Hoka Hoka: The Sound of Perfectly Steamy Japanese White Rice

Freshly cooked rice in a traditional Japanese bowl and a pair of chopsticks holding a bite of rice with steam rising

In Japan, the sound of perfectly cooked white rice is known as “hoka hoka.” This onomatopoeia perfectly captures the gentle popping and bubbling of the rice grains as they cook, a sure sign that they are cooked to perfection.

Hoka hoka is a sound that we at Zojirushi love to hear. White rice is a staple food in Japan, and it’s essential to many traditional dishes. For rice to be considered perfectly cooked, it must be fluffy and tender, with each grain separate and distinct.

There are many different ways to cook white rice, but the most important thing is to use the right type of rice. Japanese rice is short-grain rice that is high in starch. This starch helps to create the fluffy texture that is characteristic of perfectly cooked Japanese rice. If you want to learn about different types of rice or see what rice looks like when it’s over or under-cooked, visit our Rice Guide here.

Uncooked white short grain rice in a flat woven basket, in the center a wooden square container filled with rice

Making White Rice

Ready to make some white rice now? Here are some tips for perfectly and deliciously cooked Japanese white rice in your Zojirushi rice cooker:

  • Use the correct type of rice. Japanese rice is short-grain rice that is high in starch. This starch helps to create the fluffy texture that is characteristic of perfectly cooked Japanese rice.
  • Rinse the rice thoroughly with cold water. This will remove any excess starch that can usually makes it clump, become yellow, and brown the bottom. It’s important to rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
  • Use the correct amount of water. The amount of water you use will depend on the type of rice you are using and the size of your rice cooker. Zojirushi rice cookers come with a measuring cup and a water level guide inside the cooking pan, so it’s easy to get the right amount of water.
  • Don’t open the lid while the rice is cooking. This will release steam and can make the rice tough.
  • Fluff the rice with the rice spatula after it’s cooked. This will release steam trapped in the rice and will separate the grains and make the rice light and fluffy.

White bowl with a red bottom and red lines from bottom to top, filled with white rice and a pair of chopsticks in front. Another bowl of rice in the back and a cup of tea

Hoka hoka is not only the sound of perfectly cooked white rice, it’s also a metaphor for the joy of eating a delicious Japanese meal. When you hear the sound of hoka hoka, you know that you are about to enjoy a taste of Japan!

At Zojirushi, we believe that everyone should be able to experience the joy of perfectly cooked Japanese white rice. Have you heard hoka hoka when making rice before? Share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us on Twitter,

Tempura: A Crispy Japanese Delicacy with a Rich History

Plate filled with assorted battered and fried veggies.

Known for its irresistible flavors and addictive crunch, tempura is a celebrated Japanese dish that holds a special place in the hearts of local and global food lovers alike. Whether you’re enjoying tempura on a rice bowl, with noodles, or just by itself, this crispy, flavorful, and utterly delightful dish is perfect for any time of day and any time of year! Are you ready to learn more about the history of tempura? Let’s dive in!

What is Tempura?Bowl of tempura batter with a couple of zucchini slices being dipped

Tempura is a popular Japanese dish consisting of lightly battered and deep-fried seafood, vegetables, or even sweets. The hallmark of tempura lies in its delicate, golden-brown crust that encases the ingredients, giving them a satisfying crunch with each bite. The batter used in tempura is typically made from a simple mixture of flour, water, and sometimes egg.

Tempura is traditionally served with a light dipping sauce called “tentsuyu,” made from a blend of dashi (a Japanese stock), soy sauce, and mirin (a sweet rice wine). In addition, tempura is often accompanied by grated daikon radish and a sprinkle of freshly grated ginger, providing a refreshing and tangy element to the dish.

History of Tempura and Etymology

A battered shrimp being taking out of a frying pan filled with hot oil.

The word “tempura” itself has an interesting etymology. It is believed to have been derived from the Portuguese term “temporas,” which refers to a fasting period in the Catholic tradition. When Portuguese missionaries arrived in Japan during the 16th century, they introduced the concept of frying food, and the term “tempura” was adopted to describe this cooking method. The onomatopoeic phrase “saku saku” is often used to describe the crisp texture of tempura when bitten into. The next time you enjoy deliciously crispy tempura, you can say, “saku saku!”

