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!

Product Inspirations – Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-NVC10/18)

Ahhh, December. The time of year for holidays and for hunkering down with warm, wholesome foods. At Zojirushi, we’re obviously fans of rice as a staple of those warm meals and are showcasing our top-of-the-line Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-NVC10/18) to get you through the winter.

This rice cooker combines multiple cooking technologies to provide top-notch results each and every time. It’s made in Japan and comes in two sizes, 5.5 cups and 10 cups. As with our other rice cookers, it’s styled to coordinate with any kitchen décor and comes with two measuring cups and a rice spatula for your convenience.

But really, the most innovative features of this rice cooker are its technologies, including induction heating (IH) and pressure cooking, both of which are controlled by the fuzzy logic technology with artificial intelligence (AI). Whew! Say that fast 10 times!

Knowing how these three technologies work together helps to really understand why this is a superior rice cooker, so get ready for some tech talk.

This rice cooker uses induction heating as one of its cooking methods. When you look inside the rice cooker, you won’t see a heating element or plate, like those used in a radiant heat-dependent appliance. Instead, this rice cooker has a system of magnetic coils that are hidden within the body of the machine. When electricity is run through these magnetic coils, they instantly heat the stainless steel of the inner cooking pan, making the pan itself the ‘heating element’!

 

The heat can be controlled for precise tuning during cooking and the resulting rice is perfectly cooked, every time.

This rice cooker also uses pressure cooking to cook rice. Pressure cooking is simply the act of heating food under steam pressure in a sealed vessel, forcing liquid into the food in order to cook it. In the case of our rice cooker, once the menu setting has been selected, the machine automatically selects from the pressure levels that result in hard, medium or soft rice–the more pressure, the more liquid forced into the rice, and the softer it becomes. In our rice cooker, applying pressure while cooking also helps convert the hard beta starch in raw rice into alpha starch, making it softer and easier to digest. For example, brown rice will need more water forced into it to make it soft and fluffy whereas sushi rice won’t, since it needs to have a firmer texture. Plus, rice cooked under pressure has been found to stay softer longer, perfect for rice that will be stored before consumption.

Both cooking methods are controlled by the rice cooker’s microcomputer, or Micom for short. It’s programmed using advanced fuzzy logic technology with artificial intelligence that adjusts the cooking time and temperature for each menu setting. Fuzzy logic is important, because it can make subtle adjustments the cooking process, creating a flow that results in rice that’s perfectly cooked every time.

Considering there’s so much technology in this rice cooker, it’s surprisingly easy to use. All of the menu settings can be selected from the easy-to-read LCD panel and include menus for White Rice, in regular, softer or harder textures (see… different pressures!), Mixed Rice, Sushi/Sweet Rice, Porridge, Brown Rice, GABA Brown Rice, as well as Zojirushi’s exclusive UMAMI, Steam-Reduce and Scorch settings.

The Delay Timer, also accessible from the LCD control panel, allows you to program when you’d like the rice to be ready, and Keep Warm and Reheat settings keep your rice hot and fresh when you’re ready to eat.

Inside the machine, the easy to clean platinum-infused nonstick inner cooking pan (which heats beautifully because of induction heating!) makes sweeter tasting rice, and the detachable inner lid is fully washable and equipped with a filter to prevent small food particles from becoming stuck in the pressure system.

With all of these features, we know you’re going to make amazing dishes. Our favorite warming dish are Garlic Flavored Beef Yakimeshi, Kimchi Fried Rice and Rice and Beans with Bacon and Collard Greens. Check out some more rice cooker recipes on our website!

Happy cooking and happy end of year!

And don’t forget to share your favorites with us below.

Japanese Drinks – Shochu!

Vodka. Whiskey. Gin. Tequila. Rum. Shochu.

Some of the most famous liquors in the world are the distilled alcohols of fermented grains, vegetables and herbs.

And Japan’s shochu is easily one of the most enjoyable and drinkable of the list.

Shochu is a distilled beverage made from water, koji, yeast and other ingredients such as rice, barley, sweet potatoes, brown sugar or buckwheat. Enjoyed throughout Japan, shochu, like sake, has become increasingly popular all over the world. And while shochu is a quintessentially Japanese drink, its origins are international.

The production of shochu in Japan has been documented to the 16th century. Historical information indicates that shochu was introduced to the area known as Ryukyu, or modern-day Okinawa, by traders from Siam, or modern-day Thailand. That drink was called arrack, the origin of which has been traced to ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean civilizations where an anise-flavored liquor called arak was made from the distillation of fermented cereal grains.

Rice mold, or koji

The Okinawan style of shochu, called awamori, is still made today, although the more popular honkaku shochu is considered the most authentic Japanese shochu and is primarily produced in Kyushu region. Honkaku shochu production became varied and robust during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) in Japan. The process begins similar to sake production, in that steamed short-grain japonica variety rice is inoculated with black or white aspergillius oryzae mold, or koji. Once the rice has been broken down into starch, amino acids and citric acid, yeast and water is added to complete the koji. Left to ferment for approximately one week, the resulting mixture, or moromi mash, is the initial source of alcohol for the shochu. A base ingredient, such as more rice, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, barley or buckwheat, is added to the mix. The base ingredient gives the final shochu its distinctive flavor. This mixture produces the second moromi mash, which is let to ferment for two weeks before it is heated and cooled in a traditional distillation apparatus. The distillation process retains the characteristic flavor of the base ingredient, which is mellowed and refined while the shochu is aged from several months to a few years in stainless steel, wooden or ceramic vessels. Once the shochu is aged, it is diluted with water to the appropriate alcohol content of either 20%, 25% or 30% and then bottled and shipped.

