Easy, Compact Kitchen Appliance
Umami NS-YAC10 (left) and NS-RNC10 (right)
We consider the rice cooker a convenient and efficient kitchen helper. We tested two Zojirushi models: the high tech, diverse kitchen wizard, Umami NS-YAC10, complete with bells and whistles, and the basic model NS-RNC10 to be used simply for preparing white or brown rice.
First, let’s talk simple. We use rice in many dishes. Our favorite go to weekday preparations would be vegetable fried rice and rice, beans, and cheese. The basic 5–1/2 cup rice cooker works perfectly for these recipes. We simply follow the Zojirushi manual’s cooking directions, which instructs the user to add water and rinsed long grain white rice to the washable insert. According to the guide, we let the rice soak in water for 30 minutes, turned on the cooker, and in about 30 additional minutes, we had as much cooked rice as we needed for two recipes.
The cooker will automatically keep the rice warm. We prepared the beans rice and cheese that evening – because we like the rice freshly cooked for this recipe, and refrigerated the rest for use later in the week – for our fried rice preparation. (Fried rice is best prepared from refrigerated cooked rice). We have decided to keep our rice cooker parve, which makes its use quite versatile for both dairy and meat meals. In summary, if you have some counter or storage space and use rice regularly in your recipes, this is the cooker for you.
Now on to the Umami NS–YAC10 model – Zojirushi's newest model. It also makes 5–1/2 cups of cooked rice. If you are a rice lover and want the option to prepare different types of rice, this is definitely a model for consideration. The YAC10 model gives you the option to make white, rinse–free, brown, sushi, sweet, GABA brown*, umami** or mixed rice. Plus, it has slow cooker and warming options. It comes with two rice measuring cups: one for white rice and one for rinse–free rice. Also included is a plastic spatula, used for stirring the rice, and a spatula holder that fits onto the side of the rice cooker. The removable cooking bowl has water measuring lines that correspond to the number of cups of rice you are making, thus eliminating the need for a measuring cup. It definitely has bells and whistles as it beeps when it starts and it beeps when it is finished cooking. The LCD screen shows the minutes left to completion and, like the RNC10 model, it automatically switches to the Warm setting when cooking is completed – it is very nice!
After reading the instruction manual (several times), we needed to determine the type of rice (long, short, medium) we were using and the setting. We have to admit, the first time we used the rice cooker, it was not so easy. Once we figured out the setting for the rice, Basmati (long grain), we pressed the button and waited... we also watched the LCD screen. We prepared the rice twice – using the white and the rinse–free options. The white rice option produced a gummier texture, while the rinse–free option produced grains that were more separated. Both were delicious.
We will definitely use this model and look forward to becoming more versed in the many options it offers.
We have included a rice types and specialty varieties chart we compiled from data obtained from the USA Rice Federation - it will help in determining the type of rice you are using. Enjoy the following rice recipes: Burrito-Less Beans, Rice and Cheese and Vegetarian Fried Rice.
Some interesting rice tidbits:
• Rice is the primary dietary staple for more than half of the world's population.
• Rice is grown right here in the U.S. More than 20 billion pounds of rice is produced each year by farmers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Texas, Missouri and Mississippi.
• Eighty-five percent of the rice consumed in the U.S. is grown here.
• Americans consume about 26 pounds of rice per year.
Additional rice recipes can be found at the Zujirushi website. The Zojirushi NS-RNC10 Automatic 5.5-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer and the Zojirushi NS-YAC10 Umami Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer models are available on Amazon.com.
*GABA brown rice is Germinated brown rice and comes from the process of bringing brown rice into germination. It takes 3 hours & 40 minutes to cook.
**Please read Wikipedia for the definition of Umami rice. It takes 1 hour & 20 minutes to cook.
May 9, 2011