Best Japanese Rice Cookers to Buy
Must Buy Rice Cookers in Japan and Easy Japanese Recipes with Rice Cookers
Rice cooker is one of the most popular electronic products to buy in Japan among international travellers. There are many manufacturers, features and functions when it comes to rice cookers. If you look into every single products, it would take forever and would be too hard to choose the one for yourself..
In this post, I am going to introduce you some of best Japanese rice cookers today, as well as 3 delicious food recipes which you can cook easily using rice cookers!
So, as I mentioned, there are numbers of different types of rice cookers sold in Japan today. I’d like to briefly introduce the major features of common rice cookers and which one to choose.
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< Size >
Size of rice cookers are displayed in “GO” (合) which is the Japanese counter words for rice. 1 Go is approx 150g. 10 go is also called 1 “Sho” (升)
The sizes of rice cookers varies on how many Go of rice can be cooked as below:
– 3 Go size (approx. 450g): This size would be perfect if you are living alone or with your partner. It wouldn’t take up much space.
-5 Go size (approx. 750g): It is a perfect size for a family of three to four.
-1 Sho size/10 Go size (approx. 1,800g): Great for family of more than four.
< Features >
-Distinctive cooking feature:
There are many kinds of rice: white rice, washing unnecessary rice, brown rice, haiga-mai, zakkoku-mai (mixed rice). Distinctive cooking feature allows you to cook differently depending on what kind of rice you are cooking in the most delicious way!
-Hardness selection feature:
The function which allows you to choose the hardness of the rice does come in handy. If you want a particular hardness or want to change the hardness by a dish, then this would be a great function.
When rice nearly gets done cooking, the rice cooker will produce so much steam. This could be dangerous for a small child if they accidentally approach the cooker. However, if you use a steam-less/non-steam rice cooker, then you don’t have to worry about your child getting burnt by the steam. Also, it won’t allow the smell to come out, so that you don’t have to worry about it either.
There are some rice cookers you can bake bread. From dough making ferment and rice to an actual baking process will be all done by a rice cooker, so all you have to do is turn on the switch and wait.
An eco rice cooker can cook rice with using less electricity, in another words, spending less money on electricity.
-Smartphone link feature:
There are many rice cookers with this function being sold these days. There is a special app that you can download and synchronize your phone with and enter your favorite recipes from the app to your rice cooker, which the best cooking method will be decided and cooked by a rice cooker. This will widen the range of recipes and save your cooking time.
< Style & Price Range >
-Microprocessor rice cooker
These rice cooker has an easy mechanism: heating the pot inside from the heater from the bottom of the cooker. You can cook rice fast, but the hardness of rice will not so be even, so if you are a fan of hard rice, it is the recommended one for you. It is not the best at keeping the rice warm, so if you are someone who eats the rice immediately after you cook it or doesn’t really care the kind, then these rice cookers would be the perfect one!
IRIS OHYAMA KRC-MA50-B (5.5 Go size)
This cooker alters the cooking method by a rice brand, in fact it can cook 31 different brands distinctively. Also, it has other features, for example boiling and steaming. So you can use it other than to cook rice. even though it is a microprocessor rice cooker and has all the amazing features, it is under 10,000 JPY, which is the reason why this is popular. The menu of rice cooking is available for No-wash rice, regular rice, takikomi rice, rice gruel, genmai, boil/steam with 3 different modes: distinctive cooking mode, eco mode, fast cooking mode.
Price: JPY 8,000-
TIGER JAJ-A552 WS (3 Go size)
This small capacity rice cooker has a cooking plate as an attachment which can cook a cuisine at the same time as cooking rice. In addition to that, it also has a recipe book containing 40 kinds of dishes. It is popular for those who are busy or live alone. It has “eco-cooking” recipes, which cuts approximately 10 % of your electricity use and 30 % of the steam than usual.
-IH rice cooker
As you may probably know, IH stands for “Induction Heating”. The pot inside it gets directly heated up by the electro-magnetic force which makes the heat circulates the entire pot evenly. Then, the heated pot steams up the rice inside all at once resulting in soft and giving a little sweetness to it. the price is approximately JPY 15,000-.
ZOJIRUSHI COOPERATION, NP-VQ10-TA IH rice cooker (5.5 Go size)
The high heat from this cooker makes the rice gets steamed from the inside which makes it very soft and delicious. You can choose how hard you want your rice to be from the three choices: normal, soft, hard. These rice cooker has superior temperature control. The rice inside will get hardened in a few hours if you leave it in a microprocessor rice cooker. However, these IH rice cooker can keep the softness for 30 hours by controlling the temperature. The temperature sensor at the bottom of the cooker judges the perfect heat level to avoid the moisture of the rice from going away. There are three options to choose from: Urutsuya (avoids discoloration, dryness and smell) and High (keeps the temperature to the point where you normally eat). Other than to cook rice, there are options for baking bread called “bread (fermentation/bake)” as well as, “cake menu” which you can bake delicious fluffy cakes. There is a huge range of things you can cook.
