Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Zojirushi 6-Cup Rice Cooker and Steamer

Zojirushi 6-Cup Rice Cooker and SteamerI got this Zojirushi NHS-10 6-cup pot-style rice cooker a couple of years ago, mainly for efficiency while cooking other elements of the meal. The rice cooker itself may only perform really just one function at a time so you can't multitask with it. But since it frees up stove space and is so small and takes up little counter space, it does provide opportunities to multitask.

Ok, let's talk straight. An electric rice will be used most often by rice loving cultures for whom it is a daily staple food. So if you really love quality rice it makes little sense to buy a rice cooker designed by an American and produced by a US-based company. It makes even less sense to buy a knockoff of a quality model made in China, even though rice is a staple in China. The product to purchase is one created by people that use it each and every day. The world-famous Japanese company Toshiba developed the first electric rice cooker in 1956, so we know what country is the source and provides the standard of quality. The USA and China are mere imitators at best. Currently, I recommend you get a Japanese name-brand rice cooker manufactured somewhere other than mainland China. Some Japanese companies do manufacture products in China, but these are companies with less regard for strict quality control.

Different from most rice cookers on the market, my Zojirushi NHS-10 was built at a factory in Thailand. Certain Japanese companies that seek stricter quality control pay more in labor costs than they would pay in China, and get their appliances assembled in Malaysia or Thailand (from parts made in Japan). Sometimes there is a two tier system, with the cheaper units assembled in China and the higher quality units assembled in Southeast Asia, or even Japan. As for my Zojirushi that was built in Thailand, it has never had any problems with craftsmanship.

Some owners of this rice cooker complain of burnage at the bottom of the pan. If you are experiencing scorched rice at the bottom of the pot or rice that is too soft and that squishes together easily, you're cooking it too long. One way to alleviate the risk of overcooking is to try lowering the quanity of water just a little at a time. There are people who add a little bit of oil too, but for me that hasn't been necessary. Another complaint I have about the 'Neuri' or 'Fuzzy Logic' rice cookers is that the built-in battery goes dead unless you keep it constantly plugged into an outlet. This is fine for those who make rice every day and just leave the appliance sitting on the countertop, but I like storing our appliance in a kitchen cabinet. One other thing about the Neuro-Fuzzy Logic cookers is that some of them take as long as double the time to cook 1 or 2 cups of white rice, 40 minutes versus 20 with a regular rice cooker, and also have no steamer tray.

This 6-cup rice cooker is really, from the point of view of American consumers, a 4.6494-cup rice cooker, even though it is sold as a 6 cup cooker, because of different ways of measuring. But it's capacity is still enough for a family of 3 or 4. With a removable glass lid and removable rice pot and tray, the Zojirushi 6-cup NHS-10 is also quite a bit easier to clean than a rice cooker with an attached lid that you can't remove. A little hot water, soap, a light swipe with a soft cloth, and the cleaning is complete. No hassles.

At a retail value of $63 (but often sold online for a big discount), the NHS-10 6-Cup is a more affordable Zojirushi model that offers you a little less control and convenience but still gives you that amazing Zojirushi taste.

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