Product Inspirations –
Automatic Rice Cooker & Warmer (NS-RPC10/18)

You know about our microcomputer-controlled rice cookers, but did you also know that we have a great line of conventional rice cookers, too?

Our new Automatic Rice Cooker & Warmer (NS-RPC10/18) adds style, ease and function to any kitchen – with great features and amazing ease of use.

This rice cooker comes in two capacities, either 5.5 cups or 10 cups, which are ideal for making small to large batches of rice. It also comes in two lovely finishes – Tulip and Metallic Gray – that coordinate with almost any kitchen decor.

The rice cooker is simple to use. It features a one-touch operation that starts cooking rice immediately. Simply wash the rice and presoak it for the desired amount of time, and then push on the switch to activate the rice cooker.

The triple heater is built into the bottom, side and lid of the rice cooker, and generates uniform heat all around the nonstick inner cooking pan, cooking the rice at an ideal temperature so that it’s fluffy when done. Once the water in the inner cooking pan is absorbed by the rice, the rice cooker switches to Keep Warm mode, indicated with an illuminated light, keeping the hot rice tasting fresh.

The best white rice is easy to make in this rice cooker. And that white rice can be used to make delicious dishes like Crisp Grilled Yaki-Onigiri and Hawaiian Loco Moco.

Along with its simplicity, this Automatic Rice Cooker features a convenient body style. The lid comes with a streamlined handle and can be opened with the push of a button. The hinge on the lid allows for convenient serving, and when closed, the lid snaps tight. The rice cooker features a dew collector, which traps condensation that collects when the lid is opened.

As with all of our products, cleaning and maintenance are simple. The inner lid and dew collector, as well as the nonstick coated inner cooking pan, can be removed and washed with mild detergent and warm water.

The unit comes with a detachable power cord, and accessories including a rice measuring cup, spatula and spatula holder. And these accessories make preparing rice super easy! Check out the steps to making great Japanese rice on our rice cooking tip page, and don’t forget to share how you make your rice at home. Just leave a comment below with your favorite tips!

Design Explained –
Our Half-Circle

Have you seen our half-circle?

It’s subtle. It’s small. It’s white. And it’s an ingenious feature that indicates whether the removable control plugs for our electric grills and griddles are inserted into the appliance properly.

While our rice cookers, water boilers and other electric products are controlled by onboard LCD panels and powered using power cords, our Gourmet Sizzler® electric griddles and indoor electric grills use a removable control plug that serves both functions: to provide power to the appliance and to manage the temperature setting. These high-powered control plugs conduct electricity efficiently to the appliances, allowing them to heat quickly at the temperature set using the control knob.

The control plugs are installed into the sides of the grills and griddles and “click” into place. On the release buttons located at the sides of the control plugs are white half-circles. And while they look cool, they actually serve as a safety feature. When the control plug is installed correctly into the appliance, the entire white area of the half-circle becomes visible. If it hasn’t clicked correctly into place, the half-circle is obscured.

Such a small smart design feature makes a big difference in safety. Zojirushi’s indoor grills and electric griddles are designed so they do not turn on unless all components are installed correctly. The drip tray not set properly? The control plug won’t go in. The control plug not inserted correctly or loose? Power won’t turn on. This way, no one gets burned or hurt by a heated, but improperly setup appliance.

You can see the white half-circle in action for our griddles at https://youtu.be/vOPPBUhBJ4g and https://youtu.be/tLQABng_ck8.

Have you noticed any other hidden smart design features in our products? Let us know below!

Happy Fall!

Seems like no matter how many polls you listen to, people have a different season of the year that they like best. Spring and Fall lead the others usually, probably because the weather is milder—and Fall fans are really into it because Halloween is so popular. These pumpkins look scary enough for Halloween, don’t they?

I took a couple of Zojirushi Stainless Mugs with me this month and took some random shots—hope you like them!

This is a local park near our house called Los Arboles, more popularly known as Rocketship Park. There are only a handful of these rocketship slides left in SoCal, mainly because cities are constantly in fear of being sued by parents whose children might get injured. Geez! What happened to kids being allowed to play like kids? Torrance tried to take this one down in the middle of the night, but residents protested so strongly, they were forced to set it up again; and today it’s a historic landmark. I’ve heard there’s another one somewhere in L.A. county, but they decided to cover it up with steel plates to prevent anyone from climbing in. Sheesh…I’m so glad ours is still standing.

 

My gym where I’ve actually kept up my New Year’s resolution to this day!

I’m such a wimp tho…

 

The reason getting in shape is hard—I’ve already confessed I have a weakness for donuts. These apple fritters are AMAZING from Randy’s Donuts®. Highly recommended.

The iconic donut sign outside. It’s been in so many movies and TV shows, the big donut is an L.A. icon. Randy’s is open 24/7 and the fritter is only $1.50; I’d say that’s pretty reasonable!

 

This is the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. We love coming out here on a weekend, to people watch, enjoy the street musicians and shop at one of the best outdoor malls in Los Angeles. My only complaint is the lack of independent specialty stores, which are becoming more rare everyday, being taken over by the big chain retailers. But that’s everywhere you go, right?

Cool dinosaur topiary sitting under colorful polka dots.

 

Slurp! Ready to dig into an icy shaved ice dessert, flavored with mango ice and melon balls—served in a melon bowl! This was every bit as good as it looks. Cheers to Oakobing down in Koreatown, L.A.

