Design Explained –
Our Steam Vent Caps

Do you know that most of our rice cookers have a cap on the steam vent? Compared to conventional rice cookers, our advanced rice cookers – the ones that utilize a microcomputer – are sleeker, with tight-fitting components and lids. We make these rice cookers with steam venting systems that consists of three components – a vent, a vent cap, and a vent cap receptacle.

This is the Steam Vent Cap!

Each piece of the venting system has a purpose. The vent is a tube-like opening that goes through the cover and inner lid, into the body of the rice cooker where the inner pan rests. The vent is covered by the steam vent cap, which rests in the steam vent cap receptacle, keeping it securely on the cover of the rice cooker. The entire system is built to seamlessly blend into the top of the rice cookers. One customer even brought his appliance into our office inquiring about the system because he didn’t realize it was there!

Can you spot the Steam Vent Cap?

The steam venting system works in conjunction with good rice prep. The first step is to correctly measure the right amount of rice and water. Then, it’s important to wash the rice correctly, removing excess starch and bran or dust from the rice kernels. Once the rice begins cooking, the rice cooker releases excess steam through the vent, and the steam vent cap catches any foamy substances that come out with the steam. The rice cooks better this way because the steam vent cap allows the rice cooker to cook your rice at a higher heat, without worrying about overflow because the steam vent cap can capture excess moisture and bubbles that may foam up.

Yay for delicious rice!

As long as the vent cap is washed under running water and the steam vent cap receptacle area is wiped with a soft cloth to remove any moisture, the steam venting system in your Zojirushi advanced rice cooker should work wonderfully. Remember to remove and clean the inner lid and you’ll have perfectly cooked rice every time!

Don’t forget to remove and clean the Inner Lid!

Check out our full line up in the Products section, and be sure to comment with any questions you might have.


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.

Product Inspirations – Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-HCC10/18)

Rice cookers are our flagship product, and over the years, we’ve created rice cookers with superior technology married with practical features and stylish design. Our Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-HCC10/18) beautifully combines these three elements to prepare perfect rice, every time.

The Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer comes with nine menu settings, including White Rice, Jasmine, Mixed, Sushi, Porridge, Sweet, Brown, GABA Brown and Quick. Additionally, the White Rice menu setting can be customized by selecting from three textures, including regular, softer and harder. For each of these menu settings, the triple heater surrounds the thick inner pan on the bottom, sides and in the lid, evenly cooking the rice.

Along with the triple heater, this rice cooker utilizes induction heating (“IH”) technology. Unseen beneath the surface of the rice cooker, coils create a magnetic field which helps rapidly heat the thick inner cooking pan. Because of this structure, an IH rice cooker responds quicker and can heat faster than a non-IH, allowing more precise temperature control.

These fine adjustments during the cooking process are also what makes this rice cooker perfect for cooking GABA brown rice. GABA, which stands for gamma aminobutyric acid, is a beneficial nutrient that is activated when brown rice is soaked and warmed prior to cooking. This Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer’s GABA Brown setting takes care of heating and soaking the rice for longer lengths of time and at a low temperature to activate the rice before cooking it. Whether you’re cooking GABA brown rice or traditional brown rice, we love this Brown Rice recipe for the delicious and fluffy result.

Cooking white rice is also an art in this rice cooker. Our classic White Rice recipe ensures a perfect result every time. Be sure to correctly measure and wash the rice prior to cooking, following our easy instructions.

Preparing sushi is also easier when starting with this rice cooker, as the Sushi setting results in no-fail rice each time. Once the sushi rice is ready, simply mix it with the ingredients in our recipe and use for rolls or chirashi bowls. Tofu Jasmine Fragrant Rice is also ideally prepared in this rice cooker, as the aroma and length of the grains of the jasmine rice is wonderfully preserved during cooking. And for a really authentic taste of Japan, Sweet Rice Cooked with Adzuki Beans is beautifully started in this rice cooker. Even unique dishes such as Dijon Shrimp and Tomato Rice are a joy to make with rice cooked in the Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer. Really, there are so many recipes that are easy to cook with this rice cooker!

The rice cooker comes in two sizes, 5.5 cups or 10 cups, and features an easy-to-read LCD control panel and a stylish stainless steel body with an easy-to-clean clearcoat finish. The nonstick inner pan and inner lid are removable and fully washable, making them both easy to clean with mild dish detergent and warm water. The machine comes with a delay timer that lets you have rice ready when needed. For example, you can set the program in the morning and come home to hot rice, just prepared. And the Keep Warm and Extended Keep Warm settings keep the cooked rice warm until it’s ready to serve.

The Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer is made in Japan and comes with a rice measuring cup, spatula and spatula holder.

We know you’ll love this rice cooker! Let us know about your favorite recipe in the comments below!

The Voices of Zojirushi – Amy, Social Media Manager!

We have a wonderful treat this month – a chance to get to know Amy, Zojirushi’s Social Media Manager!

Amy started at Zojirushi as a Customer Service Representative and then became part of the Marketing Team managing the Zojirushi social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Amy’s multifaceted passion for connecting with Zojirushi customers and fans is just one of reasons we’re excited to share her with you!

Amy, you’ve been with Zojirushi for a while now, and have a unique perspective about the products, customers and company goals. What do you see as Zojirushi’s corporate values and how do you believe they’re embody in the products and services?

It’s all about dedication to the customer experience. We know you can’t see it, but Zojirushi products are R&D’d to within an inch of their lives! Our commitment to creating innovative products manufactured to the highest standards is our lifeblood. We are always striving to exceed the expectations of our customers, because we want Zojirushi products to be a reliable part of their owners’ lives. We think that the quality of the products produced by this madness is evident. It’s always a pleasure when customers tell us they are still happily using a rice cooker or breadmaker we produced in the 80s!