Popular Types of Tempura:

Tempura offers a diverse array of ingredients, each boasting its own distinct flavor and texture. Some of the most popular types of tempura include:

  • Ebi (Shrimp tempura): A classic and beloved choice, shrimp tempura showcases succulent, tender shrimp coated in a crispy batter.
  • Kakiage: A delightful combination of various vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and green peppers, finely julienned and mixed together before being deep-fried into a flavorful medley.
  • Nasu (Eggplant): With its creamy texture and subtle sweetness, eggplant tempura adds a unique twist to the tempura experience.
  • Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin): The natural sweetness of kabocha shines through in tempura form, providing a delightful contrast to the crispy exterior.
  • Anago (Sea Eel): Delicate and tender, anago tempura offers a melt-in-your-mouth experience that is sure to satisfy seafood lovers.

How to Make Tempura with Zojirushi

Plate with assorted veggie and shrimp tempura on a green table with a pair of chopsticks in front

Are you ready to make tempura for yourself now? Try our assorted Tempura recipe, which incorporates shrimp tempura, green bean tempura, mushroom tempura, and carrot tempura.

Whether you’re savoring it in a traditional Japanese restaurant or trying your hand at making it in your own kitchen, tempura offers a delightful experience that highlights the beauty of simplicity and expert frying techniques. Tell us, how do you like to enjoy tempura? Share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

Natto: A Sticky, Savory, and Nutritious Superfood from Japan

Bowl of rice topped with fermented soy beans and chopsticks taking a portion out

Natto, a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans, has been a beloved dish in Japan for centuries. Many people appreciate natto for its health benefits and unique flavor, but it’s sticky texture and savory flavor are usually an acquired taste for many. Nonetheless, natto remains a cultural staple in Japan, since it’s associated with longevity and good health. Fun fact: it’s often enjoyed first thing in the morning with breakfast! Want to learn more about this interesting superfood? Here’s everything you need to know about natto.

What is Natto?

White bowl with cubed tofu topped with chopped natto mixed with spicy sauce and onions.

Natto is a fermented soybean dish with a unique texture and distinct taste described as savory, nutty, and even pungent, as the fermentation process gives it a strong smell similar to cheese or soy sauce.

To make natto, soybeans are first cooked and then fermented with a special bacteria called Bacillus subtilis. The fermentation process can take anywhere from 18 to 24 hours and is typically done at a warm temperature to encourage the growth of the bacteria. During this time, the beans develop the slimy texture and unique flavor that it’s known for.

The traditional way to make natto is to cook the soybeans, mix them with natto spores, and pack them into straw bags to complete the fermentation process. This method is still used in some rural areas of Japan, but today, natto is usually made through an automated process in factories and fermentation tanks.

History of Natto and Cultural Significance

Woven basket filled with soy beans and on top two straw bundles tied on each end filled with fermented soy beans.

Interestingly, the history of natto isn’t exactly clear. Some theories say that it was first discovered “by accident” in northeast Japan around 1086 AD when the samurai Minamoto no Yoshiie‘s soldiers were hit with a surprise attack. It is said that as this attack happened as the soldiers were cooking their soybeans, they had to quickly pack and run, and because of this, the soybeans in their straw bags were left to ferment.

Today, natto is often served with rice, soy sauce, and mustard to enhance its flavor. It is also included in bento boxes for lunch and used as a topping or filling for sushi. It is even added to dishes like miso soup and omelets!

Hand holding a bowl filled with fermented soy beans and they are taking some out with their chopsticks. There are visible strings as they are taking a portion.

Natto is often associated with the concept of “neba neba,” which refers to its sticky and slimy texture. While this may be unappealing to some, it is considered a desirable quality in Japanese cuisine, as it is believed to be a sign of freshness and quality.

Health Benefits of Natto

Traditional Japanese breakfast set on a table with small bowls filled with rice, miso soup, pickles, and natto topped with an egg.

Natto has gained a reputation as a superfood as it is rich in protein, fiber, and vitamin K2, among other nutrients and vitamins. Many people incorporate it into their diets as they believe it supports bone and cardiovascular health, on top of the fact that natto contains beneficial bacteria that aid digestion and gut health.

This healthy food also contains a variety of antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body and may lower the risk of certain chronic diseases. Some studies suggest that natto helps lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Wooden table with a small bowl with blue stripes on the outside filled with white rice, topped with natto and chopped scallions.

