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Rice Cookers


Kikujiro
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^^^Excellent points, Prasantrin.

The other thing to add is that rice cookers give you a level of consistency and repeatability that may not always be achievable with a stovetop. Furthermore, the warmer and timer functions are absolutely indispensable for a family that cooks and eats rice frequently, as illustrated by the above posts.

As for your rice cooker search, the only thing I will add is to make sure you use a step-down transformer here in Canada or the clock/timer will eventually go. (You probably already know this.)

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

I see, it's a ceramic coating with teflon and carbon. Thanks for the info.

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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

Thanks Hiroyuki, I can't read Japanese so I'll have to rely on yours and Sorensho's translations.

Sounds like a nice pot. I'd buy one.

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1. Carbon is not charcoal - not every form of charcoal is soft. Also, the carbon pot is 7.5mm thick - very solid.

2. Why use a rice-cooker? is up there with Why don't you cook everything on open fires in the back yard? I have only two burners, and I don't want to "waste" one on cooking rice when preparing a meal, quite apart from ease of use and the TIMER!!! mode. A saucepan on a gas or electric cooker was never the traditional way to cook rice in Japan, but I only knew one family with a dirt-floored kitchen with a "kamado" style drop-in pots and earthenware fireplace that they actually used. But they moved to New Zealand long ago, taking care to buy an electric rice cooker at the airport on their way!

3. IH has seen a return to heavy rice pots, from the easily-dented aluminum pots of yesteryear. Mitsubishi's carbon pot, and Toshiba's "kamado" pot (currently the most expensive rice cooker listed on kakaku.com) are both examples of this, but all the major manufacturers make heavier pots than they used to. Each manufacturer touts a slightly different type of teflon coating - Mitsubishi says theirs includes diamond, which I suppose goes nicely with the carbon theme. I have to say that I won't be buying Toshiba teflon-coated products again in a hurry - my current rice cooker and previous hot-plate both blistered and peeled in a very short time.

4. Technologies currently in the hot seat:

a) Pressure cooking, especially with the latest Zojirushi rice cookers. These are designed to mimic the effects of the very heavy wooden lids of yesteryear. The argument is that pressure evens out temperature distribution, and builds higher temperatures = more water absorbed = cold rice for bentos stays softer, "hard" grains like brown rice or other non-rice grains cook softer. You can pick from 7 levels of pressure, for purposes from sushi rice to brown rice. Different models of these cookers are top sellers on the Japanese consumer price comparison site, kakaku.com. Price is good too.

b) Steam. National has some kind of steam gadget in the lid, and other manufacturers make various claims for "steaming" rice. On the expensive side. I suspect that steam was "last year's trend" and I am curious to see whether it will remain a must-have technology or not.

c) Ease of use. Sanyo for example puts a lot of effort into making menus easy to see and operate.

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1. Carbon is not charcoal - not every form of charcoal is soft. Also, the carbon pot is 7.5mm thick - very solid.

Yeah, but even solid graphite will shatter if dropped or handled roughly. I've seen it used for high termperature molds for ceramic substrates and even that stuff, which is very hard, would come off on your fingers if you handled it a lot. I can't see using it as a rice pot. Maybe if it was a part of a composite structure.

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part of a composite structure.[/quote

It is, as Hiroyuki says.

I'm sure that rice cookers are not meant to be dropped or handled roughly. :cool:

The carbon "block" that is machined to produce the pot is carbon, not a composite material or grpahite - the Japanese word used is "hon-tanso", or "authentic carbon". The word "hon" is also used to mean the original form of something.

I don't know what the surface of the uncoated carbon pot is like, but I am guessing that different temperatures/amounts of pressure are used to solidify the carbon powder, according to the purpose, so I suppose the surface of the finished product may differ - I understand that you say carbon molds leave deposits (i.e. shed some surface material) when handled, but carbon bearings surely don't??

Here are some of the pictures in Hiroyuki's link, in an English site. It doesn't say so in English, but step 4 in the processing of the pot is "coating".

Mobile ojisan on the Mitsubishi rice cooker and tangentially related topics.

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part of a composite structure.[/quote

It is, as Hiroyuki says.

I'm sure that rice cookers are not meant to be dropped or handled roughly. :cool:

The carbon "block" that is machined to produce the pot is carbon, not a composite material or grpahite - the Japanese word used is "hon-tanso", or "authentic carbon". The word "hon" is also used to mean the original form of something.

I don't know what the surface of the uncoated carbon pot is like, but I am guessing that different temperatures/amounts of pressure are used to solidify the carbon powder, according to the purpose, so I suppose the surface of the finished product may differ - I understand that you say carbon molds leave deposits (i.e. shed some surface material) when handled, but carbon bearings surely don't??

Here are some of the pictures in Hiroyuki's link, in an English site. It doesn't say so in English, but step 4 in the processing of the pot is "coating".

