Japanese people who eat rice on a daily basis are particular about their rice cookers. In this article, I would like to tell you how to choose a rice cooker as a Japanese.
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Do you really need a rice cooker?
Although a rice cooker is convenient, it is not always necessary for cooking rice. We can cook rice in a regular pot as well.
See also: How to Cook Japanese Rice Better
If you use a special rice cooking pot, you can cook rice better than in a rice cooker. In some authentic Japanese restaurants, rice is cooked in earthen pots.
However, cooking rice in a pot has the following disadvantages:
- Need to control the heat.
- Cannot be scheduled.
- Cannot keep rice warm
Therefore, a rice cooker is useful in the following cases:
- When you cook rice frequently and do not want to spend a lot of time.
- When you want to cook rice on a schedule.
- When you want to keep the cooked rice warm.
In my case, I usually use a rice cooker and sometimes cook rice in a pot.
Popular rice cookers in Japan
There are many different brands of rice cookers available in Japan, ranging from low-priced to high-priced.
Rice cookers are manufactured mainly by vacuum bottle manufacturers (Zojirushi, TIGER) and home appliance manufacturers (Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi, etc.). Each company sells a variety of rice cookers with different features.
The most popular is Zojirushi’s rice cooker series.
However, rice cookers sold in Japan may not be suitable for use outside Japan. If you plan to use it outside Japan, choose a model that is designed for use in your region.
What size rice cooker to buy
Most Japanese rice cookers come in 5.5 or 10 cup sizes.
It is important to note that this size is the maximum capacity and not the optimum capacity. It is best to cook rice at about 80% of the maximum capacity. If you cook about 4 cups of rice at a time, choose the 5.5 cup size.
In Japan, most people choose the 5.5 cup size for a family of up to four, and the 10 cup size for a family of more.
Cooked rice can be frozen if it is not consumed. The rice cooker can keep the rice warm, but in fact, it is better to freeze the rice immediately after cooking and defrost it in the microwave for later consumption rather than keeping it warm for a long time.
What are the differences between different types of rice cookers?
Electric rice cookers can be categorized into three main types: micom rice cookers, IH rice cookers, and pressure IH rice cookers.
Micom rice cookers are relatively inexpensive, but they heat rice only from the bottom, resulting in uneven heating and less tasty rice. If you are looking for a rice cooker that offers a good balance between price and functionality, the following products are recommended:
IH rice cookers heat the inner pot more evenly, resulting in better tasting rice. The following products are recommended:
Pressure IH rice cookers cook rice under high pressure like a pressure cooker, which bring out the flavor of the rice and produces rice with a good texture.
The following products are recommended: