Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

neveth
Bento-ing from: Richardson › Texas › USA
Joined: 8 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 25 weeks ago.

(An interesting discussion from the forums. Jump in, and enjoy your weekend!)

I do the cooking as my SO has a tendency to burn boiled water. He came with a massive 1-setting cheapo rice cooker, and he doesn’t understand why I want to boot it into space. It’s a 10-cup cooker, at least, and at most we only need a couple cups at a time. I’ve had to resort to cooking rice in a pot so I don’t have to make a cup extra just so it can get burned to the bottom. And EVERYONE says that I can’t make proper japanese-style rice in a pot, so I wanna get a small rice cooker, and I imagine those 1-setting rice cookers wouldn’t cut it. (You know the type. Just a switch you press down, and when it pops up it’s done.)

So here’s the question, after my whine - Do I NEED a nice fuzzy logic cooker? I want one, but being dirt-poor 20-somethings, shelling out $100-$200 makes us balk. The pot method isn’t cutting it. It does jasmine rice a treat, but the short grain stuff keeps coming out gluey. (more like porridge than proper sticky rice, sadly)

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bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I don't have a rice cooker. I have no intention of getting one either - Maki will tell you that they make cooking rice a lot easier, but if you follow her instructions for cooking rice in a pot, you should be able to make Japanese rice just fine. Remember it uses a lot less water than jasmine or basmati.

Unless you believe that the Japanese couldn't cook rice until the invention of the rice cooker, it MUST be possible to cook rice in a pot, yes? I rather suspect they were cooking perfectly good rice for many many centuries before the discovery of electricity, let alone the invention of the rice cooker.

____________________________________

Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

Balifly
Bento-ing from: Vancouver › British Columbia › Canada
Joined: 22 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 19 weeks 3 days ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I have had a rice cooker for many years, it is for two cups of uncooked rice only.
It is a major Japanese brand, " Panasonic " that we purchased in Japan. My family have rice cookers from other brands as well, none of them has ever failed to do their job. They are just rice cookers, the most involved feature is " keep warm ".

Wash the rice hours before, put water in to soak the rice, press the button down 30 minutes before you want to eat. The rice is done in 20 minutes, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes voilà. Done to perfection each and every time, you don't need to give it a second look ever !!! They are all the same, buy the most expensive you can afford. Most important thing is to buy just a rice cooker, not some useless junk that promises to make ten different things, none of them well.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Balifly

Loretta
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Bento-ing from: London › UK
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Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

You don't actually NEED a rice cooker.
I've been making Japanese rice on a nearly daily basis for over seven years, for the past two years living with my Japanese husband. Using a pot and a stove was absolutely fine as long as the pot has a heavy airtight lid.

Yes, a rice cooker is undeniably more convenient. I found a very cheap Chinese brand only recently (the brand is Midea) and switched to making rice in that, but it WAS after 7 years of happy and satisfied rice-in-a-pot cooking. The Midea cooker isn't ideal (eventually we'll switch to a technologically superior fuzzy-logic type cooker... when we can afford one), and the rice I make in the pot is actually a little better (the Midea cooker browns the bottom layer a little), but the main reason we got it is so that we can just measure out the rice and water the night before and touch the 'cook' button in the morning on the way into the shower. 20 minutes later it's done. It's purely for convenience, not taste.

Before, using the pot, we measured the ingredients the night before and in the morning I'd turn the heat on the stove to high, wait until I could hear the water inside start to boil and then move it to the lowest heat setting for 10 minutes (in the meantime I'd have that shower). After the ten minutes were up, I'd remove the rice from the heat and it would be ready 10 minutes later. Waiting around for the water to initially boil in a cold kitchen in the winter was the sole hardship of this method. A ten minute kitchen timer is all you need to make the second stage simple.
We usually use the Nishiki brand of rice. Despite the large number of Japanese restaurants in London, only a very small number of them make plain rice that tastes better than the rice I've been making in a pot for years. You really don't NEED a rice cooker.

Céline
Bento-ing from: Avignon or Lyon, depends › France
Joined: 10 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 10 weeks ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Hello there, my dirt-poor 20-something comrade ! ^^

I've been asking myself the same questions for some time... I'm in the same situation, except that not only I'm a dirt-poor 20-something, I also live in an appartment with two eletric burners, in a country that just doesn't carry really good rice cookers. So I've been making rice in a pot on the stove, several times a week, for 3 years now...
Basically I agree with what is said above : I assure you you can get perfectly cooked japanese rice with only a pot, tight lid and a burner ; and in fact your rice will probably be better this way. I'm not telling you that you'll achieve to cook perfect japanese rice on the first try though... ^^p
The process is somewhat tricky, so just read and follow the many tutorials you can find on the net (it's a very different method than with long grain rice) and try it out ! After some time you'll get the hang of it. ^^

So you don't exactly really need a rice cooker... but it can come in handy for sure.
(just an advice : everytime my rice was gooey, it was either because 1) I added too much water 2) the heat was too high 3) I didn't let the rice have a proper 10 mns rest after cooking or stirred it.)

maki
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Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

My rule of thumb with any appliance is:

- will I use it enough, and will it save me enough time, to justify not only the expense, but the space it takes up?

(And by appliances, I include things like cars, lawn mowers, clothes dryers, dishwashers and so on too btw.)

I use this to judge any appliance purchase. This is why I don't have for example, a stand mixer (i.e. KitchenAid) even though it's like considered OMG Must Have Are You Kidding by many food bloggers. I use a small electric hand mixer for whipping, a food processor for most mixing tasks, and heck, I enjoy kneading bread by hand.

Now based on these criteria, I do have a rice cooker (one that would cost around $120 these days I think, not the fanciest of models). I make rice and other grains in it often enough, and it's one less thing to 'mind' when cooking, that it is totally worth it. It is truly a set it and forget it appliance.

But again, it is entirely up to you, and what your life, budget, etc. are like.

____________________________________

The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

neveth
Bento-ing from: Richardson › Texas › USA
Joined: 8 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 25 weeks ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Thanks for the advice everybody! I'll give pot-cooking another go, and we'll see!

ange
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

mmm...I was going to say one thing, that I don't think anyone else said. If you're using a rice cooker, then it's important that when the switch comes up that you fluff the rice with a rice paddle or a wooden spoon if you don't have one, and put the lid back on for another 10 minutes.

Also, it's different to cook short and long-grained rice. Rice cookers will provide instructions usually only for short-grain rice, but if you do a quick search (google!) then you can easily find how to adjust the water for long-grain.

At my house we have the zojirushi 10-cup rice cooker with the really basic switch and it cooks rice perfectly every time. :) It just makes things a little simpler, since the rice cooker has a non-stick coating and makes for easy clean-up.

anon.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)
ange wrote:

At my house we have the zojirushi 10-cup rice cooker with the really basic switch and it cooks rice perfectly every time. :) It just makes things a little simpler, since the rice cooker has a non-stick coating and makes for easy clean-up.

We have this one as well... it was super cheap and cooks the rice perfect every time, even if I just make a little bit.

ange
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Also, another technique when cooking rice in a pot is instead of putting the lid on, use a clean dishtowel...it works better.

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I take it you mean to do this in the resting phase, after it's cooked? If you did it during the cooking all the water would evaporate instead of steaming the rice.

ange
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Yeah. When using the rice cooker I've just used a dishtowel during the entire process and it's fine, but I know they usually say to use it after you fluff the rice and let it sit for the additional 10 minutes instead of putting the lid back on.

Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I recently got my hubby a Zojirushi 10 cup rice maker for his birthday and I absolutely adore it for a number of reasons:
1.) It gets him to cook :P
2.) It makes perfect rice every darn time
3.) Timer and Keep Warm
4.) You can make more than just rice in it - see this cookbook

Necessary? No. Is it worth the money I put into it? Every penny. You CAN make excellent rice in a cooking pot - I've found that thoroughly washed rice is key - but if you're a busy twenty-something like myself that likes the idea of a warm bowl of fluffy rice waiting for you when you get home from a long day at work, it's certainly worth looking into.

