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Cozy Wintertime Meals Made with the Umami® Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-GAC10/18

Happy New Year! We are so excited to cook our favorite wintertime meals this January as we cozy up to the colder weather. With Zojirushi’s versatile new Umami® Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-GAC10/18, we’re able to make so much more than white rice with just a single appliance, from soup, congee, and more. The exclusive Umami setting on this Zojirushi rice cooker is also great for cooking a variety of rice grains as well, as it extends soaking and steaming to make your rice fluffier, sweeter, and more delicious. Today, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite rice based dishes we’ll be preparing in January with the help of our Umami® Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-GAC10/18.

 

Zojirushi’s Umami® Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-GAC10/18Before we dive into the recipes, let’s get to know our rice cooker a little better. The Umami® Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-GAC10/18 is an elegant appliance that comes in a stylish Metallic Black color, with two sizes available to accommodate various household sizes: 5.5 and 10 cups. What makes this rice cooker unique is its advanced micro computerized fuzzy logic technology that allows it to offer a long list of menu settings including Zojirushi’s special Umami setting, that will help you whip up a variety of tasty dishes.

 

Menu settings include:

  • White
  • Umami
  • Mixed
  • sushi/sweet
  • Jasmine
  • Porridge
  • Congee
  • Brown
  • GABA brown
  • Quick white
  • Quick Jasmine
  • Steam
  • Slow cook

 

It features an easy-to-read LCD control panel, clock and delay timer, nonstick coated inner cooking pan, and all food contact surfaces are BPA free. The inner lid is detachable for easy cleaning, and the rice cooker also comes with additional accessories such as a steaming basket, rice spatula, and measuring cup. To see this rice cooker in action, visit our product video here.

Now that we’ve been properly introduced to our Umami® Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-GAC10/18, let’s dive into our dishes!

Rice Dishes:

Jambalaya

We love Jambalaya because it combines many great flavors into one delicious bowl. This hearty meal features shrimp, sausage, and a hint of chili flakes that will warm you right up.

 

Shiitake-Gohan

This classic Japanese rice dish is simple to make using the convenient mixed setting for an easy meal that will keep you satisfied with its umami-rich flavor from the shiitake mushrooms.

 

Soups:

Vegetable Brown Rice Zosui (Japanese Rice Soup)

Zosui is traditional Japanese comfort food that combines rice, chicken broth, and seasonal vegetables. This simple yet satisfying soup can be made from scratch or from leftover nabe base if you have it. Perfect for lunch or dinner on a cold day!

 

Keihan (Japanese Chicken Soup with Rice)

Keihan is another traditional Japanese dish that hails from the southern islands of Japan. This dish features shiitake mushrooms, chicken breasts, and egg crepes. Yum!

 

Casseroles:

Baked Rice Casserole with Artichokes and Mushrooms

Our baked rice casserole dish is excellent for mushroom lovers and is a gluten-free alternative to other traditional casseroles. Combine all ingredients into a casserole or ceramic bowl and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

 

Japanese Style Curry Doria

This Japanese-inspired doria is a wonderful way to make use of leftover curry and rice and turn them into the ultimate comfort meal. This dish comes sizzling out of the oven ready to eat, featuring mozzarella cheese, parsley, and butter.  

 

What are your favorite dishes to enjoy in the wintertime? Do you have any favorite recipes that you plan to try from this blog? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan 

Celebrate the Holidays with Japanese Flavor

Are you excited for the holidays? In addition to going all out with festive decorations, Japanese people love to celebrate this time of year with popular American foods seasoned with a Japanese twist. For those who want to add a twist to their holiday dinner, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite Japanese and American holiday recipes that are guaranteed to delight and impress – all of which can be made easily with the help of the new Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-DCC10/18.

Introducing The Rice Cooker That Does It All

The newest addition to our rice cooker lineup is the Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-DCC10/18. It comes in 5.5 or 10 cup capacities and in a beautiful Pearl Beige color. What’s unique about this appliance is that it is built with advanced micro computerized Fuzzy Logic technology, meaning that the rice cooker can automatically adjust cooking temperatures and cooking time to cook your rice (or cake!) perfectly every time.

It also includes a wide variety of settings which include: White, Long Grain White, Sushi, Congee, Brown, GABA Brown, Jasmine, Steel Cut Oatmeal, Quinoa, Quick White, and Cake.

