August 17, 2005

My Robot Overlords 2: The Rice Cooker

by psu

We all know the way to cook rice is with a rice cooker. For most of my life, I had used simple one button rice cookers. I had seen these "fuzzy logic" cookers, but never figured it was worth shelling out for one. On the other hand, I had also noticed that whenever you are served the really excellent Japanese rice, it comes out of one of these cookers. So last week, under the pretense of obtaining a non-stick bowl, we bought a ten cup Zojirushi. The thing is a miracle.

First, it sings. It plays a little tune when it starts and stops. Completely useless, but a nice touch of levity in an otherwise serious and mechanical undertaking.

Second, being able to set up the machine to provide cooked rice as you get home from work is a joy that is difficult to describe. No waiting an hour for food. The stir fry goes in the pan and we can be eating in twenty minutes with rice that is sushi-restaurant perfect.

But here is the thing. The first time I programmed it to make rice on a timer, I set the timer incorrectly and the cooker had to keep the rice warm for twelve hours. When we got home, the rice was still as good as fresh out of my old pot. I'm not sure what kind of bizarre liquid recycling technique the thing uses to do this. It should, it seems to me, be impossible to do this without drying the rice out.

Ultimately though, what sets this machine apart is the quality of the rice. Buy high quality short grain rice and properly calibrate the liquid to rice ratio and what comes out of this machine is just the right amount of sticky, soft and tender in the middle, and just a bit toothy on the outside. This is perfect rice, every time, ready made when you walk in the door. Who wouldn't be a slave to such a machine?

Posted by psu at August 17, 2005 07:40 PM | Bookmark This

I have a 10 cupper Zojirushi for years. It is excellent, but it works best with 3+ cups of rice. So a year or so ago we bought a 2-3 cup Zojirushi (found on Amazon) and the thing simply rocks. It couldn't be easier to use, and it makes the perfect amount of rice. It will easily keep the rice in relatively good condition for over a day. It's also good at making Quinoa and steel cut oats.

Posted by Mark Denovich at August 17, 2005 10:59 PM

Mark, when you say the smaller Zojirushi is good at making steel-cut oats, are you referring to a porridge-style preparation or something else? (I love s-c oats, and if the lil' Z did porridge right, I might have to buy one.)

Posted by Tom Moertel at August 18, 2005 12:00 AM

My parents have a 5 cup, and I'm thinking that maybe it's a better size. But, strangely, the 10 is not that much larger a machine than the 5, so what the hell.

Posted by psu at August 18, 2005 07:28 AM

I have a 3-cup Zojirushi and have for about four years now. I adore it, and it's great for feeding just me, but when it comes to feeding a crowd, my mom's 10-cup Tiger is fabulous.

Posted by Julie Watt at August 19, 2005 10:39 AM

Tom we have the Zojirushi NS-KCC05. It has a porridge moe that works pretty well. I'm not a steel-cut oats connoisseur, I've only ever had what I cooked for myself... (both traditionally and in the cooker) but I like the result.

We lucked out a year or so ago when we got it cheap ($55) on amazon... (currently $129)

Posted by Mark Denovich at August 19, 2005 10:14 PM

Please, please tell me how you were able to cook steel-cut oats in the rice cooker. I gotten two different rice cookers for specifically doing that, but every time I've tried it, the mixture erupts all over the cooker, the counter, the floor, etc.

What's your secret?

Posted by Jessamine at August 23, 2005 03:44 PM

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