Gen
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
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Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Hi!

Ich also have a 5-cup rice cooker. And I really love it. It's totally useful if I want to make japanese style rice.
It's an ordinary European one, which is only able to cook and to keep the rice warm. My first tries also ended in watery rice. So I now put in less water than recommended in and after the cooking time is over I stir the rice, shut the lid again and let the rice rest for another ten minutes. I'm very satisfied with the outcome now :)
A small amout still sticks to the bottom, but ich like this crunchy crust ;D

Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

i'm a korean living in denmark and the only rice cooker i could find in copenhagen was a one-button with only two functions; warm and cook. however, my fiance and i have been making lots of sushi and korean food at home (which obviously require rice) and everything has been turning out just fine. if the rice looks a little dry immediately after cooking, just let it sit for 5-10 minutes as others have mentioned. of course in california my mom and dad have a huge zojirushi with 10+ different settings and all the bells and whistles. it even sings when the rice is done, lol!

Aileth
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I work at a Japanese restaurant and they DO NOT use a rice cooker. They have one but that's just to keep rice warm for when you need it. The rice is cooked in a pot (by a japanese guy) and turns out fine. You just have to be careful to find the right timing so it won't get gooey nor too dry.

Susan
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I think the answer is...yes! I caved in and bought an expensive fuzzy logic rice cooker for a 2 person household. It definitely is worth it! Makes the perfect rice, is convenient and I can set the timer to cook rice when I want. Besides, the good ones last a long time. My only regret is not getting the smaller 3 cup cooker. Caved in to the 5 cup cooker but it still works great cooking just 2 cups of rice. 3 cup cooker would have been better in my small NYC apartment.

I don't freeze rice but thinking that since you do, you'd want a nice 5 cup rice cooker?

S.

Daniel
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

A good rice cooker will save you time and money in the long run, so if you eat rice often enough I'd say it is worth it. I too started out with one of those steamers/rice cookers and quickly realized it was just about worthless. Yes, it makes rice, but its geared towards cooking long grain rice. If you are making short or medium grain rice, you really should get a fuzzy logic model. There are a couple of brands out there. I bought my sister a giant "family size" Zojirushi model some years back and she says its still working great and does an excellent job. That particular brand seems to be rather expensive though. I have a National brand 3 cup model which is actually made by Panasonic. I love it! You can make as little as 1 cup of rice (enough for one person meal) and increments up by the half cup.

The way I see it, the $90 that I paid for it was well worth it because now I can cook rice quickly and more frequently, which means I prepare my own meals more so I save money, eat healthier, and can justify buying rice in bulk further saving money. Now, I paid the $90 at a large Japanese supermarket chain in the NYC metro area about 7 or 8 years ago. A quick search for similar models on Amazon has a good price and you can probably do even better now as new features are available. Just be sure to stay away from anything that calls itself a steamer!

Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

We have the zojirushi 10-cup rice cooker also, it was super cheap and makes perfect rice every time whether I make a little or a lot!

Eris
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

After I lost access to my ex's Zojirushi rice cooker, I picked up a $10 3-cup rice cooker from the Walgreen's or some other store's website. They might even have them in some stores. It works perfectly to cook rice, and if you make a lot of rice, I find it VERY worth the money.

That being said, I splurged and bought a $140 Sanyo rice cooker/ slow cooker combination last year because I really wanted the timer options and the non-stick pot. And I cook a lot of Japanese-style rice compared to most people. I am super happy with it, but I wouldn't have gotten it without the government checks last year.

Now, for about $30, maybe less, you can pick up a single setting rice cooker with a nonstick pot.

Good luck!

