About Zojirushi America Corporation

Inspirations from Everyday Life.

Foreign Foods in Japan –
Japanese Curry!

“It seems that everyone in Japan loves curry.” These words from Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat are certainly true.

Here at Zojirushi, we’d argue that everyone who loves Japanese food loves Japanese curry! Our foreign food this month is the much loved Japanese curry, in its glorious, savory wet form.

Curry is not native to Japan. It was imported to the country a mere two centuries ago. And not, as you’d assume, by South Asians from India, where curry, or “kari”, originated. Indian curry is a blend of fresh spices and aromatics that are blended into gravies using tomatoes, cow’s milk, coconut milk, and other liquids. Indian curries are generally spicy and hot, full of chilis and cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger and other spices. Families in India carefully guard their own curry blends and pass them down generation to generation. During the centuries of the spice trade by the Dutch, Portuguese and British, curry transformed into a dry powder that was able to be transported by ship to Southeast Asia and China, the Caribbean and South Pacific, Africa, Europe and Japan.

Rakkyo

Because dry curry powder was imported into Japan by the British, it was originally considered a European food! And as it was transported ship-to-ship, sailors were the first ones to fully adapt Britishized Indian curry powder to Japanese tastes.

Japanese curry is made of many fewer ingredients – and in a much less complex way – than Indian curry. The base is made with a roux, or mix of curry powder, chili pepper, garam masala, butter and flour. Often, curry roux can be found in specialty Asian grocery stores. This roux is mixed with water until it reaches the consistency of a gravy, and to the gravy are added vegetables, beef, chicken, apples and less commonly, seafood. The entire mixture is eaten with cooked Japanese white rice and condiments such as fukujinzuke, or pickled radishes, pickled rakkyo, or Japanese scallions, or raisins. The spiciness of Japanese curry is quite mild compared with Indian and Southeast Asian curries, but hot chili oil can be added to increase the heat. The result is the popular karēraisu.

Fukujinzuke

While Japanese curry is easily found in restaurants, it is home-style cooking prepared for lunch at schools and at home for families. It is considered easy food for dinner, and one of the first dishes Japanese children learn to make.

One of our favorite recipes is Japanese Beef Curry. Our own secret recipe includes a touch of Worcestershire sauce for some savoriness and honey for sweetness. Paired with white rice made in one of our rice cookers, and it’s a perfect meal!

Have you tried Japanese curry? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!

Product Inspirations –
Stainless Bottle (SJ-TG08/10)

At Zojirushi, we’re all about designing that perfect vacuum insulated bottle, mug or tumbler, whether you’re taking your favorite beverage with you while you’re out or while you’re sitting at home or the office.

Our latest bottle – the Stainless Bottle (SJ-TG08/10) – is one of our most versatile. Its gorgeous sparkling stainless steel finish and sleek black lid and strap make it stylish. It works on the go, whether you’re outdoors, at work or traveling, and it’s packed with a host of features.

Along with the beautiful finish, this Stainless Bottle is made using Zojirushi’s superior vacuum insulation technology. The air between the outer and inner layers of the stainless steel is removed, so heat is blocked from transferring through the layers of steel, greatly minimizing the temperature change of your beverage. We even guarantee our vacuum insulation with a five year warranty on heat retention.

The extra-wide 2-inch opening makes it easy to fill, even with full-sized ice cubes, and the nonstick coated interior ensures that the bottle is simple to clean. Plus, all areas that come into contact with your beverage are BPA-free.

The bottle’s lid is one of our favorite features. The lid doubles as a standalone cup. You can take a hot drink with you, pour a cup when you’re ready, and keep the rest of the beverage fresh and ready to enjoy later. You can even use the lid to share your drink while maintaining hygiene. And the one-touch button on the stopper allows for smooth pouring through the spout. Imagine going to your favorite sporting event, and being able to not only bring your own sencha tea with you, but being able to sip it just like you would at home.

Because we know many of our customers would use the bottle for hot beverages, as well as cold ones, we’ve incorporated smart design features like a stopper gasket to prevent leaks, and a small taper below the opening of the bottle to indicate the maximum fill line. And the adjustable carrying strap makes it even more convenient.

This stainless bottle is made of high-quality 18/8 stainless steel and comes in two sizes – 27 oz. and 34 oz.

Check out this bottle to add to your collection, and as always, let us know how you use your favorite Zojirushi bottle!

Design Explained –
Our Easy-Release Magnetic Power Cord

Our Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillets (EP-RAC50 and EP-PBC10) and our water boilers are designed with a unique feature that keeps them powered up and safe: our magnetic power cord.

Magnetic power cords are ubiquitous when it comes to laptops, mobile devices and other tech products, but we’ve used these types of power cords in our products since 1982, when we introduced them in a new water boiler for the Japanese market.

Since then, we realized that adding magnetic power cords to most of our water boilers and electric skillets was the smart thing to do, because both of these categories of products tend to contain large amounts of heated liquid. Imagine if you walked by a full water boiler that was resting on a countertop, snagged your foot on the power cord, and toppled the water boiler over. The result would be quite scary. Same goes for our skillets, which are so convenient for cooking at the table. In the event of a snag by a foot or chair, the power cord would detach, preventing the skillet from being pulled from the table.

So convenient is this design that we even get phone calls from customers saying “My power cord is broken!” While the magnets that hold the power cord attached to the skillets or water boilers are strong, they’re made to detach easily. No tugging is required, making this design both smart and safe. As an added bonus, the magnet also makes the power cord easy to attach too!

Check out our water boilers, skillets and other great products in the Products section of our website, and be sure to comment with any questions you might have.

Foreign Foods in Japan –
Kasutera!

