Why Some Rice Cookers Are $ 20 and Others $ 200

I grew up on a standard cheap rice cooker my mom bought at the grocery store. As an adult buying my own stove, I was surprised at how many options there are to choose from and how expensive they can be. Cooking rice is a fairly simple task, but what about the super-expensive cookers? Here’s what I found.

Why do you need a rice cooker at all

Before asking why you need an expensive rice cooker, you can ask why you need a rice cooker, period.

As a child, we never cooked rice on the stove, and, unfortunately, until recently, I did not even know how to do it. Cooking rice on the stove isn’t that hard, but I’ve messed up a few times. I burned it. I made it too soft. On the other hand, a rice cooker always cooks perfect rice. All you need to do is add the rice, measure out the water and press the Start button.

A typical rice cooker has a built-in thermostat that monitors the temperature in the pot. The water starts to boil and steam, and as soon as the thermostat reaches a certain temperature, the heating is reduced and the device shuts off (or switches to Warm mode).

The fact that I haven’t been able to cook rice on the stove in years is a testament to how effective the rice cooker really is (and also how lazy I am at cooks). If you make a lot of rice and want to save time and effort, this is a good enough reason to buy it, and even a cheap one will work. You can also prepare all sorts of other fun food in the rice cooker, so this is hardly the only task.

Difference between a $ 20 and $ 200 car

Two words separate the $ 20 rice cookers from $ 200: fuzzy logic.

Fuzzy logic rice cookers are equipped with fancy automatic technology that allows you to cook rice with a little more nuance. The theory of fuzzy logic was presented by the professor at the University of California at Berkeley Lotfi Zadeh in 1965. The New York Times explains how it works in terms of technology :

“Fuzzy logic” is a way of describing situations that cannot be described in absolute terms: yes or no, true or false, white rice or brown. Fuzzy logic is used in automated technologies that must identify and regulate various factors such as mixing cement (depends on moisture) and changing traffic lights (depends on traffic). In rice cookers, using fuzzy logic, you can take into account the type of grain, its age and hardness, as well as the desired consistency. Chefs who often cook rice that work with different grains and have countertop space will not be disappointed with the performance of these machines.

In other words, these $ 200 machines are equipped with rice cooking technology optimized for sushi, porridge, etc. It can also regulate the cooking of different types of rice. The microchip of the device adjusts the cooking time and temperature accordingly.

For example, here’s a product description of the popular brand Zojirushi:

This 5-1 / 2 cup rice cooker and warmer allows you to cook 10 cups of cooked rice and includes many cooking functions including white (regular / sushi, softer or harder), mixed rice, porridge, sweet, semi-brown, brown, no rinsing and instant cooking. This appliance uses a thick black spherical pan with side cooling handles that heat evenly for better cooking. There is a programmable melody or beep to indicate the end of the cooking cycle.

It is a bit of a cheap hand mixer when compared to the trendy stand mixer. They both mix different things, but a stand mixer will do a lot more. Of course, there are different quality levels of stand mixers, just like rice cookers.

Our editor-in-chief Alan Henry owns and supports one of them.

The promises are real. Put medium grain jasmine or basmati rice in it instead of short grain sushi rice and it cooks both great and I really don’t need to do anything other than measuring the water.

In fact, the machine also compensates for any human error:

Maybe I reduce the amount of water or add more water, thinking that I can change the consistency on my own. No, the machine is smarter than me, it adjusts the temperature accordingly and produces uniform rice. Okay, but maybe I want to make some rice porridge or a decoction or something. There is a button for this on the front.

If you often make different types of rice, grain or oats, a higher quality and more expensive model will make your job much easier.

Choosing the right plate for the job

Whichever route you choose, you must choose a machine that is the right size for the job. Here are some basic guidelines for sizing :

  • Small : 3-4 cups
  • Medium : 5-6 cups
  • Large : 8-10 cups
  • Jumbo : 14+ cups

If you have a small family – just you and perhaps your significant other – you probably just need a small one. If you have a family or are doing large parties at once, you may need a medium one. Of course, this depends on your individual needs, but these dimensions are indicative only. Besides size, there are a few basic features that even a cheap model should have :

  • Keep warm button
  • Removable non-stick coated container.
  • One touch

Most also have a steamer for steaming vegetables, as well as a serving spatula and cookbook. Fancy fuzzy rice cookers should be equipped with a sound timer, different settings for rice and grain, and of course, they should be easy to use: just press a button and you’re done. Most of them also have an advanced “keep warm” function, which heats the rice for more than twelve hours.

Some fuzzy rice cookers will have even more features, making them even more expensive: reheat cycle, higher cup capacity, settings for brown rice, and so on. Like everything else, these features are only worth it if you’re going to use them, and they can turn an already expensive $ 200 model into a more expensive $ 300 model.

There are also brands to consider. Zojirushi seems risovarschikam the same things KitchenAid – desktop mixers: it is the most popular brand, because it is a good job with his work, but there are cheaper alternatives. Rosewill and Panasonic also make fuzzy rice cookers, and while their ratings aren’t as high as Zojirushi’s , they are cheaper.

There are also intermediate options. Cooks Illustrated , for example, tested many different models and brands and Aroma was their top choice. It doesn’t have as many functions as Zojirushi, but it does have options for brown rice, white rice, and steam.

And here’s one thing to keep in mind when using Japanese rice cookers: A traditional Japanese-style measuring cup is 3/4 US cup . So remember to adjust accordingly, or better yet, for traditional rice, use the first joint method .


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