MizzBee13
Bento-ing from: Vista, CA › California › USA
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
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Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Hi,

I have had a miniature rice cooker for about 10 years which only made 3 cups. Albeit it had an aluminum pot and when I started to hear about the Aluminum being bad and all (Alzheimers) I didn't want to eat out of that anymore (health and so on especially for my child). Also I have become much more health and budget conscious in the last few years it has always bugged me that I don't have a timer so I can have the rice ready in the morning to put in my daughter's and my Bento. So, I saved money for about 5 months (yep, dirtpoor here too) and bought the Zojirushi NP-HBC10 which is a 5 Cup Induction Rice Cooker with a Stainless Steel pot. Yes, it has Non Stick Interior but researching it told me that as long as the surface is unscratched one shouldn't fear non-stick too much (no super panic needed). I am a changed woman. Not only is it fancy to boot (which I wouldn't care about) but it makes rice like I have never had before. (and yes, I know how to make rice on the stove too). It has the timer, it has Brown Rice Setting, GABA setting (supposedly healthier rice where the germ has been sprouted. That's what we eat all the time), sweet rice, porridge setting and of course regular white. I use it for oatmeal regularly too. Quite honestly, it has changed the way I cook, I eat even better and I am less stressed. I only make rice for 2 people too by the way. If you want to know if I am just making stuff sound good, go to Amazon and research this rice cooker. It is as good as I say it is. I make my Onigiri with the GABA brown rice and it's an absolute treat! Hope this helps :o)

____________________________________

Mizz Bee

neveth
Bento-ing from: Richardson › Texas › USA
Joined: 8 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 25 weeks ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Still having bad luck with stovetop rice, but it's not nearly as bad as it was! I think I'll save up over the next month or so and see if I've got enough for a nice one then. I wouldn't care as much, but now that I actually HAVE a job to take my bentos too, it would be nice to have properly sticky onigiri!

Loretta
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Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

neveth, I'm rather concerned now.

There's a lot of conflicting advice in this thread about how rice should be cooked (and some comes from me, sorry about that.)

Are you trying Maki's method for making rice?
http://www.justhungry.com/2003/11/japanese_basics_1.html

Rice forms such an important corner stone of Japanese cooking I'm sure Maki would be happy to trouble shoot for you so that you can make your way through these difficulties and come out with perfect rice.

Just for starters, I'd certainly be interested to know exactly which kind/brand you are using.

And I confess here that I've been making rice in all kinds of kitchens all these years, many times I've only had two stove hobs, both electric, where the temperature can't be easily controlled (takes an age to warm up, takes even longer to cool down) and yet it's still perfectly possible to make good rice with them.

Whatever your 'bad luck' is, I promise you that it can be fixed. Even if you do end up getting a rice cooker (and they don't guarantee good results, not all of them work very well) it's worth acquiring this fundamental skill.

In the meantime, Tony submitted a query about making rice as he was having difficulty. The query was made on the 22 January, 1:05 and can be seen on this page.
http://www.justhungry.com/2003/11/japanese_basics_1.html
Maki had a good response for this. (I also responded, but my method won't give you the very best results, although it does work I'd advise you not to try it until you've exhausted other options)

Please don't give up just yet!

neveth
Bento-ing from: Richardson › Texas › USA
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Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Electric hob here, and crappy apartment ones at that! (not a single one of them is level, I swear. Or flat.)

I am willing at this point to blame the rice I bought - it's a different brand than I had used before, and while the old brand I had some success with, this new stuff is no.

I admit to skipping or shortening steps in the rice-making process, mostly because I don't have TIME. I can see how it would likely work just fine, but I don't usually have 30-60 minutes to make rice, even if I am cooking other stuff besides. It's rare that dinners take more than 20 minutes, just because we're both starving by the time the work day is done.

Ai
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

As a busy 20-something, the rice cooker you are using is just fine. I'm Chinese and grew up in Malaysia. There has never not been a rice cooker in the house.

Make sure you are following water ratios for your Japanese rice. It takes less water than Jasmine/Basmati rice, and you may need to experiment.

A 10-cup cooker _is_ a bit much. I'm single, so a 3-cup cooker serves me well, but my family at home has a 5-6 cup cooker, and there are 5 of us, plus we like to make rice once and then use it for the entire day. Luckily, because you don't need a fuzzy logic cooker, a new (and smaller) cooker shouldn't be expensive.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw_2_11?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&fiel...
The cheapest cooker there is less than $20!

Don't throw away your 10-cup one-touch cooker! You can use it as a slow cooker if you can find something that cooks in the same amount (ish) of time. Especially if you have a non-stick rice pot--have you ever tried chicken rice by putting the chicken in on top of the rice?

nicole
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
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Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I have a cheap one-setting rice cooker, and I've been using it for at least 12 years.

I would suggest following Maki's instructions for making rice, first of all, and then her instructions for freezing rice. This way, you can have the convenience and savings of your current rice cooker.

____________________________________

My flickr photostream: http://flickr.com/photos/astrogirl

All my bentos appear on flickr, but not all on my blog, which is here: http://astrogirl.com

WaffleGirl
Bento-ing from: Melbourne › Australia
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Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I have to admit, I am full of rice cooker love. The only time I do stove-top is when I need to make mega amounts!

However, you could always try microwave rice? I've done it in your run of the mill microwave safe container, but places like J-List sell various types of microwave rice steamers - maybe that's a good compromise?

Good luck in your rice making journey!

=)

eilismaura
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 12 weeks ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I generally microwave rice and it comes out lovely! I use the Pasta N More.

http://pastanmore.com/

I also have rice cookers (two different sizes) and I plan to learn how to cook more things in it. Then when I want just plain sticky rice I will stick with the microwave.

Eilish

____________________________________

~ Begin by knowing you have already arrived ~
my blog - http://honeysheistwisted.blogspot.com/

anon.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

My mother cooked rice in a heavy pot on the stove, and we always had to watch for the boiling point. Her sushi rice had to be cooked this way. But I use a rice cooker now that I have to do the cooking, and like the way you can also steam vegetable or make kogai gohan with it so easily.
But - just wanted to let you know about using the microwave to cook rice. There was an article recently about just this, using a 2 quart Pyrex measuring cup!
Here are some links found by Google --
http://www.wikihow.com/Cook-Rice-in-a-Microwave
http://www.starbulletin.com/features/090304_Microwaved_rice_cuts_back_ki...

Annie
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I don't think anyone -needs- one really. But you don't have to spend that much to get a good one. My best friend and I both have a Black and Decker 16 cup (8 cups dry) rice cooker from Wal-Mart and it was only $20. And it's amazing, we both love it and have told our other friends to get that one when the subject comes up. It makes any kind of rice, and has a steamer basket I've used to make Maki's pork bun recipe. I love it most because the inner bowl comes out and it's much easier to wash than my boiling pan, which I almost always have to scrub. I've had it 3 years and use it almost every day.

irugnotmis
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

bake it! after tinkering with the amount of water, time, and amount of rice, baking it actually yielded better results than when I cooked it in a pot.

dorayaki
Bento-ing from: Wellington › New Zealand
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 10 weeks ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I love my rice cooker, I bought it after ruining a perfectly good pot cooking rice after having had a couple of glasses of red wine. It does the job, but the nonstickedness is starting to come off a bit and it doesn't have a timer. I'd love for there to be rice in the morning already cooked for breakfast and lunch.

I'm currently in love with this, which is the closest I have seen in New Zealand to the rice cooker I had back in Japan. http://www.breville.com.au/products_detail.asp?prod=325

____________________________________

My Japanese/bento blog:
http://undefeatedbykanji.blogspot.com/

Scott
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I spent $230 on a rice cooker -- the Zojirushi NH-VBC18 -- and even though everyone in my life has made fun of me for it, I absolutely do not regret it. It makes perfect rice, even if I'm just making 3/4 cup, and cleanup is basically rinsing it out with a soft cloth and some soap. Brown rice is as good as I've had it. Plus I can set it before I go to work. Simply a great appliance.