Choose from convenient features like automatic keep warm, extended keep warm, reheat, and delay timer functions on the rice cooker’s easy-to-read LCD control panel, so you can cook your dishes whenever you please.

In addition, the appliance comes with an easy-to-clean detachable and washable inner lid, detachable power cord, and extra-large steam vent cap for high-powered cooking. The Menu

Now that we’re thoroughly acquainted with the Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-DCC10/18, let’s get to cooking!

First Bite

If you’re hosting a holiday get-together, it’s important to make a great first impression. Not only are these dishes visually attractive, but they’re also easily shareable and super tasty.

 

 

  • Gomoku Sushi: This is a beautifully garnished rice bowl that features seasonal vegetables and seafood on top of sushi rice. Because it can be prepared in advance, it’s the perfect appetizer for events or large gatherings.

 

  • Prosciutto Rice Balls: These bite-size rice balls combine Japanese culinary techniques with Italian style. The prosciutto pairs perfectly with the rice, and the basil adds a fresh zing. Pro rice tip: Always rinse the rice before cooking, even brown rice. Milling leaves a lot of starch on the surface of the rice, and if not removed the rice becomes gummy. We recommend to rinse it 3 to 4 times to remove the excess starch. Remember to work quickly to prevent the rice from absorbing starchy water as much as possible. Watch this video to learn more.

Main Course:

Did you know that Christmas Eve and Christmas are widely celebrated with a bucket of KFC fried chicken in Japan? Because turkey is not readily available in the country, this craze has endured throughout the holidays for decades. Here are two dishes that you can make to celebrate just like the Japanese, with chicken as a star ingredient.

 

 

  • Karaage is Japanese-style fried chicken that is fried to crispy deliciousness in small, bite-sized pieces served with rice. It is sure to be a favorite during the holidays.

 

  • Curry Doria is a mix between a casserole and Japanese curry. Add generous amounts of mozzarella, and add your protein of choice to your liking (in this case, chicken!). Pro rice tip: Remember to use your measuring cup to measure out your rice and use the water measuring lines on the pan to measure the water. We cook and test tons and tons of rice every year, so our rice cookers can cook the best-tasting rice for you consistently. It’s scientific. It’s precise. Trust us, and use the rice measuring cup in conjunction with the water measure lines. It will yield a perfect result. Every. Single. Time.

A Sweet Ending

One of the biggest highlights of a Japanese Christmas is the decorative cakes that look like works of art — they are almost too pretty to eat! In Japan, people especially love enjoying strawberry shortcake on this holiday. Below are fruit-forward cake options that you can make straight out of your rice cooker.

 

  • Layered Trifle Tower: This fluffy sponge cake is layered beautifully with marsala sherry, raspberry jam, custard, and fruit. Serve in a clear vessel to show off the beautiful interior.

 

  • Whole Wheat Sponge Cake: This whole wheat cake only requires seven ingredients (plus the fruit) and is easily baked at the touch of a button. Top with whipped cream, enjoy, repeat.

 

 

How are you going to spend the holidays this year? Are you planning on trying any of these recipes or tips we shared today? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

 

Tonjiru: Japanese Pork & Vegetable Miso Soup

We all may be familiar with miso soup, but tonjiru is a classic type of miso soup that is widely popular in Japan during the colder months. This hearty home-cooked favorite features a savory, pork-infused broth complemented by seasonal vegetables and is perfect as a snack, appetizer, or main dish when paired with a bowl of rice. Not only is it incredibly easy to make, but it packs huge flavor and nutrients for anyone craving a comforting meal.

Where Does It Come From?

Tonjiru (豚汁) comes from traditional Chinese characters that mean “pork” and “soup.” Sometimes, it can be read as “butajiru,” but the Japanese kanji characters are the same. Tonjiru was created sometime in the Meiji era (late 1800s) and has been a traditional winter dish ever since. This soup was meant to feed many mouths, and because meat was not as readily available as it is today, the soup that we enjoy today has a much higher pork to vegetable ratio than before. This soup is preferred not only for its flavor but because of its high-fat content, which keeps the soup warmer for longer.

How to Enjoy Tonjiru

Here are some of the tastiest ways to prepare tonjiru right at home.

Pork

  • Marble-rich cuts of pork like pork belly or shoulder are most commonly used for this dish. Thinner cuts will cook faster, but thicker cuts may add more depth and flavor. The choice is up to you!
  • Brown the pork first to add more flavor to the soup base. Fry evenly on both sides until the meat turns brown. Some even like to char the pork before adding it to the soup.

