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Rice Cookers


Kikujiro
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At the higher end, I would recommend an IH model. I've seen Japanese test results showing that it produces a superior cooked rice, and my own results also confirm this.

No cons that I know of...except price.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Slightly off-topic:

In Japan, normal rice cookers (mirocomputer-controlled and IH) ranged in price from 10,000 to 40,000 yen, and the highest end models were around 70,000 yen, until Mitsubishi released a new rice cooker last year. Price: 115,500 yen. Its inner pot is carved out from a single carbon block by hand.

You can see some photos of it here. Other manufacturers followed suit and released their highest end models with their own technologies, including "pressure IH" and "steam".

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We've had a Zojirushi "fuzzy" for a few years now, and I honestly don't think you can do much better than this one. Maybe people are getting better results with the induction models, but at this level of rice cookery the differences are somewhat insignificant, IMO.

And regarding the higher end models offering the "GABA Brown" cooking option, please take those health claims with a grain of Okinawan salt! As far as I know, the claims have never been supported by any scientific research...

Hiroyuki,

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of a $950 rice cooker! :shock:

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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Cook's Illustrated recommends Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy and Warmer NS-JCC10 as the best, and National as best buy. But, it doesn't seem they were testing rice cookers with regards to brown rice. I don't know, wouldn't you just add more water for brown rice?

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Fuzzy logic rice cookers are disappearing from the shelves as the IH cookers have now taken over. I purchase a pretty high end model about 2 years ago (in Japan) for about $250 and have never looked back. The rice does cook better and the brown rice comes out perfectly even with no soaking. There are different water levels for white and brown rice and the cooking time is different as well, my cooker takes 60 minutes for brown and 38 minutes for a regular white. It also has a speed function and can cook 2 cups in 14 minutes (5 cups takes 18). I really like the curry rice function (this makes rice to eat with curry not the curry itself), it takes 25 minutes and it isn't as sticky and a little firmer.

Here is my post from when I first purchased it:

I bought one of the new IH rice cookers a little over 2 months ago, it is a Sanyo that is most likely not available outside of Japan. :raz:

I love it! It cooks brown rice better than any other rice cooker/pan method.

You first pick the kind of rice from plain white, brown, sprouted, brown-sprouted, no wash, etc then you can choose the texture desired from things like normal, softer, harder, chewy, etc as well as special settings for okowa (sticky rice), rice to serve with curry rice (harder than average), sushi rice, etc. It also has the typical setting for okayu (rice gruel) and mixed rice dishes.

It cooks Jasmine, Basmati and American long rice perfectly as well, they don't have setting for these kinds of rices but I just use the typical white rice setting.

I find their normal rice is a bit soft for my liking to always set it to katame (firmer).

The typical rice course cooks in 38 minutes quite a bit faster than my old fuzzy logic Zojirushi and the fast course can cook in 18 minutes and it makes incredible rice.

It looks like this

gallery_6134_1003_11683.jpg

Best rice cooker thread

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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A recent recipient of a Zojirushi NH-VBC18 IH rice cooker, I can say that everything you've ever heard about these things is true. The difference in rice quality is stunning. We notice the benefits of this machine particularly with Korean brown rice, Kokuho Rose, and the older bag of Thai jasmine rice we're working our way through (I'm really dying to get some new crop Jasmine rice).

I would never have purchased this machine for myself, but if you eat rice regularly and have the disposable cash to drop (or a kind gift-giver in your family) for such a thing, it's a bit like going from button mushrooms to truffles, I gotta say.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chris, I have had the same rice cooker for a little over a year. Fantastic machine.

At first I felt a twinge relegating to cold storage my faithful Hitachi Chime-o-Matic, which had uncomplainingly, unfailingly, made very good rice for fully 22 years, but I got over it. After the first batch from the Zo, I was over it.

A small unforeseen benefit was even though I remain distrustful of no-rinse rice, (and the Nishiki brand I have bought for years is now all Musenmai, no-rinse), using the special setting on the Zo it comes out very nice. Most of the time I'm cooking rice that take rinsing, though, and results have been excellent.

(And coincidentally, just last evening, cracked open a brand-new bag of New Crop Jasmine and oh my goodness, it was so delicious.)