MB
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I feel a bit silly because my family and my roommate's family only use rice cookers and never pot cook rice (if it's helpful, my family is American and my roommate is a first generation Taiwanese). My mom gave me her cooker, and when that died, I bought my own at Target for what I thought was a fairly reasonable price, and it does its job well. My roommate and I are actually so reliant on our rice cookers that we're a bit hesitant to try and cook rice any other way.

But I think that shows that rice is central to our diet, so if you eat or plan on eating rice on a daily basis or even several times a week, it's worth having an appliance specifically for that task. It's exceptionally nice when it frees up that extra stove burner when you're making side dishes, or even just the items necessary for fried rice (and also when you have roommates and they can use the extra burner). I also do a lot of big dinners for my friends, so my 8 cup cooker is useful.

Both she and I have multi-cup makers and we do make excess rice so we can make rice balls or fried rice for the next day. When we weren't living together, I typically stored mine and only brought it out when I intended to make rice, thus it cleared counter space for me (however, my family typically puts most of our small appliances away, like the toaster, except for the coffee maker, so it's habitual for me). She always keeps hers out because she makes rice on a near daily basis.

Just be sure that you treat your cooker nice! My roommate's previous roommate took to scooping out rice with a metal spoon and it wrecked the bottom of her pot!

yoko
Joined: 1 Nov 2007
User offline. Last seen 2 years 33 weeks ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I used to own a simple, one-button press rice cooker, which never gave me any problems in cooking rice. I gave it up because I hated cleaning it. I would forget to soak the cooking bowl, and I'd have to chisel the hardened rice out. So I opted to buy a more expensive cooker that has a timer and is non-stick. I use my rice cooker almost every day, so it's worth it to me to have.

That said, I do occasionally cook rice in a pot, and as many of the commenters have said previously, it is possible to make good rice this way. Maybe you can tell us, step by step, what you're doing, and collectively, we can try to figure out what's going on?

Alternatively, if you're not opposed to microwave cooking, there are rice steamers that you can use in the microwave for about $20 that work really well. Maybe look into these?

anon.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

My partner came with a 10 cup induction rice cooker, and several christmases ago we were living separately, so I got a 3.5 cup Sanyo model. It has a sturdy pot and never burnt the rice but as it wasn't induction heat, it's been relegated to the closet for at least a year now when we merged. It was around $100 new, if you'd consider about $55-60 including shipping I'd love to find it a happy home! Probably used a couple dozen times or less, so plenty of happy meals left!
think its a ECJ-E35S judging by pics
hope you can see my email as the host!

anon.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Yes, you do. Try Costco, pretty good ones for $30-35.

Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

We've owned plenty of large, bell-ringer rice cookers in time: Panasonic, Tiger, Zojirushi. The reasoning because we eat rice at every single meal. However, over time my rice eating habits have been adopted by some of my non-Asian friends who don't eat as much of it as I do, and they have been very happy with the little one-button, inexpensive rice cookers you find at Walmart or Amazon.

If you eat it more than once a week, I would suggest getting a cooker. (Unless you've got lots of room in your freezer and wouldn't mind cooking and freezing large batches). If you're short on counterspace, I'd even recommend the steamer/rice cooker for the microwave as the other poster pointed out. But if you want to go full out, I'd stick with the little one-button 3 cup machines like Panasonic has out on Amazon.com for around 19 dollars. It's what my best friend and my dad has, and I personally can't say there's much of a difference between it and my expensive Zojirushi. In fact, once my Zojirushi kicks the bucket, I plan on getting one of them myself.

Basil
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I really can't say much about not having a rice cooker--I have two that I use for different reasons and with different frequencies. On the other hand, I did make rice in a pot for a number of years, and it was only out of sheer laziness that I got my first rice cooker in the first place. I will never go back to not having one, because I find them just that simple and it makes cooking easier for me, as I have one less pot to keep track of.