Vegetables & Add-ons

  • After browning the pork, “sweat” your vegetables in the same pan to release their flavors and aromas. Use seasonal vegetables that are available to you, such as mushrooms, carrots, and onions. The more veggies, the better!
  • Japanese people like to add local ingredients like daikon, shimeji mushrooms, taro, burdock, konnyaku, and Asian chives (nira).
  • You can also add in ingredients like tofu or noodles for a heartier meal.

Soup

  • The pork will add plenty of flavor to the soup, but traditional recipes use less pork and more miso. Add small increments of yellow miso to your water base, and taste as you go. To preserve the miso’s full flavor, add the miso in at last before the water gets to a boil.
  • You can also use dashi to add more flavor and umami.

Garnish

  • Finish off the dish with finely chopped scallions or togarashi (Japanese chili flakes).
  • Serve with a steaming bowl of rice and enjoy!

Now that you know all the key points on how to make the tastiest tonjiru, try making it at home with our very own Total Tonjiru Soup recipe.

Have you ever tried tonjiru? How do you like to prepare it at home? Let us know by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

Mom’s Home Cooking: ポテトサラダ (Japanese Potato Salad)

When you think of Japan, you may not think of side dishes like potato salad at first. But, Japanese Potato Salad, or “potesara,” has actually been around in Japanese cuisine for over 100 years! During the Meiji restoration, Western dishes began widely influencing Japanese cuisine, and Japan’s colorful potesara is thought to have originated sometime during that period. Today, this dish is widely enjoyed across the country as a delicious side to lunch and dinner all year round. Take a look for yourself, and consider making this dish as a fun and flavorful addition to any of your holiday meals.

Origins

Like many storied dishes, the exact origin of this dish can be disputed, but Japanese people believe that this dish was influenced by the Russian Olivier salad, which was first made by a Belgian chef in Russia. Sources date the first version of this Japanese take on the Olivier salad back to 1896, and the dish has evolved to its current colorful version over the years.

Star Ingredients

There are a few reasons why Japanese potato salad is so distinct from its Western counterparts. First, it is almost completely mashed, so it has a smoother consistency and texture. Second, some of the ingredients are uniquely Japanese, which lend to its great flavor. Last but not least, this dish features an array of colorful vegetables and deli meat, which makes you able to spot this dish from a mile away. Here are some of the most notable star ingredients:

  • Kewpie Mayonnaise: This crowd pleaser may be eye-catching for its bright colors, but is largely celebrated due to its rich, tangy flavor. This is accomplished through ingredients like Japanese mayo, such as the Kewpie brand, which is higher in vinegar and tangier in flavor.
  • Vegetables: Japanese people get very creative with their potato salads, and these versions tend to be very healthy due to the generous amounts of nutritious vegetables they add in. Popular veggies include carrots, peas, cucumber, onion, and broccoli, though you can really add in whatever you like!

  • Japanese mustard: Karashi mustard is a hot Japanese mustard made from a mixture of mustard seeds and horseradish. It is very spicy and comes in both powder and paste forms.

 

 

Make the Best Japanese Potato Salad

Thinking about whipping up this dish for your next dinner party, or just for yourself? Here are some tips to make sure your potato salad comes out delicious:

  • Make sure not to overcook the potatoes. You want to let the potatoes boil in water, and then at a simmer. Overcooking will result in a texture that falls apart instead of staying creamy.
  • Remove excess moisture from ingredients. This extra step will make sure that your salad does not get too watery and will also mellow out the spices from ingredients such as onions.
  • Salt your vegetables. Adding a pinch of salt to your carrots or cucumbers will keep them crunchy, which will balance the smooth texture from the potatoes.
  • Get creative with your garnishes. Finish off your dish with some fresh cracked pepper, sesame, or even parmesan cheese if you want to make the dish look and taste extra appetizing.
  • Chill before serving. Chilling your salad will give your salad time to settle, and absorb all of the yummy flavors you just incorporated. Chill at least one hour before serving in an airtight container.