Mobile ojisan on the Mitsubishi rice cooker and tangentially related topics.

Carbon bearings are used because when fit to a tightly machined part, the carbon wears a bit and dry lubes the interface. You can vary forming the powder but a carbon part will still wear. My guess is that it is expected that the user will never use a hard implement to scoop the rice. A more practical, lower cost material would be teflon coated steel. The carbon pot is very cool but gimmicky.

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Thanks Seitch - after posting, I was actually thinking to myself "wait a minute, slef-lubing surely means that some stuff DOES come off the bearings..." :biggrin: but I wasn't sure if that were really so.

It certainly is expected that nothing harder than a plastic or bamboo paddle will be used with modern rice cookers.

There's been interest here in Korean stone cookware, and also in cooking rice in earthenware "nabe", so I'm sure that most of the manufacturers are playing around with various materials, even if they haven't put them in their product line-up.

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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.

Wow, I didn't realise I was going to hit a nerve, and I certainly didn't intend to irritate. I honestly don't for a moment think that I'm 'superior' because I cook rice on a stove rather than in a rice cooker. I can't see that it matters how you cook it, so long as the result is good. I do it on the stove simply because that's the way my mum taught me to do it, and the way I've done it ever since. Maybe a rice cooker would do it better, I couldn't say.

I only brought this up because I was genuinely curious about why people use rice cookers - I've noticed that a lot of people on eg seem to use them, and I couldn't figure out why. Kirstin's answer makes perfect sense to me, and I can see how it could be a very useful piece of kit, particularly when you eat rice every day, cook for a family, etc (neither of which apply to me).

I find my bread machine - space hogging, expensive machine though it is - very, very useful, and doubtless all the bread-makers around here think 'why on earth does anyone need one of those?'. What's useful to one is a puzzle to others, I guess.

Anyway, carry on ...

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

Virginia Woolf

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  • 3 weeks later...
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...

I'm not sure which claims you're pointing at. I was looking for information about this now that I have some brown rice. The claim that germinating rice greatly increases GABA levels has been tested, and the results published, a number of times (for example, this study). Though, that study tested a 72-hours soak, and the article referenced from Wikipedia gives a time of 8 hours to 24 hours at 40 Celsius.

The claim that these rice cookers can germinate rice in two hours is a bit dubious, though, and I haven't seen any peer-reviewed studies that really show what the effects of GABA are in the first place (but I haven't been searching long).

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have several rice cookers. For almost a year I have been using the Zojirushi induction rice cooker and I love it. I cooked sticky rice in it (which I like to use for rice pudding) just last week. The setting are easy and it is programmable so it can be set to start when you wish, while you are at work or away from home. It is expensive but there are now less expensive brands on the market, just as what happened with the "fuzzy logic" rice cookers.

I have been using rice cookers since they first appeared on the market in the US and I think they are my favorite appliance for giving value for the money. However, I cook a lot of rice, cereals, and use it as a steamer, I use it a minimum of three times a week, often more.

Do look at the last link posted by prasantrin as the discussion is extensive and there is a lot of excellent advice.

Take your time and shop around, check on ebay too because there are many vendors selling brand new appliances, often at steep discounts.

"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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I have several rice cookers.  For almost a year I have been using the Zojirushi induction rice cooker and I love it.  I cooked sticky rice in it (which I like to use for rice pudding) just last week.

Andisenji, could you tell me a little more about your rice pudding recipe?

Using sticky rice for rice pudding sounds a lot more appealing to me, probably due to my Asian heritage. Western rice pudding made with regular rice (long or short grain) rarely does it for me, so I wouldn't mind trying out your variation.

Apologies for the thread divergence, Ono Loa!

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I recommend an IH (induction heating) model.  What types of rice cookers are available where you live?  Microcomputer-controlled, fuzzy logic?

I live in Hawaii and i have seen loads of them around... i think the induction is avilable but i cant be sure. I am not sure what fuzzy logic is but i will check out the suggested threads. thanks alot

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I live in Hawaii and i have seen loads of them around... i think the induction is avilable  but i cant be sure.  I am not sure what fuzzy logic is but i will check out the suggested threads.  thanks alot

IH models will definitely be available in Oahu. Hawaii is generally the first place I would expect any Japanese item to be available. You're luck to live there!

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I live in Hawaii and i have seen loads of them around... i think the induction is avilable  but i cant be sure.  I am not sure what fuzzy logic is but i will check out the suggested threads.  thanks alot

IH models will definitely be available in Oahu. Hawaii is generally the first place I would expect any Japanese item to be available. You're luck to live there!

you are in Vancouver and i have lived there too... its lovely but i get too cold in the winter. i have one of those portable jobs that i can take with me and i have family in Hilo so i thought i better get back to da islands. i like Oahu... less rain and more to do. I will try to look for one of those cookers in town. i read the threads and sounds like just what i need. thanks

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you are in Vancouver and i have lived there too... its lovely but i get too cold in the winter.  i have one of those portable jobs that i can take with me and i have family in Hilo so i thought i better get back to da islands.  i like Oahu... less rain and more to do.  I will try to look for one of those cookers in town.  i read the threads and sounds like just what i need.  thanks

Too cold! Try living in Toronto or Nagano.:raz:

Actually, I know what you mean. My parents moved back to Vancouver after two decades in Honolulu. They're always cold and bundled up during the fall/winter/spring. We have to turn up the heaters in our house whenever they visit (then turn them down again).

Go for the IH cooker. You won't regret it.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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you are in Vancouver and i have lived there too... its lovely but i get too cold in the winter.  i have one of those portable jobs that i can take with me and i have family in Hilo so i thought i better get back to da islands.   i like Oahu... less rain and more to do.   I will try to look for one of those cookers in town.  i read the threads and sounds like just what i need.   thanks

Too cold! Try living in Toronto or Nagano.:raz:

Actually, I know what you mean. My parents moved back to Vancouver after two decades in Honolulu. They're always cold and bundled up during the fall/winter/spring. We have to turn up the heaters in our house whenever they visit (then turn them down again).

Go for the IH cooker. You won't regret it.

oh thats really funny your parents left after 2 decades wow ! its hard to think about leaving here with the lovely weather and beaches. i would miss it.

so what brand IH would you suggest... i eat mainly brown rice.

have you steamed veg. in it as well?

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oh thats really funny your parents left after 2 decades wow !  its hard to think about leaving here with the lovely weather and beaches.  i would miss it.

so what brand IH would you suggest... i eat mainly brown rice.

have you steamed veg. in it as well?

My parents didn't really have a choice, since they neglected to acquire citizenship and always intended to move back. (The high cost of living in Honolulu didn't help, and they are both avowed urbanites so moving elsewhere in Hawaii wasn't an option.)

It's been quite a few years since I had to shop for an IH cooker, so maybe others can comment on which brands they prefer. They all seem pretty reliable, as I've never had a unit fail on me nor do I know anyone who has. More often than not, the owner is ready to move on to a newer model with the latest features before the rice cooker itself fails.

I haven't steamed veg in a rice cooker, we pretty much use ours only for rice.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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oh thats really funny your parents left after 2 decades wow !  its hard to think about leaving here with the lovely weather and beaches.  i would miss it.

so what brand IH would you suggest... i eat mainly brown rice.

have you steamed veg. in it as well?

My parents didn't really have a choice, since they neglected to acquire citizenship and always intended to move back. (The high cost of living in Honolulu didn't help, and they are both avowed urbanites so moving elsewhere in Hawaii wasn't an option.)

It's been quite a few years since I had to shop for an IH cooker, so maybe others can comment on which brands they prefer. They all seem pretty reliable, as I've never had a unit fail on me nor do I know anyone who has. More often than not, the owner is ready to move on to a newer model with the latest features before the rice cooker itself fails.

I haven't steamed veg in a rice cooker, we pretty much use ours only for rice.

yes i see what you mean it is rather a bit expensive living here.

anyway...thanks for the advice. i will get one i am sure it will do the trick.

as far as the veg cooking...well... at that price i do want it to do more than rice.

as long as i have cleaned it well it should not be a problem switching back and forth from rice to veg. i have to eat my rice everyday so this will be good to have. now just need to track down a store that has them for a good price... maybe walmart does? never know!

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  • 2 weeks later...

My rice-cooker almost melted down on me...looking on the bright side, at least I can be quite certain that it's dead!

I see that lots of people like the IH cookers. Anybody in Japan like the "pressure" IH cookers?

I'm not too keen on a really heavy inner pot, because I use an "isshou-daki" (1.8li) capacity cooker, but would be interested to hear comments on different types of inner pots.

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My rice-cooker almost melted down on me...looking on the bright side, at least I can be quite certain that it's dead!

I see that lots of people like the IH cookers. Anybody in Japan like the "pressure" IH cookers?

I'm not too keen on a really heavy inner pot, because I use an "isshou-daki" (1.8li) capacity cooker, but would be interested to hear comments on different types of inner pots.

Almost melted down? how so? has this happened to anyone else? tell me more about it before i buy one.... what brand was it? thanks

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i need to buy a rice cooker thats good for brown and white rice.

any suggestions?  I would really appreciate it.  thanks.

Zojirushi 10 cup IH - love it!

Also has the feature for a GABA cycle for brown rice -

"... a special cycle that activates the GABA in brown rice, increasing it to 150% of the level in nonactivated rice. This special cycle keeps the rice at about 104° F. for about 2 hours. Total GABA-cycle time is about 3 hours to 3 hours and 40 minutes, and along with increasing the GABA level, it also makes brown rice softer. "

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