There’s still a lot of these breadmakers kicking around!

How do you see your position at Zojirushi create a better quality of life for our customers, which is part of Zojirushi’s mission?

The Zojirushi experience doesn’t end when the customer exits the retailer’s door. Our social media presence is an opportunity for us to continue educating the customer about the product, and supply fun and useful things like recipes that let them find new ways to enjoy it. It’s also an invaluable tool for connecting with customers, because reaching out to us is so easy and instant—no phone call required.

Our corporate tagline is Inspirations from Everyday Life. How do you believe Zojirushi products inspire customers?

Just ask our customers and Zojirushi evangelists! The quality and functionality of our products inspire fans—we’ve heard many times that customers feel like they’ve stumbled upon something really unique and different, and they love to share that discovery with others. Not all customers find our brand the same way; for instance, someone who purchases and loves our Stainless Mug may not know that we also manufacture world-class rice cookers. But because our commitment to manufacturing products only at the highest standards, customers know that no matter what they’re eyeballing in our catalog, it will be made and function with Zojirushi quality.

Beef tataki

You must have been inspired by something yourself to feel so passionate about Zojirushi! Was it a trip to Japan or something about Japanese food or culture that you love?

I’ve been to Japan twice, once when I was 18 for a month-and-a-half to participate in a Japanese language-learning program, and once last year for a handful of days to visit Zojirushi Corporation headquarters in Osaka, where I had the opportunity to tour the factory and learn a little more about how our water boilers and rice cookers are assembled. The most interesting experience I have had while in Japan was visiting the onsen (hot springs) in Odaiba, because communal bathing is not a typical American experience. As for food, I love all types of Japanese food—sushi, ramen, soba, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, sukiyaki, yakitori, gyudon… neatly individually-wrapped portions of various wagashi—but there’s something about really fresh, perfectly seared cold beef tataki served with a bright and refreshing citrus sauce that always hits the spot. (Shout out to izakaya-style restaurant Kappo Honda in Fountain Valley, CA, whose beef tataki is on point!)

If you could tell people one great thing about Zojirushi, what would it be?

We are a relatively small company, and the ties between employees are close. Many employees have been with Zojirushi America since we opened our office here in 1987 (or maybe even before then) and have shared a lot of history together. Our company president, Mr. Yamasaki, is right up the hall—if an employee wants to chat with him, he’s available to listen. Our staff is also a diverse one that speaks many languages—Japanese and English, of course, but also Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese—and boasts a variety of personalities. Zojirushi America is full of incredible people, and it’s a big part of what makes working here a pleasure.

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We love working with Amy, and we hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know her this month. Stay tuned for our next Voice of Zojirushi!

The Voices of Zojirushi – Saori!

We are enjoying a special treat this month as we get to know Saori, Zojirushi’s Recipe Tester & Developer. Her role at Zojirushi is as fun as it sounds! She develops and tests recipes under different conditions to make sure they turn out to be perfectly delicious when made in Zojirushi appliances. Too much water? Not enough electricity? The mix of ingredients not quite working? Saori takes all of the guesswork out of recipes so that when we make then, all we experience is “YUM!”

We caught up with Saori to talk about her creative inspirations and how they’ve influenced her as part of the Zojirushi team.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What types of foods do you love to eat?

I was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. My favorite food from Nagoya is kishimen, which is a broad and flat noodle in a broth loaded with katsuobushi (bonito flakes), and ankake supa, which is thick spaghetti sautéed and topped with a thick, spicy, blended tomato sauce and other toppings like sausage, hard-boiled eggs, and bell peppers.

Kishimen

How did your love of food, especially Japanese food, lead you to Zojirushi?

Well, the ability to use my experience and love of cooking as my job was the first thing that drew me to the company, but the longer I stay, the more I realize that I enjoy the core qualities of this organization, patience and generosity, just like the elephant on our logo.

Our corporate philosophy is Creating a Quality of Life. How does your position or your job function create a better quality of life for our customers?

I help develop and test recipes that use ingredients that can be easily found in local markets, with kitchen tools available in any home, using Zojirushi products. Through these recipes, I hope our customers can find not only the joy of cooking, but also the joy of creativity, while thinking about their own ways to personalize recipes to their preference. Creativity, quality and true to its values… that’s what I feel we offer here. If it weren’t for these qualities, my job as a recipe tester would not be necessary.

When we develop recipes, we need to thoroughly test, and that often means every model!

Much of our product design focuses on safety, usability, practicality, quality, craftsmanship and stylishness. Do you have a favorite Zojirushi product that you believe embodies these qualities?

The Home Bakery Virtuoso® Breadmaker BB-PAC20, because while it makes bread-making easy for anybody, it also allows me to be creative and make my own, unique recipes. Some of my favorites are the Cheese ‘n’ Onion Bread and the Fava Bean Risotto. It was something else!

And if you could dream up your own next-generation Zojirushi product, what would it be?

My first choice would be an ice cream and soft serve maker. A unit that would fit in the freezer and mixes the ingredients to make ice cream and soft serve. My second choice is an indoor smoker. I would like to try making smoked salmon, smoked chicken or ham at home!

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Saori’s ideas sound delicious to us, and we can’t wait to find out what new recipe she comes up with. Be sure to subscribe to Zojirushi 101, so you get the latest recipes from Saori, and stay tuned as we meet more of the Zojirushi team next month.