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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I make rice almost every single day and mine works great. I have a cuckoo brand rice cooker. I tried to find the model online, but I couldn't find it. I think cuckoo is Korea's number one selling rice cooker brand. I have used it to cook brown rice (which came out fine) but I mainly use it to cook korean/japanese short grain rice. I think it was only $60, which is a pretty good price for a rice cooker.

my mother has a extra fancy lg or samsung rice cooker from korea that cost a crapload of money. It cooks everything in it from jook to steamed sweet potatos. It even talks to you in korean when its done.

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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Just remember you also need to use good rice. A $150 rice cooker can't make bad rice good.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Doesn't anyone ever just use a saucepan for making rice?

Perfect steamed rice every time (for me it's usually basmati or thai jasmine rice), without spending money on something that takes up loads of space and can't do anything else.

I kind of just don't get it - the need for a rice cooker, that is.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf

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Doesn't anyone ever just use a saucepan for making rice?

Perfect steamed rice every time (for me it's usually basmati or thai jasmine rice), without spending money on something that takes up loads of space and can't do anything else.

I kind of just don't get it - the need for a rice cooker, that is.

It is made for making good rice, thats why we use it. Its easier to clean rice, soak it, and then press a button. After it's done, it'll automatically turn off or keep warm. You can't do that with a sauce pan. I guess it's kind of like using a crock pot. You turn it on in the morning, go to work, come home and its done.

when you eat rice every single day you should get a rice cooker. At least I should, because I have no clue how to cook korean or japanese rice on top of the stove.

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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There are also kinds of rice that cannot be made in these machines. Any rice that requires sautéing prior to boiling (Italian risotto or Mexican rice with mint, say) can't be made effectively in this machine. But if you've ever found it impossible to make rice for sushi (I sure have), this will solve your problem pronto.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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We make rice in a saucepan on the stove, and probably eat rice with half of our meals. I value counter space more than the few minutes we would save using a rice cooker. If a future renovation yields a pantry full of electrical outlets, a rice cooker will be plugged into one of those outlets.

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I'm pretty sure no one here is insisting that people should buy rice cookers, insanely expensive or no. But, if you make rice a lot, have the counter space and outlets, and have a few dollars left over from your allowance, these are good options.

One feature on the Zojirushi that I particularly like is the handle, which seems a bit silly at first. However, when eating a rice meal with a lot of sides (like a classic Thai meal), it's great to keep dipping into the plugged-in rice cooker that's keeping the rice perfect (another great feature) and have that perfect rice throughout the meal, instead of having it grow increasingly cold and tough.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I don't keep mine on the counter when not in use, a combination of very very little counter space and not liking appliances stored out in the open. So I couldn't even if I wanted to. Which I don't. Only the Dualit, among all the appliances, gets to live on the counter.

Pilafs and so forth, with sauteed or browned ingredients, as Chris mentions up there, I have not done in the rice cooker, although I know people do. Saute ingredients and then continue in the cooker, I can see that working.

I have cooked basmati in a modified chelo style when we need a big amount, and it worked very well, even if it lacked the crusty bottom layer that develops when chelo is prepared in a pan. But the rice itself was just right.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Fuzzy logic rice cookers are disappearing from the shelves as the IH cookers have now taken over.

I took a look over at Zojirushi's Japan site and 9 out of 17 of their consumer rice cookers are IH. Basically, IH is used exclusively in upper mid- to high-end rice cookers priced over 250,000 yen.

IH is used almost exclusively in their commercial-grade units, covering 4 out of 5 models.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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A recent recipient of a Zojirushi NH-VBC18 IH rice cooker, I can say that everything you've ever heard about these things is true. The difference in rice quality is stunning. We notice the benefits of this machine particularly with Korean brown rice, Kokuho Rose, and the older bag of Thai jasmine rice we're working our way through (I'm really dying to get some new crop Jasmine rice).

I would never have purchased this machine for myself, but if you eat rice regularly and have the disposable cash to drop (or a kind gift-giver in your family) for such a thing, it's a bit like going from button mushrooms to truffles, I gotta say.