Price: JPY 23,000-
Panasonic SR-KT067-K (3.5 Go size)
This stylishly designed cooker has no buttons. Instead, it has a glass touch panel. Many people say that this simple design makes the washing up and cleaning easy. If you are into simple designs then give this a go! It is 3.5 go size and somewhat small and it can be poor in temperature control. The rice will be cooked soft evenly as all the IH rice cookers do.
Price: JPY 23,000-
-Pressure IH rice cooker
This type of rice cookers is like a combination of the power of an electromagnetic wave and pressure. The power of pressure heightens the temperature inside the jar and steams rice outright and creates soft and sweet rice. We recommend this to those who want to eat rice to be delicious even when it is not warm and want the perfect results. These can be a little pricy because of all the high-functions. Over JPY 17,000 to be precise.
ZOJIRUSHI COOPERATION, steel coated, Kiwame Hagama, NW-AB10 (5.5 Go size)
This cooker has a unique jar shape called “Hagama”. It has a protuberance in the center that looks like a feather. This structure keeps the heat from going outside of the jar and gathers the heat in the center, makes the rice easier to circulate and steams non-squished and soft rice. If you want your rice to be perfect and have delicious rice, this is the one for you.
Price: JPY 60,000-
TIGAR IH pressure earthen rice cooker, THE Takitate JPG-X (5.5 Go size)
This cooker uses an earthen jar. An earthen jar holds the heat and emits IR ray when you put heat on it. This makes the heat to go inside the rice slowly, makes it soft from the inside. Rice will be cooked more deliciously than others do thanks to the pot. There are so many benefits that you can get from steaming rice using this kind of pots, for example the excellent fragrant, the Okoge (scorched rice which tastes amazing) you can get from it and of course the fantastic tasting rice. This rice cooker can be expensive but there is no other substitute for the taste, the smell, pretty much the whole experience!
The only downside of them are that the earthen jars can be more fragile than those made of metal. Earthen jars can absorb water easily. If a jar absorbs a certain amount of water, it can crack. So you need to a little cautious when you take care of them. However, this particular TIGAR rice cooker made their jar stronger than other models that they put out.
Price: JPY 89,000-
< Recipes of 3 delicious dishes using rice cooker >
Rice cooker is not just for cooking rice! Put the ingredients in, simply turn the switch on and that’s it! you can leave until it is ready to serve. Before closing, I’d like to share three easy recipes using Microprocessor rice cooker you need to try.
– Nikujaga (meat and potato stew)
Ingredients for serving 2–3 ppl
half an onion
half a carrot
250g beef slices
200g Shirataki (noodles made from konnyaku)
50ml Soy sauce
30ml Mirin (a type of sake with low alcohol and high sugar content)
15ml granule Dashi (Japanese fish sock)
- peel the potatoes and cut in eight. Put them in the water for a while. Peel the carrots and onions as well and shopped into chunks.ws
2. mix all the【Ingredients】and put them into the pot in rice cooker.
3. push the “cook” button and all you need to do is wait! (for about an hour)
4. after it is done, put the fork through the potatoes and carrots to see it goes smoothly. If it went smoothly, put the cooker on warming mode and leave it for about an hour.
– Pork Kakuni
Ingredients for serving 2–3 ppl
350g pork back ribs
2 Boiled eggs
4 pieces of ginger
50ml soy sauce
25cc mirin (a type of sake with low alcohol and high sugar content)
5ml dashi (Japanese fish stock)
- Cut the pork into 3–4 cm into dices. Fry them without any kind of oil until the outside turn brown.
2. boil the eggs for 10 minutes using boiling water.
3. put the pork, the boiled eggs and all the seasoning into the jar of the rice cooker. Mix them all together lightly.
4. Press the “cook” button and it wait until it is done! (approx. 45 min — 1 hour)
– Hainanese chicken rice
Ingredients for serving 2–3 ppl
3 go (450g) rice (jasmine rice)
chicken breast or leg
1 green onion (not necessary)
some salt & pepper
600ml hot water
5 ml oil
10cm green onion
2.5ml grinded ginger
10ml Soy sauce
10ml oyster sauce
some Chinese chili bean sauce (Tobanjan)
5ml nam pla
- Put the rice and【Seasoning】into the rice cooker and stir them together.
2. Put the chicken (skin faced down) on top of ①(rice and【Seasoning】) with chopped green part of the green onion into the pot in the rice cooker. Turn the “fast cook mode” on which is going to take only half the time than usual.
3. leave the cooker as it is and making the sauce for the chicken rice from now on. Chop white part of the green onion and put that into a bowl. Mix the【Sauce】into the bowl as well. Also prepare the tomato and cucumber to put on the side.
4. After the rice and the chicken got cooked, cut them into easy-to-eat sizes. Stir the rice and put the rice, chicken, tomato, cucumber on the plate and it is ready to serve!
Japanese rice cookers have so many features! If you love cooking and want a specific taste/hardness when it comes to cooking rice, then we recommend you get one for yourself. There are some rice cookers that don’t have the best variety functions, but if you find your way to use them right, then you will be able to cook so many kinds of dishes with them. Have fun trying them out!
Love Japanese food and cooking? Then please check out these articles, too!