Cake is a universally loved food. It’s enjoyed when celebrating the most festive of occasions, with elaborate tiers, layers of filling, and decorative frosting. It can be enjoyed with a humble cup of perfectly brewed tea, and comes in a variety of shapes, flavors, and textures.

Perhaps one of the most favored types of cakes is the classic sponge cake. These cakes have an interesting history, and can be found in food cultures spanning across the globe in countries such as Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. The sponge cake, as we know it today, was thought to have been invented during the Renaissance by a chef named Giobatta Cabona. Giobatta Cabona worked for the Genovese Ambassador to Spain in the mid-1700s and Cabona created the cake for a formal banquet that the Ambassador was hosting for the Spanish delegation to Italy. He named his light and airy cake Pate Genoise, which was then named Pan di Spagna in honor of the Spanish Court. His Pan di Spagna became popular throughout Europe, and was thought to have been brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants who were afforded special trading privileges in the port of Dejima in Nagasaki in the 17th century. The Portuguese called this cake Pao de Castela, meaning “bread from Castile,” in Spain.

That classic sponge cake was Japanized into Kasutera sponge cake.

Kasutera Cake is made using flour, eggs, sugar, and honey. Unlike European and American sponge cakes, Kasutera Cake does not use any additional fat, such as butter or oil, and as such, requires a high-protein flour such as bread flour, which has a higher gluten content, to help it maintain its light and airy structure. The airiness comes from the way the eggs are combined with the sugar and beaten until the mixture is full of air and falls off the whisk in ribbons. The bounciness of the cake also comes from combining double-sifted flour into the egg and sugar mixture and mixing it very gently. Kasutera Cake is most often flavored with honey, preserving one of the most delicious parts of making sponge cakes, which is adding a touch of flavoring. A classic Victoria Sponge Cake will have a bit of citrus zest while Malaysian Pan Dan Cake will be flavored with hints of coconut. In Kasutera Cake, honey adds a touch of earthy sweetness, which helps it pair with various types of teas.

The Kasutera Cake batter is cooked on low heat, another signature of sponge cakes, at around 320°F for about half an hour. When the cake comes out of the oven, it has a gorgeous golden-brown crust on the top and bottom and a soft yellow crumb on the inside. Like many other sponge cakes, Kasutera Cake is not served immediately. It is wrapped in plastic and stored for up to 12 hours before serving, in order to enhance the moistness of the cake. Also, unlike Western sponge cakes, Kasutera Cake is typically baked in a rectangular loaf pan, instead of a round cake pan, and served in approximately one-inch slices, without any garnish, curds, creams, or jams.

So many of the Japanized foods are savory and we’re so happy to have this sweet delicacy to add to our list. Have you tried it before? If so, share your love of this lovely cake with us below!

Product Inspirations –
Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker (BB-SSC10)

Our Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker has so much to love – it’s a small powerhouse that makes hugely satisfying breads, doughs, cakes, and jams!

This breadmaker is compact and comes in a modern white design. It has a small footprint, about the size of a letter-sized paper, taking up minimal counter space, and makes 1-pound loaves, perfect for smaller families. The Maestro features a wide selection of 15 course settings, which control the kneading, rising, and baking functions based on the type of bread, dough, cake, or jam to be made.

Ten of the fifteen course settings are for baking bread, including traditional loaves like White, Whole Wheat, and European, as well as settings for Quick White and Quick Whole Wheat. Along with the traditional course settings, the Maestro offers healthy settings for Multigrain, Gluten Free, Salt Free, Sugar Free, and Vegan breads.

The Maestro comes with special course settings for doughs, cake, and jam too. The Bread/Pizza Dough setting is great for producing things like Whole Wheat Pizza Dough and Naan bread, while the Pasta Dough course setting lets you make homemade pastas like Spinach Pasta. Quick cake breads like our scrumptious Lemon Loaf are easy with the Cake setting and our unique Jam setting lets you make fruit preserves without constant stirring over the stove.

While these course settings are all amazing, we really, truly love our Homemade setting! This course setting allows you to store up to three custom programs, so you can control the knead, rise, and bake times per recipe! We’ve even come up with a recipe that we had to call our Meatloaf Miracle, because it was made in the breadmaker using a Homemade course. (Check it out in the recipe booklet that comes with the breadmaker!)

Our Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker can make all of these recipes because of its smart features. It uses a removable, nonstick coated Baking Pan to hold the ingredients, and mixes them with a single Kneading Blade, which is secured into the Baking Pan on a sturdy, rotating shaft. It also utilizes double heaters built into the bottom of the breadmaker to rapidly heat the interior of the Baking Pan so that breads are springy, light, airy, and have gorgeous crusts. It also has a new, distinctive feature – the Auto-Add Dispenser. Instead of requiring you to keep track of when to add ingredients such as dried fruit, nuts, and seeds during the knead cycle, the Auto Add Dispenser holds these ingredients and works with the breadmaker’s intelligent microcomputer to add them to the dough at the right time during making. The easy-to-read LCD control panel accesses the brains of the machine and lets you choose the course setting as well as select the crust color. It also allows you to set an optional 13-hour delay timer.

In true Zojirushi tradition, the pan, along with all surfaces that come into contact with food, are BPA-free and cleaning is simple. The Baking Pan, Kneading Blade, and Auto-Add Dispenser pieces are all removable and hand-washable.

Accessories include a full color recipe booklet with 50 delicious recipes, liquid measuring cup, and measuring spoon.

The recipe booklet has amazing recipes, and you can find more on the special website we’ve dedicated to this amazing little bread maker. Check out recipes like Party Bread and Matcha Swirl Bread. Best of all, we’ve loaded eight how-to videos to help you perfect your bread and dough making skills!

If you’re already an owner of the Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker, share your favorite creations with us below. And if not…get one now!