Let us know if you tried to make this dish at home, or have your own secret recipe by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

Mastering the Perfect Cup of Tea with Zojirushi’s VE Hybrid Water Boiler & Warmer CV-JAC40/50

If you’re like us – you love to drink tea all year round, either iced or hot. But, in the colder months – and especially around the holidays, a nice cup of steaming hot tea goes a long way for comfort and to set the mood for the season. And whether you want to feel warm and cozy, clear a sore throat, or need a boost of energy, tea is sure to be a type of tea that works perfectly for your needs.

But did you know that different teas are best brewed at different temperatures? If you don’t brew at the right temperature, the tea could become bitter or not have the fragrance it should and will not be as tasty. Zojirushi water boilers have different temperature settings ideal for various teas so that you can brew your tea to perfection.

That’s why we are so excited to introduce our newest water boiler in our Zojirushi lineup: the VE Hybrid Water Boiler & Warmer CV-JAC40/50This water boiler has 4 different temperature settings that can be selected to brew different types of teas at their ideal temperature and even uses our Super VE (Vacuum-Electric) hybrid technology to save energy.

Here’s a closer look at our newest product’s features, followed by a detailed guide on mastering the art of tea with this water boiler.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The VE Hybrid Water Boiler & Warmer CV-JAC40/50 

Advanced Design: This appliance is available in two sizes that hold up to 4 or 5 liters of water at a time. The easy-to-read orange LCD control panel always shows actual water temperature, and its wide window water level gauge includes a red ball indicator to show you the water level. The inner sleeve also features distinct water level lines, so you know exactly how much you’re pouring in at all times. Lastly, the base of the water boiler features a built-in swivel that comes in handy when dispensing water.

Super VE Hybrid Technology: Featuring Super VE hybrid technology, the vacuum insulated sleeve on the inside of the water boiler helps keeping water at the selected temperature (160°F, 175°F, 195°F, 208°F) using less electricity, and can even keep water warm without using any electricity when using the “VACUUM” keep warm function. The energy-saving timer function can also be timed from 6-16 hours so that your water is hot and ready for you when you need it, without using energy while not in use.

Saves Time & Energy: Zojirushi water boilers are all designed to boil the water first before keeping it warm at the selected temperature. This was designed for safety, as well as to reduce the chlorine in water. If using bottled or purified water, this step can be omitted by using the Quick Temp Mode, which skips the boiling process and heats to the select temperature (160°F, 175°F, or 195°F), reducing time and energy.

Safe & Easy to Clean: This water boiler’s lid completely detaches to make the cleaning and filling process seamless. The interior is made with nonstick coated stainless steel, and as always, all surfaces that come in contact with food or water are BPA-free. For safety, this machine automatically shuts off to prevent boiling when dry, and features an automatic dispense lock to prevent accidental dispensing. In-lid and in-spout guards also prevent dripping when the machine is not in use.

Bonus for Coffee Lovers:  If you love your coffee just as much as you love your tea (or prefer it instead) – this water boiler’s Café Drip mode dispenses at a slower pace to create the perfect pour for drip coffee, as well.

Zojirushi’s Guide to Brewing Tea using the VE Hybrid Water Boiler & Warmer CV-JAC40/50

Brewing tea is truly an art, and the Japanese have been mastering this practice for centuries. If you brew a cup that is too cold, you might end up with a watery, dull cup of tea, and if too strong, the tea will become unpleasant. Fortunately, the VE Hybrid Water Boiler & Warmer CV-JAC40/50 heats your water to the four temperatures shown below at the click of a button, so all you need to do is click, dispense, and enjoy.160°F: Gyokuro. This specialty tea requires a lower water temperature to ensure optimal extraction.

175°F: Matcha, Green Tea, and white tea. At this temperature, the water is simmering but not boiling. If the water is too hot, you risk burning the tea leaves, which will result in a very bitter cup of tea.

195°F: Oolong. This water is almost, but not quite boiling. Oolong tea falls between green and black tea and can be darker, bolder, or more delicate like green tea.

208°F: Black tea and herbal tea. Water at this temperature is at a full boil. Herbal teas specifically can be steeped for longer periods of time, because they do not contain caffeine.

There are a few things to keep in mind for optimal performance. Check the unit at least once every 3 months for scale build-up. Minerals like calcium will accumulate on the interior surface and if not cleaned will cause issues with dispensing. You also don’t want to taste bits of scale in your tea. If you see scale built-up inside, learn how to take care of it by watching this helpful video:

What kind of tea do you like drinking best? Did you learn something new from our ultimate guide to brewing tea? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan