ramona.flowers PRO 3:50am, 17 January 2007
Making rice seems to be hit or miss for me. I've perfected the method for cooking a single serving with minimal error, but two or more servings either comes out undercooked, soupy, or worse (like today) undercooked AND soupy. So I am thinking about getting a rice cooker. I don't really need anything larger than 3 cups, but the selection for something that small is apparently very narrow. I'd like to spend less than 40, less than 20 would be even better. That said a Zojirushi model is out, none of those go for less than 75 (used) on Amazon as far as I can tell. Even though the small Micom sounds about perfect for me, 129 bucks is way too steep. :(

I figure since most folk here make rice on a regular basis, someone might have some suggestions for a rice cooker.
.bluesky 12 years ago
I have a 3-cup Sanyo cooker that I bought at a big asian grocery store. I see that the same one is $25 (new) on Amazon. I've been really satisfied with the results.
KJF916 12 years ago
I have the 3 cup Sanyo also and it's always worked like a trooper.
kusine 12 years ago
I used to have this one from Zojirushi and it worked like a charm. I just upgraded to an electronic one. My mom still uses this one and loves it. It's $37 on Amazon, which is near the top of your range, but I found it to be very reliable.

Your best bet may be to hit the Asian markets. There's usually several types and sizes to choose from in our local markets.
DorothySH PRO 12 years ago
I use a pampered chef microwavable rice cooker. I love it as you can not only cook in it but also store in it.
ramona.flowers PRO 12 years ago
Do those of you with the glass-lid type of cooker notice any problems with water spattering out from under the lid and making a mess on the counter? Several reviews on those types of cookers on Amazon mentioned that as a concern.

Funny story, shortly after I started looking at all the results for "rice cooker" on Amazon, I was telling my boyfriend how I think the fuzzy logic/computerized varieties are so much cooler looking than the ones in my price range, and so he asked to see one. I showed him this one and he said "That's really awesome, we should get it" and offered to pay half. Half of that is still out of my price range, but I thought it was funny that he would offer just on the sight of it.

I'm somewhat more inclined to get a cheaper one and save the fancy computerized kind for later when I am less poor, I suppose.
kusine 12 years ago
I did have a problem with splatter with mine, but only when I cooked brown rice (because it needed a bit more water than white rice). I absolutely LOVE my fuzzy logic one! And it sings. :)
KJF916 12 years ago
Hm, I've never noticed it spattering so much it hit the counter and made a mess, but it does shake, rattle and roll with a lot of steam -- so much so that I don't stand right next to it.
~emosexual_joygasm~ 12 years ago
I don't know if you're much of a hello kitty person, but I am = ) and I found
this: shop.sanrio.com/product_info.php?cPath=91_95_106&prod...
on the sanrio website, it's cost $16.50, and it's a rice cooker you use in the microwave, not sure if that's what you're looking for or not, but I figured I would post it.

p.s. sorry if I missed something and you alreay said it's not the type of thing you're looking for. I'm kind of in a hurry (getting ready to leave) so I didn't have time to read all of the posts = )
Subspace 12 years ago
I bought a rice cooker from Target for about $20 nearly five years ago and it still cooks beautiful rice.
NoriRapHowlee 11 years ago
hi everyone.
my first post so let me start by complimenting you all on your creative and undoubtedly delicious creations that you feature in the mr. bento lunch jar. very cool to see the wide range of foods and arrangements that are put into the very compartmentalized mr. bento. i sometimes refer to him as 'mr. stacks-o-snacks' for pretty obvious reasons.

on the rice cooker topic, the cheapo models are good at cooking types of rice that are easy to cook - jasmine, basmati, california long grain (white). but they might not do too well with brown rice or any of the many rice mixes that are available, unless the user is quite rice savvy and knows how to dial in his/her unit to suit his/her tastes just right. to these people, i say congrats! and don't fix what ain't broke.

to people seeking something more in their rice cooking experience, whether it be a more versatile unit, a more consistent unit, a better looking unit, or just a need for the best of the best of the best, no matter what the cost, i can say from my experience that the fuzzy logic units are better at cooking rice than the lower models - for the major part of the poplulation. some people don't eat rice at all. some people invite uncle ben over for dinner sometimes. some people ride the cablecars in rice-o-roni land. it's all good stuff when done right, but uncle ben and anything ending with 'o-roni' are usually reconstitued rice. This is rice that has been cooked, dehydrated and then rehydrated by the user during cooking. That's why it cooks really quickly. Rice cookers will all do a good job here. So would a waxed dixie cup and a campfire. Sorry uncle ben....you are more closely related to rice crispies than you are to the rice that most people are seeking when thinking rice.

The fuzzy logic adjusts on the fly, while the multiple settings allow for the perfect cooking of any rice you can find, all done automatically without any need to watch a stove or dial in a microwave to get the optimal results.

Now, the price on these little things is not in the 'cheap' range at all. They can range from $69 retail for a 3 cup unit that has some features, all the way up to $349.99 retail for the bad-mamma-jamma induction heating system 10 cup unit. so assuming that you are all independently wealthy, i'm sure that the decision will be an easy one. If there are those among you that like me, are still waiting for the announcement of the secret trust fund in my name, there is going to be some research needed to find a unit that you can justify price-wise but don't feel like you bought short features and quality-wise.

i have 4 rice cookers now. i work for a rice cooker company and might appear to be biased, but let it be known that I grew up in honolulu hawaii, as a haole boy (white kid) with nothing but japanese, chinese, korean, filipino and vietnamese kids as my friends for the first 26 years of my life. There was ALWAYS rice ready to eat in their homes. Anytime of day, any day, there was always rice cooked and sitting in a Zojirushi cooker on keep warm. My 'house' also had a Zojirushi rice cooker - a smaller unit until age 10 as the years from 3 - 9 were living aboard a sailboat with mom, dad and 2 brothers. but still the Zojirushi was omni-present. I worked at a fast food chain in hawaii named 'zippy's'. anyone that knows that name will know that they know rice like you all know mr. bento. 3 years hard-time as a fry cook taught me that college might be a good option after all, so adios to zippy's and hello to being a cook/barback at multiple sports bars / dining establishments. Cooking rice was key here as well, and the rice warmers, like the ones you see in any sushi bar, were all Zojirushi.

To make this long story end quickly, my advice is that you buy the rice cooker that is $20 over your current price range. Buy it in a Japanese, Chinese or Korean store that is 1/2 grocery and 1/2 other stuff, including appliances. The prices at these places CANNOT be beat. You won't find the same items online or in non-asian stores at the same prices, let alone lower prices.

I know this because i am in charge of selling Zojirushi rice cookers to the rest of the country, via any and all of the non-asian stores, online and brick and mortar. I compete with my peer that handles the asian division, and should point you to places that i handle, but the deal is found in the smaller asian grociers. Wait until they have a sale - or better yet - a festival. summertime they may have a tent sale and offer sweeeet pricing on items. go get the unit you can't afford unless you cut back on a couple of martini's this weekend. it's worth it i promise. if you don't live where there are asian stores, hit up amazon.com,. cooking.com, pleasanthillgrain.com or just google any of the words used in my mini-novel here....thanks and happy rice cooking!

KJF916 11 years ago

I'm sorry, you were awfully brief. Could you be more specific?

::huge grin::
.ams PRO 11 years ago

Great info, Morgan!!
ramona.flowers PRO 11 years ago
LOL. Thanks for the replies, everyone! Morgan, you may appreciate the humor in this especially, but one cooker I was looking at on Amazon had a review in which the user said they have cooked Uncle Ben's rice with their new expensive cooker and were pleased with the results each time. [ba-dum-bum krssh]

I think I pretty much have my heart set on the Zojirushi NS-LAC05, but since I don't think I have much chance of winning the anniversary contest and getting a free one, I'm probably going to have to wait a lot longer than I'd like to purchase it. My finances are stretched in too many ways already.
NoriRapHowlee 11 years ago
hello again from mr. yappy.

i posted the synopsis version of my essay on rice cookers, so i hope it wasn't to skeletal in trying to establish the framework for my dissertation (sometimes refered to as: filibuster) on all things rice.

hee hee. thank you for the kind jabs on my way-too-long posting. they are well deserved and absorbed by the body built by carbs in the fun spirit in which i assume they were made. if they were hostile in nature, that's cool too. look at the posting! sheesh, it's like a hundred time bigger than the others, and it doesn't say much more in the end....maybe i need to take a class or something.

note to my dad: see dad, that's what happens when you tell me to take only writing intensive classes in school! :-)

back to the point of rice cookers - if you can get the results you want out of a unit that is $10, or if Uncle Ben is a close family friend, go for it and keep on doing what's working. Nothing worse than tinkering with something that is fine.

But do try to find someone that has an induction unit so you can at least try the rice that it produces. it's not orgasmic or life changing (not at first anyway!) but you, as the bento-wise people you are, would be denying yourself the experience, if you choose not to seek out the perfect grain.

i often explain it like this when speaking to my less-than-rice-savvy customers: the goal is to get as much water into the grain as possible, without bursting the grain.

the best rice cooker is the one that you have available to you at the time - keep eating rice and keep experimenting with rice cookers as other things. and remember, if your rice is fuzzy, you probably don't have a fuzzy rice cooker! ;-)

Christine Cowen 11 years ago
I have the Aroma rice cooker/steamer combo. it works great, but it does have a glass lid and has a tendency to splatter (mostly if I have it UNDER a cabinet, it makes a mess).
NoriRapHowlee 11 years ago
hi c.m.
are you cooking brown rice in the aroma unit? if so, try cooking a max 80% of the capacity of the pan. if it's 5 cup, max 4; 10 cup, max 8, etc.
brown rice takes longer to abosorb water, so boiling time is longer, leading to more chance of splattering. the steam from a cooker can mess up a cabinet if it's too close (the paint might discolor over time. but the steamer function adds plenty of cool options to your unit so experiment and enjoy the yumminess - all via a mr. bento lunch box of course.... :)
Subspace 11 years ago
I want to get in on this rice-novella industry.

I have several close friends who are Japanese (and a few Japanese-American) who all grew up using heavy-duty Zojirushi rice-cookers, and they love them. Some of my friends who lived in a large house together even had this insane 20-cup model that was made for a sushi restaurant, and every night someone would clean out the cooker and load it up again. No matter what time of day i stopped by their house there was a great heap of steamed rice ready-to-eat, which made them a frequent destination on drunken weekend nights.

That being said, as I mentioned before I have a cooker that cost less than $20, and I cook everything from long-grain to short-grain, I cook a great deal of haiga rice, which still has the germ on it, I cook brown rice, black rice, red rice, wild rice, I even cook a mix that my boyfriend somewhat kindly refers to as "beauty bark" -- it contains three kinds of rice and about five other grains including barley. All of these turn out just fine in my cooker.

I say this in a very sporting tone, but I think you can make anything work. As much as I love Zojirushi, they really are out of a lot of people's price range. I honestly have learned from my Asian friends with more rice-cooking experience that understanding how to cook rice, i.e., being able to measure levels of water with your fingers (also known as "the knuckle method") is more important than how much money you've spent on a cooker.

I think if you're cooking rice a few times a week it warrants buying a cooker. If you've got a few hundred dollars to blow on a cooker, then awesome. If you don't, then for no money at all you can research how to cook rice properly the way that people have been cooking it for a bazillion years, whether that be with a cheapo cooker or with a pot and some water.

Experiment. Try a pot of rice without rinsing the rice before cooking, then make the same amount again, this time with the rice rinsed until the water ran clear. Which is to your preference? Try eating rice right after it is cooked, and then the next time you make rice, make sure it's lid is on tight and let is sit for 10 to 15 minutes before eating. Which is to your preference? If you don't like brown rice, try mixing a small proportion of brown to white and see if it works for you. Try other brands of brown rice. Try adding things to your rice during cooking or after cooking - "sushi" vinegar, or rice vinegar with salt and sugar added, makes plain rice taste oddly fresher to me, but my boyfriend thinks it makes rice taste spoiled unless it's at room temperature or colder (for example, in sushi). Try adding furikake (seaweed and other flavored 'sprinkles' for jazzing up rice) to the rice while it is still cooking for a less sharp flavor. Try salting the rice with some natural salt while it is cooking. It tastes different, somehow (and not just salty, dur).

These are all avenues worth exploring as much as a new rice cooker is.
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