Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rice Cooker #1

It uses fuzzy logic! And it makes rice! How could I avoid owning what many others already have... a rice cooker. I have tried many ways to make rice, and until I bought the Zojirushi NS-ZCC18 at Zabar's, I always had rice maker envy. So last week I trudged up to the Mezzanine and looked at the numerous machines that Zabar's has in stock.

Rice cookers come in all shapes, sizes and prices. The simplest machines have little more than an on and off switch. I, of course, wanted something more complicated. More advanced rice makers make many different kinds of rice and are also usable as a rice "crock pot" to make rice based recipes. Zojirushi, the industry leader, has several models with built in microprocessors that use "fuzzy logic" to help them best determine when the rice is ready.

Two Zojirushi 10 cup rice makers were available at Zabar's with "fuzzy logic." The salesman who helped me was very pleasant, but could not explain why one of these models cost $50 more than the other one. Since I had no idea I bought the cheaper one. The more expensive model is the NH-VBC18 model. So I bought mine, the aforementioned NS-ZCC18, for less than it cost on Amazon!

Not spending the money was probably a good idea, too. The higher priced model has two added features. First, it heats the rice using induction heating, which theoretically provides perfectly even heat throughout the cooking bowl. It also makes up for measuring errors. Given that even the simplest cookers do a fine job at making rice, and that measuring rice is not that hard, this seemed like a bit of overkill. The second feature is the ability to make "GABA brown rice." This is not some strange Franken-rice, as I originally thought. In fact, the machine preheats regular brown rice to 104 degrees for two hours prior to cooking. This releases more GABA, a neuropeptide that is also found in brown rice and is supposed to have all kinds of wonderful effects on the kidneys and blood pressure. My professional opinion: BS.

I have made several batches of rice. After a bit of experimentation I can now make perfect white rice. It also keeps for hours. The manufacturer suggests not going past 13 hours, but rice made Friday tasted great for breakfast on Sunday! After this my wife made me throw it out.

Hopefully, I will have more to say about the things you can do with this machine as I use it more.


debs said...

rice cooker? that's just crazy talk.
i cook rice everyday (well almost,i sometimes eat the fabulous salt free plain rice crackers, which are extremely addictive) and i gotta say all you need is a great pot and lid. i'm all for gadgets but but cooking rice is easy. male martha, i hate to say it but rice cookers make an easy task more difficult.
p.s. this posting has nothing to do with free rounds of drinks

Ira.B said...

Oh, how wrong you are debs. Please note that even the plainest rice is easier to make with a rice cooker. And you can have ready for you when you come home. The cleanup is easy, too. More on this later.