If you’re interested in trying natto, you can find it at almost any Japanese grocery store or specialty retailers online. Or, you can even try making it at home! Have you tried natto before? What do you think about its unique flavor and texture? Share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan


Discover the Ideal Gift for Busy Dads and New Grads: Zojirushi’s Stainless Mug SM-VS and SM-VA

Line up of vacuum insulated mugs in various colors and sizes in a white background showing shadows

On the hunt for the perfect gift to celebrate Father’s Day or graduation this month? Look no further than Zojirushi’s Stainless Mug SM-VA60/72 or SM-VS83/95! As a brand-new addition to our Zojirushi lineup, these mugs take center stage as our extraordinary product of the month.

For those dads and grads who are always on the move, the Zojirushi Stainless Mugs are an absolute game-changer. Not only do they keep beverages hot or cold for extended periods, but they also boast a leak-proof lid and a sleek modern design. With a fantastic range of color options to choose from, this memorable and practical gift is guaranteed to be a hit.

Get to Know the Zojirushi Stainless Mug SM-VA60/72 and SM-VS83/95

Car interior in dark colors with a stainless steel mug in the cup holder

Stainless Mug SM-VA60/72 fits comfortably in most car cup holders.

Crafted with innovation in mind, the Stainless Mug SM-VA60/72 was meticulously designed to fit snugly in most car cup holders without compromising on capacity. Despite its lightweight and compact build, this remarkable mug holds either 20 oz. or 24 oz. of their favorite beverage. Plus, it comes in five trendy colors that are sure to catch the eye. Whether dad or your recent grad commutes or travels, these vacuum insulated mugs are perfect for those who are always on the go.

Tidy desk in a light beige color with a vacuum insulated mug in the front and a laptop in the background and a few stationary supplies around

Stainless Mug SM-VS83/95 is perfect for keeping you hydrated all day.

For those seeking all-day hydration, look no further than the Stainless Mug SM-VS83/95. These large capacity vacuum insulated bottles hold an impressive 28 oz. or 32 oz. of liquid, ensuring you stay refreshed from morning to night. With three captivating modern colors to choose from, these mugs are bound to become your new favorite accessory.

Side by side groups of all colors and sizes available for each stainless mug models.

Stainless Mug SM-VA60/72 and Stainless Mugs SM-VS83/95

One of the standout features of these insulated mugs is Zojirushi’s proprietary double-wall stainless steel vacuum insulation. This technology keeps drinks at the perfect temperature for hours, ensuring that your dad or grad will always have a refreshing drink on hand wherever their adventures may take them.


Top portion of the SM-V series mug with focus on the lid and the security lock

Safety lock prevents lid from opening accidentally

Their leak-proof lid with safety lock ensures that drinks stay securely locked inside, preventing spills and accidents, while the clean and convenient flip-lid design allows for easy sipping while keeping the spout clean when closed. The nonstick-coated interior resists stains and odors, making it easy to clean, and the two-part lid disassembles into two pieces to prevent loss of parts and for effortless cleaning.

Disassembled black lid in two parts facing up

Two-part lid is easy to clean and prevents the loss of parts

These stainless mugs are also made with a special manufacturing technique to make the product exceptionally lightweight and compact, and an ergonomic design ideal for a one-handed operation that makes them easy to carry and hold.

Hand holding a stainless steel mug while the lid is mid opening

Flip-lid keeps sip spout clean when closed

The splatter-proof design lid with a 2-step lid release process prevents excess condensation from being flung off while the lid opens. Additionally, the 1-7/8″ (4.5 cm) wide opening makes filling the insulated mug with drinks or ice cubes easy. And, like all Zojirushi products, all surfaces that come into contact with food and beverage in this travel mug are BPA-free.

Summer Drink Recipe for Stainless Mug

Already have a Zojirushi travel mug but are in need of a refreshing beverage suggestions for dad or grad? We’ve got you covered.

Stainless mug filled with iced matcha beverage accompanied with a white plate filled with rice crackers.

Shake It and Take It Matcha

Our Shake It and Take It Matcha is a tasty and refreshing drink that supplies a clean energy boost throughout your day. All you do is shake, shake, shake!!