Honkaku shochu

Awamori shochu is produced using long-grain Thai indica variety rice and only black koji. While honkaku shochu goes through two mixing stages, awamori is made using only one mixing stage, going quickly into the fermentation step and after distillation, it is aged for a minimum of three years. Awamori shochu, because of its long ageing stage, has a characteristic vanilla flavor and much higher alcohol content – 43%!

Drinking shochu is a pleasure, especially at Japanese bars called izakaya in southern Japan. Beginners typically drink a rice-based shochu, called kome shochu, or a fruity cocktail called chuhai. The simplest way to drink shochu is neat, simply poured into a glass at room temperature. But shochu can be enjoyed over ice or mizuwari-style, that is, diluted with a small amount of cool water to round out the edges of the alcohol. Oyuwari-style, or diluted with warm water, is ideal during cold weather and enhances the depth, flavor and aromas of the shochu and purists often enjoy shochu warm, without any added water.

With the cold winter months coming up, we hope you’ll try some shochu at your local Japanese izakaya or restaurant. And as always, don’t forget to share your favorites with us!

Product Inspirations – Stainless Steel Food Jar (SW-GCE36)

Our Stainless Steel Food Jar (SW-GCE36) is a great way to pack a fresh meal that you can take with, wherever you go!

It comes in a 12 ounce capacity and two gorgeous colors–Nut Brown and Cherry Red. The modern design is both functional and beautiful, and takes up minimal space while maximizing capacity.

This food jar is made using our superior double-walled vacuum insulation technology, where the air between the outer and inner layers of stainless steel is removed, so that heat is prevented from passing through. Your food stays at an optimal temperature, hot or cold, until it’s time to eat.

Foods stay fresh in the Stainless Steel Food Jar. The interior is made with sanitary electro-polished SlickSteel® stainless steel, which resists odors and corrosion. And the food jar is easy to fill with a 3 ¼ inch wide opening, and a flat interior that makes it ideal to eat and drink from. This food jar also has a unique removable plastic mouth ring which fits around the rim of the jar for comfort. The food jar and the lid are both easy to clean, and the lid completely disassembles, making it even easier.

We love this food jar for its great features… but mostly for the kinds of foods you can eat from it! Traditional classics like Bean Medley Soup and Total Tonjiru Soup are easily eaten from the food jar. A Stacked Pasta Salad works beautifully in the food jar, easily layered with lots of fresh veggies, pasta and dressing. Bring a snack or dessert, like Red Cranberry Gelatin with Mixed Berries. Even breakfast is easy to make in our food jar! You can make Steel Cut Oatmeal To-Go in the jar with this recipe:

  1. Preheat the food jar by pouring boiling water in it so that it is thoroughly warmed. Keep the water in there for 5 minutes and discard after the jar is preheated.*
  2. Place ¼ cup steel-cut oats and 2/3 cups boiling water into the jar.
  3. Close the lid tightly and shake gently.
  4. Let the oatmeal sit for an hour, and then shake the jar again. Let sit for another hour.
  5. When the oatmeal is ready, carefully open the jar and add sugar and fruit to taste. (May we recommend bananas and chocolate chips, or strawberries and honey?)

* Wasn’t that a great tip? You can preheat and precool the food jars so they keep food as close to the original temperature even more efficiently!

No matter what you bring in your food jar, it’s sure to be fresh and delicious! Find out more about this food jar on our website and as always, tell us about your favorite food jar recipe!

Product Inspirations – Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer (NL-BAC05)

Introducing our new Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer (NL-BAC05)!

We love this compact rice cooker. It’s packed with features and is an ideal size for couples and small families. With this 3-cup rice cooker, you can make as little as ½ a cup of rice or grains, allowing you to have the flexibility of making a small dish or a hearty meal.

This rice cooker uses some of our best features, like a nonstick coated, 2.5mm thick black inner pan which allows for even heat distribution and easy cleaning, as well as a triple heater with an extra-large heating element that heats the inner pan from the bottom, sides and top. The onboard microcomputer employs advanced fuzzy logic technology to ensure perfect results every time by making fine adjustments to cooking time and temperature.

This rice cooker also has new healthy menu settings such as Steel Cut Oatmeal and Quinoa, as well as the other settings like White/Sushi rice, Brown rice, Long Grain White rice, Quick cooking, and even Cake which can all be found on the easy-to-use LCD control panel. The machine chimes with a melody feature when cooking is complete, so you can enjoy your food hot and fresh. Two keep warm settings–Automatic Keep Warm and Extended Keep Warm–keep rice at the perfect serving temperature.

One of the great benefits of using a rice cooker is having your rice or grains prepared when you’re ready to eat it. The Delay Timer function on this rice cooker sets the machine to finish cooking rice by a specific time, so you can program it to cook while you’re at work or out running errands, and have rice ready when you return. And convenience features like a removable Steam Vent Cap allows for high temperature cooking without messy overflows. The retractable power cord and sturdy fold-down handle make this machine simple to store, and all surfaces that come into contact with food are BPA-free. Plus it comes with a spatula and measuring cup.

We hope you try out our delicious recipes like this Quinoa and Chicken Super Salad or or fresh and fruity Tropical Long Grain Salad!

Find out more about the Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer on our website and as always, we’d love to hear about your favorite recipes!