 rice cookers. but, while it gives superior rice to the cheapie rice cookers, that doesn't mean it makes better rice than sanyo's. the owners of zojirushi haven't bought a sanyo, so they haven't been comparing it to the sanyo.

sanyo doesn't state it in the name of the product, but it also uses fuzzy logic that everybody raves about with zojirushi. if you review amazon ratings, they get the same rating.

and, the sanyo is more inductive to use and therefore easier to read. with the zojirushi, you need to read their instruction booklet.

i also find the sanyo to be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than zojirushi.

the sanyo will go on sale, and make it even more affordable to zojirushi.

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That induction Zo model (this one: http://www.zojirushi.com/ourproducts/ricec...rs/nh_vbc.html) looks mighty tempting. In part b/c I am enamored by all things induction right now.

My wife and I are thinking of upgrading to one of those pressure rice cookers, which tend to be Korean-made. I think Zo or Panasonic used to make one but maybe don't anymore. My wife's parents and her aunt's family each have one. The pressure cooker lets them cook garbanzo beans and another purple bean (I don't know the name of it) that gets mixed in with the rice. I don't entirely understand how both the rice and dried beans get cooked to the right texture (maybe the beans go in first, then rice later), but it seems to work fine.

Does anyone here have any experience with those models?

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Is the zojirushi worth another $60 or is that just for the brand name? 

the zojirushi is like the all-clad of rice cookers- a reliable, good brand but horribly overpriced. if you're too lazy to do any research, you can buy all-clad and zojirushi ricecookers and get a good product. but, with a modicum of research and effort, you could find a product that's even better or find a product that gives you the same quality but at a significant discount.

everybody loves zojirushi, and raves about it. no doubt about it, its superior to the cheap $20 rice cookers. but, while it gives superior rice to the cheapie rice cookers, that doesn't mean it makes better rice than sanyo's. the owners of zojirushi haven't bought a sanyo, so they haven't been comparing it to the sanyo.

sanyo doesn't state it in the name of the product, but it also uses fuzzy logic that everybody raves about with zojirushi. if you review amazon ratings, they get the same rating.

and, the sanyo is more intuitive to use and therefore easier to read. with the zojirushi, you need to read their instruction booklet.

i also find the sanyo to be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than zojirushi.

the sanyo will go on sale, and make it even more affordable to zojirushi.

I purchased the Sanyo ECJ-F50S (from Amazon) several months ago and couldn't be happier. It has a 24-hour timer--think the zo is only 12(?), and it makes great steel-cut oats as well as rice-and-mixed-beans dishes for breakfast on its porridge setting. Its booklet is well written and has a great bread pudding recipe, though it's easily used without reading the instructions. I, too, prefer its looks to the zo design.

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i'm probably in a unique position to judge the sanyo vs. the zoji because i bought both models before deciding which one to return and which one to keep. each model had its own idiosyncracies and minor annoyances. some people have complained that the rice cooker won't tell you how long it will take to cook the rice, and only tell you that when its almost done. but, that is something that happens with both models, and is to be expected once you understand how the fuzzy logic mechanism works.

with the zoji, its time was in military hours vs. the sanyo which would report the time normally. and, i could see why some people found the zoji's beeping noise tiresome and annoying vs. the sanyo which doesn't make any noise to tell you that its started cooking or finished cooking the rice.

the sanyo didn't have a holder at the side to hold the rice paddle like the zoji and you need to clean the sanyo's top every time. but, ultimately, these are all minor complaints and has nothing to do with how well they cook the rice.

with brown rice, i was never completely that happy with either a zoji or sanyo fuzzy logic rice cooker. i bought the zoji neuro fuzzy logic rice cooker first, but returned it when i tried cooking brown rice. then, i bought a sanyo rice cooker with fuzzy logic, and while i found the brown rice to be somewhat better, i still found it to be somewhat lacking. the sanyo was about half the price of the zoji, but if the zoji had made better brown rice, i would have stayed with the zoji.

i don't know if the problem is that i wasn't cooking the full capacity of the rice cooker, but the fuzzy logic should have compensated for that. i suspect that if you really want perfect brown rice, you might need to get an induction heat rice cooker.

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QUOTE(andiesenji @ Jun 20 2005, 12:33 PM)

I have several rice cookers, including the Zo "Neuro" fuzzy logic cooker.

I have a small old Zo with the locking lid, that I use for small batches of plain long grain rice.

I also have an old Panasonic commercial cooker that takes up to 23 cups of raw rice from when I was still doing some catering.

I haven't had any problems cooking brown rice in any of them.  In the Neuro, as in the others, I simply add additional water, half again what the directions call for and set it the same as for regular rice. 

I do the same thing for cooking whole wheat, kamut, steel cut oats, barley and etc. 

This was suggested by a guy in my local health food store several years ago.  He said all the cookers have a sensor in the bottom that touches the inner pan and senses when the water has all been absorbed.  I don't know if he is correct, just that this method works for me.

Note that I wrote the above in July '05. I neglected to mention that I have been using rice cookers since I saw a Toshiba in the May Company back in the '70s. I used it constantly until it gave out, then proceeded through various Sunbeam, Panasonic, Sanyo, Salton, Rival, Hitachi, Westinghouse and finally the Zos, first the regular one, then the fuzzy logic.

I didn't wear them all out, but they all got a fair amount of usage. I did get some as gifts that I didn't use and passed on to other people and as far as I know, they all worked fine too.

I can safely say that I never used one that didn't cook rice just fine. Sometimes I had to do a bit of juggling, to get other things cooked correctly, but never a problem with rice.

Perhaps I have been lucky. During my catering days, I got one of the big Panasonics which can handle a lot of rice and keeps it perfectly for hours.

I think they are incredibly handy and like the fact that I don't have to worry about the rice or the pan. I have in the past, created rice "stepping stones" because I forgot about the pan on the back of the stove and got involved in a book, in the garden or even, on one occasion, went shopping, only to return to a kitchen that smelled like I was vulcanizing something. When I chiseled it out of the copper pan, the tin lining came with it. That prompted me to get my first automatic cooker.

I like the Zo "Neuro fuzzy" very much, there are now other brands on the market that are less expensive and that are said to work just as well. (Same thing happened with bread machines).

However, being an inveterate appliance/gadget collector, I have just sprung for the new induction rice cooker, also by Zo. After I have given it a test drive, I will report back.

Note: I posted the above in April 2006!

I have now been using the Zo induction rice cooker for a bit over a year and I love it.

I use rice and other grains, often mixed, in a lot of dishes - on the advice of my gastroenterologist I increased the fiber in my diet by a large factor -

This Zo may seem like rather a large capacity, however I like to cook various rices in volume and vacuum package it, and freeze it, so I have it on hand for quick use when I need it.

It is particularly effective when cooking mixtures of different rices - I have a favorite that I buy in bulk that includes multiple varieties of white and brown rice, wild rice, etc.

I love the extended keep warm feature and I use it for more than just keeping the rice at serving temp.

When I am making up stuffed grape leaves (or stuffed sorrel leaves, which I grow myself and the lemony flavor is wonderful with the fattier meats and poultry) I cook the rice and when it is finished, blend the meats and spices into the rice and return it to the cooker with the extended keep warm feature set.

The rice mixture is kept at a safe temp while I prepare the rest of the ingredients and I can work with smaller batches because I can no longer stand for extended periods (and for some odd reason, I have a problem with my technique for rolling and tucking the vine or sorrel leaves while seated - it affects my dexterity and makes me feel clumsy).

In any event, I fill a baking dish, anoint with flavored oil and put it into the oven and put my feet up until I am ready to prepare the next batch of tolma, dolma, sarma or whatever one wishes to call them.

The fuzzy logic Zo also has this keep warm feature but I rarely used it because I didn't think of preparing the tolma mixture and holding it at a safe temp this way.

I used to cook the rice, mix in the spices and meats, nuts, vegetables, etc., and refrigerate the mixture in shallow pans so it would cool rapidly and safely.

I think, and other people have noted also, that maintaining the mixture at this temp for an extended period seems to increase the blending of flavors, especially when dried fruits and nuts are added to the mixture.

I am sure that the other induction cookers are just as good, but my only experience is with the Zo. I use it a minimum of twice a week, often more often, and I am extremely pleased with it and it is worth every penny I paid.

If one does not use a rice cooker on a regular basis, i.e., at least once or twice a week, then I think it is a needless expense, whether one uses an inexpensive plain rice cooker, one with fuzzy logic or an induction cooker.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 3 months later...

I've been seeing recipes pop up about how to back breads in a rice cooker.

But I'm having a problem. My rice cooker is a really expensive Zojirushi (this one)

The only thing the timer seems to do is turn it on at a certain time. I want it to stay cooking to bake the bread but the sensors keep shutting it off as if it was cooking rice.

Does anybody have experience baking bread in this thing? Maybe I need to leave it longer while it's on the "keep warm" setting?

All the directions online are very vague and makes it seem as if it keeps at cooking temperature for an hour. It doesn't say anything about the keep warm function.

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Erm, don't ya have an oven?  I hear they work pretty well for baking things...

Ovens are hot. Hot apartments on summer days are not fun. The Japanese have many more uses for their cookers since small apartments and dorms sometimes don't have ovens. I'm just trying it out.

But no, I'm cooking banana bread. I just flipped it and reset the cooker so I'll see how it comes out.

I was just seeing if anybody has experience with this type of cooker and maybe knows how to set it to cook for longer periods of time than the automatic settings.

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My Japanese teacher cooked me a banana bread in her rice cooker the other day. She ran it through the cycle three times, then finished it in a frying pan. It was great. It also prompted me to think about baking regular bread in a rice cooker - after all - isn't a bread machine just like a rice cooker but with a kneading cycle? I have a really cheap rice cooker that I'm getting rid of in a week, as I'm moving to Japan. If I could get my hands on some yeast...

......dare me?

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My Japanese teacher cooked me a banana bread in her rice cooker the other day. She ran it through the cycle three times, then finished it in a frying pan. It was great. It also prompted me to think about baking regular bread in a rice cooker - after all - isn't a bread machine just like a rice cooker but with a kneading cycle? I have a really cheap rice cooker that I'm getting rid of in a week, as I'm moving to Japan. If I could get my hands on some yeast...

......dare me?

Dares ya :cool:

Anybody ever poached fish in a dishwasher?

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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There are so many things you can do with a rice cooker, besides simply cooking rice. There are even books out that are devoted to the subject, like tthis one (Japanese only), but I'm not interested because I like my cooker to be always clean. I once tried vaccum cooking in my rice cooker, though, as I described here.

(My wife once made a cake, using a premade pancake mix.)

Here is a webpage in Japanese that shows you various dishes you can make with a rice cooker. The webpage, however, contains this caution:

(中には、米以外は炊けない炊飯器があるようです。くれぐれも無理はしないでください。ケーキを焼いてる途中でスイッチが切れてしまうような場合は、その炊飯器では焼けないということですので、潔く諦めましょう。)

There seem to be rice cookers that can cook rice only. If the cooker is turned off while it is baking bake, this means that you cannot bake it with that rice cooker. Simply give it up.

So, I would suggest getting a cheaper model and using it for purposes other than rice cooking.

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There is a group on yahoo.com called "rice cooker recipes," whose members use their cookers for many things other than rice.

Here is a bread recipe from their collection that may help you:

Bread From Wicki How To

188 grams flour (1.5 cups)

50 grams yeast (about 1.25 teaspoon)

21 grams sugar (about 1.5 tbsp)

6.5 grams salt (about 1.5 tsp)

21 grams butter (about 1.5 tsp)

30 ml milk (1 oz.)

180 ml water (6 oz.)

Steps

Put 5g yeast into a bowl or cup and add a pinch of sugar and about 1/4 cup warm water. Allow it stand for approximately ten minutes.

In the meantime, pour the flour, along with salt and sugar directly into the rice cooker.

Pour the milk into the flour that is now in the rice cooker.

Pour the yeast mixture from the first step directly into the dry ingredients.

Form the dough into a ball after kneading for 8-10 minutes, adding a little more flour if it seems too wet. If the dough feels very sticky, then dip your hands into some flour so that the dough will not stick as you roll it.