Now that you know what you’ll be getting for your Father’s Day gift and Graduation Gift, what else will you do to celebrate this summer? Share your Zojirushi travel mug adventures with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

Make Celebrating Mother’s Day Easier with Zojirushi’s Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer

Bright kitchen with white marble countertops with a kitchen island and a modern rice cooker in black in the foreground

Each and every day, we find ways to celebrate our mothers, but in May, we work extra hard to dedicate an entire Sunday to honoring their presence. If you’re looking for ideas on how to make Mother’s Day this year special, we’d like to introduce you to your perfect sidekick – our newest Zojirushi Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer NW-QAC10/18. We’re proud to introduce this new IH Rice Cooker as one of the best in our line-up that not only cooks rice perfectly and does so much more. Keep reading to see how.


Meet the Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer NW-QAC10/18

Two IH Rice Cookers side by side in two different sizes

The Zojirushi Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer comes in a sleek black color and an elegant flat-top design. Available in two sizes, 5.5 cups or 10 cups, this versatile rice cooker features a modern look with an integrated control panel that is easy to use, making it a great addition to any kitchen. Left to Right: Dish of quinoa salad with vegetable, Steel Cut Oatmeal in a bowl topped with berries and bananas, steam tray filled with steamed veggies.

The Technology

The Japan-made Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer uses superior Induction Heating (IH) technology to generate high heat and make fine heat adjustments which result in fluffier aromatic rice. 

While other rice cookers use a single electrical plate at the bottom of the cooker to heat the rice, Zojirushi’s IH technology utilizes heat from a balanced magnetic field that surrounds the rice cooker. This transforms the entire inner pan into a heating source that yields evenly cooked rice – every single time.

Depiction of how the induction heating technology facilitates convection to cook the rice inside the rice cooker

After the rice has been cooked, the automatic keep warm feature keeps the rice at the best temperature to preserve freshness so you can enjoy delicious rice throughout the day. The extended keep warm function keeps your rice at an optimal temperature, preventing it from drying, which is convenient for keeping rice warm for longer. The reheat function allows the rice to be enjoyed later without changing the taste or texture.


Safe to Use and Easy to Clean Up

As always, all surfaces that come into contact with food are BPA-free. And the cooker is designed to be easy to clean, including a self-cleaning function that reduces lingering scents between uses. 

The thick-black spherical inner cooking pan can be removed from the cooker to wash. The dependable cooking pan is made of aluminum, durable stainless steel clad, and features double nonstick layers for effortless cleaning. 

Rice cooking pan showing the white water measuring lines

And the machine has an integrated steam vent that supports easy cleaning while preventing excessive condensation from accumulating within the device or on the outside.


Close up look at the integrated steam vent There is also a steaming tray that fits comfortably inside the rice cooker to quickly use the steam function and then can be removed for a quick wash. Additionally, enjoy easy measuring with the included rice measuring cup and easy serving with the spatula. When you’re not using the spatula, you’ll notice the bottom is self-standing, keeping your serving station clean.

Top side view of the rice cooker with the lid open. Next to it is the self standing spatula and the rice measuring cup

When you’re done cooking, serving, and storing your rice – you can easily remove the stainless-steel inner lid. This detachable machine component is easy to wash, dry, and reattach to the rice cooker for convenient, mess-free cooking.

The inner lid is being held and a stream of water is splashing on the front of the inner lid

Mother’s Day Menu

So, now that we know all the features of our product of the month – let’s explore what dishes we can make for our Mother’s Day lunch.

Plate filled with rice crackersStarter: Consider beginning your meal with a charcuterie board that features cheese, fruits, nuts, some meats, and Cheese Senbei. This cracker snack has been enjoyed in Japan, since the olden days. While originally flavored with salt and soy sauce, this recipe uses other flavors your guests will love.


Main Course: After the guests have enjoyed their drinks and appetizers, invite them to enjoy some Lasagna-Style Baked Risotto. Did you know that the word lasagna refers to one of the oldest types of pasta? It also described a dish layered with several sheets of pasta. While this dish doesn’t feature pasta, per se, it does have layers of delicious rice with meat sauce that is baked to absolute perfection. 

White bowl with mixed berries and a portion of gelato over it.Dessert: We recommend preparing an Ice Rice Gelato to finish your lovely Mother’s Day lunch. This dish is smooth and creamy. Top with whipped cream, fruit, chocolate fudge, or whatever you have on hand – and again, feel free to prepare in advance so you can enjoy the day with your guests instead of being relegated to the kitchen for the whole event.

What is your favorite recipe to make in the Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer NW-QAC10/18? Be sure to share your thoughts with us on social by tagging your photos on  Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan