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Should I get the Zojirushi 3 cup or 5 1/2 cup rice cooker?

I'm ready to buy my first Zojirushi rice cooker but I'm having a difficult time deciding whether to buy the 3 cup or 5 1/2 cup model. I currently have a crappy 3 cup Salton and for the most part it makes just the right amount of rice for my boyfriend and I.

One of the main reasons why I want to get one of these rice cookers is to make Congee (or Jook). My boyfriend was recently diagnosed with an oral cancer. Right now, he's having a difficult time eating anything that has to be chewed. In a few weeks he'll undergo surgery and will have a hard time eating anything. I figure Congee might be a good and different source of some kind of nutrition besides pureeing everything.

I guess I should admit that I've never actually made Congee before (my mom used to make it for me when I was little) so I'm concerned that if I get the 3 cup cooker that it won't be enough.

These rice cookers aren't inexpensive and I absolutely hate the hassle of returning things, so I'd really appreciate some of your advice.

Thank you so much in advance for your help :)

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  1. I just made congee in my rice cooker for the first time (and actually referred to old posts here to inspire and guide me). I';d suggest you go with the 5.5 cup or larger if you plan to make congee. You need anywhere from 5 to 10 parts water to 1 part rice, unlike regular rice that is usually 2-to-1, and bc the congee can be a meal replacement, you likely will want more of it than you'd want of rice.

    I'm sorry to hear about your boyfriend -- I hope the surgery goes well.

    3 Replies
    1. re: iyc_nyc

      Thank you. After reading some recipes for it, I saw that it called for a lot more water/stock, so I was thinking the same thing. I just wasn't sure if making a smaller amount of regular jasmine rice (say 2 or 3 cups) would turn out badly in a 5 1/2 cup cooker.

      1. re: derailed16

        Derailed, the regular rice should be just fine - I often just make a small batch of rice in my 8-cup cooker. :-)

    2. Derailed,

      I am sorry to hear about your boyfriend's hardship.

      I love to make congree, especially the the century egg lean pork congee. It is my comfort food.

      http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3267/2...

      I love to make my congee on stovetop because it gives me a lot of control, but you can certainly makes it with a rice cooker. You will need to go for the 5.5 cup just because you are focusing about congee. Otherwise, 3 cup is better.

      In term of the water-to-rice ratio, that depends on how thick you want your congee to be. I like mine thin, almost soup like, so I have a high water-to-rice ratio. If you like to make Cantonese style congee, then jasmine or basmati rice works very well. if you like to make most other styles, then use short grain rice and have a lower water-to-rice ratio.

      I won't add more than 1/2 cup of rice to a 5.5 cup rice cooker, but that is really my preference. I like mine thin.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it!

        1. re: derailed16

          Best wishes. Here is an older post which may be of your interest:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/329081

          Again, you may need to play with the water-to-rice ratio because everyone's preference is different.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Thanks for that post! I got the 5.5 cup cooker last week and it's great. My boyfriend's surgery is tomorrow and because we've been trying to spend as much time as possible enjoying the time we have left, I never got a chance to make the congee. I'll make it for him after he's healed from the surgery and off the feeding tube.

            1. re: derailed16

              :) You should make the congee while he is on the feeding tube and test it yourself. Do you really want to use him as a guinea pig for your first cogee of that rice cooker? Best wishes.

      2. sorry that your boyfriend is having such a hard time. best wishes for him.

        you will definitely want the larger rice cooker for congee. i have the 3 cup zoji and it's great for 3 adults with reg. rice - but remember that the cup measure is smaller than an american cup.

        1 Reply
        1. re: redgirl

          Thank you for your wishes and advice. His surgery is tomorrow, July 19. I ended up getting the larger rice cooker last week and I'm very happy with it. Unfortunately, because of time constraints and the surgery being tomorrow, I haven't been able to make congee with it yet. It'll have to wait until he's off the feeding tube and able to eat again.