 

Pumpkin season has officially begun! But before you order your pumpkin spice latte, go visit a pumpkin patch—a real pumpkin patch. This is Tanaka Farms, a working farm in Irvine, CA located right off the freeway. It’s been years since I visited this place, and the last time was during strawberry season. I was surprised at how busy it’s gotten—with an expanded gift store, produce stand and farm tours; but they still haven’t lost their identity as a farm that serves the local community.

Tanaka Farms is privately owned by a 3rd generation Japanese-American family. It covers 30 acres and they grow over 60 varieties of fruits and vegetables year ‘round. Thank you Tanaka family, for keeping your amazing farm going so all of us can visit an authentic farm so conveniently close!

Happy October everyone!

All images by Bert Tanimoto, Ugly Pumpkins by @ironchefmom

 

 

 

Foreign Foods in Japan –
Hanbāgu!

“Haan-baa-ghu”.

It’s delicious. It’s uniquely Japanese. And it’s not a hamburger!

Hanbāgu!

Our Foreign Food this month is a delicious Japanized version of steak, with similarities to Salisbury Steak, Steak Tartare and the Hamburg steak from Germany. Hanbāgu is a ground meat patty made from beef and pork, served like a steak, topped with a sauce and typically accompanied by rice and vegetables. This type of chopped meat steak became popular in the United States in the late 1800s, when German immigrants from Hamburg came to live in American cities like Chicago and New York. They made a “steak” with chopped beef mixed with onions, garlic, salt and pepper and cooked until tender and juicy.

Eventually, these steak patties were adapted to be eaten between two pieces of bread, creating the modern American hamburger, and both the chopped beef steak and hamburger were brought to Japan during World War II with the influx of foreign soldiers into the country.

Hanbāgu patties

Hanbāgā evolved to become Japanese hamburgers – beef patties served with various toppings served in a bun. Hanbāgu evolved as a rich and savory steak dish, cooked by countless Japanese home cooks, becoming a favorite dish among children and adults.

Hanbāgu is made with a blend of beef and pork called aibiki. This mixture is commonly mixed at a ratio of 7:3 and is typically found prepackaged at Japanese stores. Into the meat are added sautéed onions, egg, panko breadcrumbs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. The mixture is mixed by hand into a gruel-like consistency and formed into patties. The Japanese technique of forming the patties adds a special touch to the meat. The patties are tossed back and forth in the hands, removing air pockets and then indented on the middle to foster even cooking. The patties are also rested in the refrigerator prior to cooking, allowing the slow absorption of flavor from the seasonings.

Pan frying some Hanbāgu!

Once the patties are ready to cook, they are pan fried, instead of grilled, similar to a steak. Red wine or another liquid can be added to the par-cooked patties, and they’re finished covered, having absorbed the liquid for extra flavor.

Traditionally, hanbāgu is served topped with a demi-glace sauce, but a red wine reduction or other savory sauce is also commonly served along with rice and vegetable accompaniments.

Mini Hanbāgu are perfect for bento!

Hanbāgu is such a cultural staple and easy to make using our electric skillets. Try our Mini Hamburger recipe for your bentos, and share your favorite way of enjoying hanbāgu!

Product Inspirations –
Mr. Bento® Stainless Lunch Jar!

Back to school, back to college, back to autumn routines with work and family and friends!

September is here and we’re excited to make creative meals that we can take to school and work in our Mr. Bento® Stainless Lunch Jar (SL-JBE14). Our Mr. Bento® as a lunch jar, is full of convenient features that allow you to customize your to-go meal experience.

SL-JBE with Carry Bag

This lunch jar has five main components: an Outer Container and four Inner Bowls. The Outer Container provides insulation for 2 of the Inner Bowls and is made using our superior vacuum insulation technology. As with our other stainless products, the vacuum insulation keeps the food inside the Inner Bowls hot or cold for hours.

The four Inner Bowls consist of a Soup Bowl that holds up to 9 oz., a Main Bowl that holds up to 15 oz., a Small Side Bowl that holds up to 7 oz. and a Large Side Bowl that holds up to 10 oz. In total, the bowls can hold up to 41 oz. of food!

The bowls are meant to be stacked in a particular order inside the Outer Container. The Soup Bowl rests at the bottom of the Outer Container. The Main Bowl sits on top of the Soup Bowl and comes with an insulated lid that prevents heat from transferring through, keeping the content of the two bottom bowls at ideal temperature. The two Side bowls sit on top of the Main Bowl, keeping food at room temperature.

Each bowl is microwaveable making it convenient to fill them ahead of time and reheat the food before putting them in the Outer Container. All areas that come into contact with foods are BPA-free.

Once all of the bowls have been placed correctly, the outer lid clips easily into place and keeps all bowls intact.

This lunch jar’s large capacity and multiple Inner Bowls allow you to pack inspired meals! A traditional Japanese ichiju sansai meal, which means “one soup, three dishes” fits perfectly into the Inner Bowls. Western dishes, such as soup, Pasta A’la Zo, salad and dessert also work great, and since September is National Bento Month, kyraben or character bento are ideal!

The Mr. Bento® comes in 4 stunning colors – Plum, Blueberry, Carbon Black and Stainless Steel –and comes with a Forked Spoon and a Carry Bag.

In 4 colors – Plum, Blueberry, Carbon Black and Stainless Steel

Add the Mr. Bento® Stainless Lunch Jar (SL-JBE14) to your lunch box collection and enjoy hot, fresh meals all season long. And be sure to share how you fill your lunch jar…we love the creative ideas you all have!