Add butter to the dough ball. It might be easier to cut the butter into small pieces. Also the butter should be soft and at room temperature. The butter will also help to grease the rice cooker bowl, so that the bread will not stick to the sides. Knead the butter into the ball until the butter is completely absorbed into the dough and has no lumps.

Allow to sit for an hour in the rice cooker bowl in a warm area or on a warm setting. This is the first dough rise.

Notice that the dough, as it sits undisturbed doubles in size. This is because the yeast in there is eating up the starch and sugars in the flour and breathing out carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide dissolves into the dough, and either escapes, or expands the air bubbles in the dough that were there from mixing causes dough to get bigger!

Lift the dough from the bowl and with some force, toss it back. Do this a few times, until the dough returns to its original size. Once again allow it to sit in a warm area. This is now the second and final rise.

Note that the second rise will be the same as the first. Just leave it alone for one hour, and it will puff back up to double its size. Yeast works this way.

Bake for an hour in the rice cooker, but check after a half hour to see if it is done. Make sure it does not burn on the bottom. Temperatures differ with each rice cooker, so you will have to learn what is best for you. Write down the times and steps, so you will remember it for the next bake.

Flip your bread out and turn it upside down. This is the second baking period. It is also supposed to be 1 hour, but may not need that long. The cooker you use probably makes all the difference here.

Flip it and bake it one more time, for the same length of time as the first two bakes.

Tips

*Once you have baked the bread a few times, you can easily adjust the ingredients to taste.

*This is a very flexible bread, its taste is not very strong, so it could easily take on other flavors.

*A saltier or yeastier bread goes very well with chili.

*Let the bread cool a little before eating it.

*Bread is done when it sounds hollow if you tap it.

Warnings

*Take care not to burn yourself.

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There are so many things you can do with a rice cooker, besides simply cooking rice.  There are even books out that are devoted to the subject, like tthis one (Japanese only), but I'm not interested because I like my cooker to be always clean.  I once tried vaccum cooking in my rice cooker, though, as I described here.

(My wife once made a cake, using a premade pancake mix.)

Here is a webpage in Japanese that shows you various dishes you can make with a rice cooker.  The webpage, however, contains this caution:

(中には、米以外は炊けない炊飯器があるようです。くれぐれも無理はしないでください。ケーキを焼いてる途中でスイッチが切れてしまうような場合は、その炊飯器では焼けないということですので、潔く諦めましょう。)

There seem to be rice cookers that can cook rice only. If the cooker is turned off while it is baking bake, this means that you cannot bake it with that rice cooker. Simply give it up.

So, I would suggest getting a cheaper model and using it for purposes other than rice cooking.

This really stinks! My Zojurushi is worthless as a cooker of breads and cakes. But it makes wonderful porridge, mixed rice and of course plain rice.

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  • 4 weeks later...

So I knocked my rice cooker off the counter top on accident today and the lid broke off so I'm in the market for a new rice cooker. So there are a handful of rice cookers available here that use inductive heating (IH). I've heard from a number of people that they cook rice noticeably better than your standard neuro-fuzzy rice cooker. Is this true? And is it worth the $150-200 increase in price over a standard rice cooker?

I want to decide as soon as possible as eating natto and tororo by themselves is somewhat lonely :(

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YES! There is a general agreement here on eGullet that an IH rice cooker makes better rice.

And is it worth the $150-200 increase in price over a standard rice cooker?

Sorry to hear that. The increase is lower here in Japan, say, 10,000 to 15,000 yen.

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As a user, I would also "Yes," provided that it's within your budget. (I bought my IH cooker quite a few years ago in Japan, so I really have no vested interest in pushing/defending the advantages of IH.) Since we cook rice at least 4 or 5 times a week, the difference in the cost of an IH cooker was minimal when measured over the course of more than 5 years of use. In my experience, I've found Japanese rice cookers to be quite durable and have personally never had one break down. So the life expectancy of these units may also factor into your decision.

The only thing you might find is that the coating on the inner bowl might start to break down. Ours has lost its coating in a few spots where we managed to scratch the coating.

Here's a more recent thread where we discussed IH rice cookers

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...&hl=rice+cooker

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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