Does that mean there is a US source for the IH rice cookers?

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Does that mean there is a US source for the IH rice cookers?

The link that Chris provided is for Zojirushi America.

It's great to see that the more advanced models are now available in North America. Back in 2000 or so, I had to purchase our rice cooker in Japan and lug it on the plane. It currently runs (perfectly) on a step-down transformer.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Slightly off-topic:

In Japan, normal rice cookers (mirocomputer-controlled and IH) ranged in price from 10,000 to 40,000 yen, and the highest end models were around 70,000 yen, until Mitsubishi released a new rice cooker last year.  Price:  115,500 yen.  Its inner pot is carved out from a single carbon block by hand.

You can see some photos of it here.  Other manufacturers followed suit and released their highest end models with their own technologies, including "pressure IH" and "steam".

That's pretty interesting but isn't carbon, or graphite too soft to use for a rice pot? Besides, it'd smear and contaminate any rice touching it. Maybe carbon loaded plastic?

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That's pretty interesting but isn't carbon, or graphite too soft to use for a rice pot?  Besides, it'd smear and contaminate any rice touching it.  Maybe carbon loaded plastic?

Not sure if this answers your question, but the Japanese Mitsubishi site indicates that the pot is coated with five layers of a teflon+(proprietary) titanium/mica+carbon coating.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Doesn't anyone ever just use a saucepan for making rice?

Perfect steamed rice every time (for me it's usually basmati or thai jasmine rice), without spending money on something that takes up loads of space and can't do anything else.

I kind of just don't get it - the need for a rice cooker, that is.

Life would be difficult for me without a rice cooker. We eat rice with our meals about 5 to 7 times a week. The programmable timer was a feature I love, It can be set to remember two times. Push the button once and the rice is ready for me at 5:20am and perfect at 5:30 when I start to make my husband's lunch. Push the button twice and the rice will be ready at 6:00pm a life saver for me as I often spend the hour before that driving around to soccer, piano and hula practices.

In Japan where many houses only have two burners (I am lucky as I have 3) a rice cooker is a necessity.

Not everyone needs a top of the line model or even a rice cooker at all. It depends on your needs, what kind of rice you cook and how often you cook it.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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It really irritates me when people pull the "People who use rice cookers are wasteful (of space, money), and I'm superior because I can cook rice on the stove" attitude. It popped up at least once a year on the old rfc.

People have different needs, as Kirstin says. Growing up, we ate rice at least twice a day during the week, three times a day on weekends. Even now, when at my mother's home, we eat rice pretty much every day. And she still doesn't feel a meal is complete without rice.

Don't just assume people who own rice cookers can't cook rice "without spending money on something that takes up loads of space and can't do anything else."

And I have to wonder, has anyone ever done a side-by-side comparison of rice cooked on the stovetop (not real steamed rice, but the bring-to-a-boil-in-a-pot kind) and rice cooked in a rice cooker? I would think there would be some differences, no matter how subtle.

Back to rice cookers--I have an old-style cooker with no programs, just the on/off button. It has the "stay hot" feature, but that's about it. I'm thinking of springing for an IH model to use now, and bring back to Canada when I eventually move back. Any suggestions? The regular white rice function must be easy to use, since my mother can't read kanji, but I'd like to start playing around with brown rice and the other functions.

I do like that Mitsubishi model that Hiroyuki linked to. I stare longingly at it every time I'm at Yodobashi Camera. Now *that* would be a waste of my money.

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That's pretty interesting but isn't carbon, or graphite too soft to use for a rice pot?  Besides, it'd smear and contaminate any rice touching it.  Maybe carbon loaded plastic?

Not sure if this answers your question, but the Japanese Mitsubishi site indicates that the pot is coated with five layers of a teflon+(proprietary) titanium/mica+carbon coating.

Seitch, I'm not sure, their related webpage simply says, "Carbon material (purity: 99.9%).

The four photos on the page show how the pot is made:

1. Carbon material, baked.

2. Rough cutting

3. Cutting

4. Coating

sanrensho, thanks for your detailed comments.

Edited to add: The above link does not work. Try this one:

http://store.yahoo.co.jp/8686-network/yh-nj-ws10.html

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