A simple on-off style cooker can normally be found for about $20, and if you're used to having nothing of the sort, is a great place to start. My new machine is a fuzzy logic pot, and I mostly love it because it has a timer for good morning breakfast rice and will keep it warm until I get home for dinner. But that's about the extent of the fuzzy logic love. Seriously, you don't *need* fuzzy logic to have good rice out of a rice cooker.

But the ability to make good rice in a pot on the stove? Priceless. I occasionally make rice in settings without rice cookers and it's knowledge I'm glad I have.

Good luck on your rice cooker quest!

SewingDiva
Bento-ing from: Westwood › Massachusetts › USA
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User offline. Last seen 4 years 52 weeks ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

We also don't have one, although we do have really great Thermador electric cooktop, and I think that contributes to our sucessful rice. We get perfect basmati and brown rice, but I have much less experience with Japanese rice and I'm still in my rookie sticky-burned-layer-on-the-bottom-of-the-pot phase.

I think different types of rice cook in very different ways, and a rice cooker takes some of the guesswork out of this. That might be a good thing!

____________________________________

Phyllis

maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 2 days 6 hours ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

(sorry about the delay in approving anonymous comments. I was on the road all day yesterday and couldn't get online last night. Remember you can always register on the site to have wait-free-comment-posting ^_^)

Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I love my rice cooker!!!!! I can't imagine my life without it. I set the timer on it before I go to work and when I get home the most time consuming part of my making dinner is done (my rice cooker is 50 mins).

When I first moved to Japan I didn't have a yen to my name. Someone gave me a great piece of advice to survive my first couple of months. "Get a big bag of rice and get a rice cooker". I may have been poor, but there was always something to fill my belly with.

I will definitely upgrade to a fancy copper pot rice cooker before I leave Japan. After 5 years in Japan... I can tell the difference between good and bad rice.

Get a rice cooker!!!!It is well worth the 80 bucks. Cheaper is OK for your 1st rice cooker buying experience. You can always upgrade when you have more money or a bigger family.

Good Luck!

Kiana
Bento-ing from: van nuys › California › USA
Joined: 3 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Well no not actually, you dont need a rice cooker but it is much easier to own one. i have the simple type, the one u push down and pops up when done and it works for me perfectly.

rie
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Actually I have a cheap 10 cup rice cooker with a basic switch, that I got from the supermarket in the chinatown district. It does the job. You just have to make sure to put in the right proportion of rice and water. For japonica rice it's 1.5 cups water to 1 cup rice. You might have to experiment abit, but I've not had problems with that mix. I've been cooking smaller portions in this cooker too with no problems. If you are having soggy rice, fluff and let it stand for a bit so some steam can evaporate, and the rice will come up just right.

Personally I prefer rice cookers to actual pot types because that way you're pretty much guaranteed decent rice when the switch goes off, and no burning too. And the pot is easier to clean... =) Hope that helps!

rie
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Actually I have a cheap 10 cup rice cooker with a basic switch, that I got from the supermarket in the chinatown district. It does the job. You just have to make sure to put in the right proportion of rice and water. For japonica rice it's 1.5 cups water to 1 cup rice. You might have to experiment abit, but I've not had problems with that mix. I've been cooking smaller portions in this cooker too with no problems. If you are having soggy rice, fluff and let it stand for a bit so some steam can evaporate, and the rice will come up just right.

Personally I prefer rice cookers to actual pot types because that way you're pretty much guaranteed decent rice when the switch goes off, and no burning too. And the pot is easier to clean, and you can do porridge/rice with mixed ingredients etc easily... =) Hope that helps!

Alternatively, if you want a seriously budget style rice cooker, I've tried using those 3 cup microwave rice cookers that you can get from Target etc. They work pretty well too. I usually zap the rice for about 15 min.

Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

Ok, I've had the same rice cooker since college (16 years going). It's a simple 6 cu rice cooker (you never fill it to six it over flows) with a simple 1 button push. It had a steamer insert and has served me well over the years. The simple one button has yet to over or under cook rice for me (despite the many types, brown, black, white, basmati, glutinous, long grain, short grain you name it). My mom's method of the measuring water by water level to her had somehow magically works for me.

I love this thing, it's probably one of the best tools in my kitchen. I use to to make all sorts of things you wouldn't expect (chawan mushi anyone?). I use it for one pot meals (steamer). I like using the steamer insert to cook the meat/fish/chicken while the rice is cooking, it infuses the rice with some yummy flavors. I've even used it as a warming vessel for something I needed to keep moist and warm.

Best part of this little doo hickey was it only cost me like $10, for a kid going to college that was awesome and I know these one push button models are still cheap. My mom has recently gotten one of the fancy rice cookers (to replace one that was 25 years old) but has not yet used any of the new features.

Best of Luck!

Rhonda
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

The Okinawan ladies I worked with sometimes used the microwave in a pinch. They washed their rice, and used about a 2:1 ration of water to rice. They put the rice and water in a covered casserole about twice the size of the amount of water they used (i.e. 2 cups water and 1 cup rice went into at the VERY SMALLEST a 4 cup dish) and nuked it. I don't have a set time because it varies according to different things - size of dish, amount of rice, wattage of microwave etc. My first attempt went like this: measure water and rice into covered casserole. Set microwave for 10 minutes. Go do something else. Come back to see rice water boiling all over the microwave. Clean up microwave and counter. Taste rice. Still too hard - so add 5 more minutes. Pick crunchy piece of rice out of molar while waiting. (al dente rice - blech!) Come back in 5 minutes - smells like rice, looks like rice - voila! it IS rice! I'm sure there is a time table and a real method for this somewhere - just wanted to toss this option out there as well. I personally love my rice cooker, but we eat rice about 5 times a week.

Johann Redenbacher
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I had one of those cheap "Rival" brand cookers that I never got the hang of. It had that little vent hole in the glass lid that would spit and spray starchy water all over the counter like some ghoul from "Ghostbusters". I discovered "boil in bag" almost-instant rice which is good enough for curry, but then I found out I could make rice in my little electric pressure cooker.
Very nice! The rice it gives me is just perfect for making Spam Musubi.
And it's quick, too!

Angry-Onigiri
Bento-ing from: Pittsburgh › Pennsylvania › USA
Joined: 16 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 31 weeks ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I'm also one of those lowly 20-something year olds and I actually have one of those cheap two setting rice cookers and mine works just fine for both long grain and short grain rice. What I do to avoid the burnt parts at the bottom is just shut it off the second it's done and at the end of the 10-15 min cool down time I find almost no discoloration at the bottom, minimal if any. I have cooked rice in both a pot and in the rice cooker But since I eat rice almost everyday and always make more then I need to put into the freezer, the rice cooker was a better choice for me...But I wish I had one of those huge 10 cup rice cookers with all the buttons like my mom pulls out only for parties!!

cricri
Bento-ing from: Los Angeles › California › USA
Joined: 16 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 29 weeks ago.
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I have a very small one setting rice cooker and it works wonders, it's just a matter of putting enough water to make the rice sticky. After having it the only advantage the very expensive ones would have would be a time setter; asides that it's a waste of money.

Pat
Re: Rice cooker help(do I really need one?)

I'd recommend it if you cook rice at least 3 times a week, or simply would rather spend time on accompanying dishes. I have Tiger brand 3-cup capacity with basic cook/warm settings. It wasn't cheap when I got it 10 years ago for US$90, and I'm waiting for it to break down so I can get the kind w/ timer and brown rice functions. The cheaper kinds w/ glass lid that run from $20-30 will work fine, but I think it takes longer to cook because it doesn't pressurize the pot as well as the pricey kind.

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