3-cup rice cooker.
My dear wife has asked for a 3-cup rice cooker for Xmas. Yes, I know it's late. Model recommendations? Links would be appreciated (I'm asking for it on a silver platter, I know).
Final question, can all rice cookers cook white *and* brown rice? (sorry, I've never used a rice cooker).
I don't have this but have heard great things about the brand (and would get this brand were I to need to replace my Cuisinart): http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-NS-LA....
I know she asked for 3 cups, but you might also want to consider going a tad larger - much more versatile if you have the space.
I just bought a 5.5 cup Zoji NS-ZCC10 and made my first batch of (brown) rice in it tonight. Highly recommend it! My older rice cooker (not a zoji) stopped working and I read so many good reviews about the zoji that I bought one and am glad I did.
It is very easy to clean, much better designed than my older one.
And, love the timer feature. I set it up this morning and programmed the rice to be done at 7 pm tonight and it was perfect, AND the best tasting brown rice I've ever had.
I also recommend the 5.5 cup because you can still make 1 cup if you wish but can make more if desired. It has white, brown and other rice type settings. Also a porridge setting for things like oatmeal.
The "Ultimate Rice Cooker" by Beth Hensperger is an excellent cookbook that tells you how to make all kinds of great things in the cooker too, like polenta, risotto, beans with rice, desserts, etc.
You can't go wrong with a Zojirushi - I'm in the UK so don't want to give specific models as they might not be the same in the US. I second those saying get the 5.5cup version - there are only 2 of us and I dithered over getting the 3 or 5.5 cup one - I'm glad we got the 5.5 cup one, especially when we have people over. The reheat setting on my Zojirushi means it's not a problem to make leftovers tasty again.
Go for a fuzzy logic one (at the very least), and then an induction heating one if you can afford it. Follow the instructions that come with it and your Zo will keep you in perfect rice for years.
The small 3-cup Zojirushi rice cooker is a bomb-proof, old school model that's utterly reliable for white or brown rice. The "Micom" 3-cup model is electronic, and more complex with added functions. The basic 3-cup model might be the place to start. Meanwhile, have a look here:
Like others have mentioned, Zojirshi is pretty much the gold standard for rice cookers if money is no object. Anything with the fuzzy technology would be good.
If you want something slightly cheaper but with a lot of advanced options, I quite like my Sanyo 3.5 cup that doubles as a slow cooker. There's a timer for the slow cooker and a separate pot. Also comes with a steamer function and tray, and a tofu making option (with tray). Not gonna make my own tofu...probably ever, but it's a cute option. Had it for over 3 years and use it at least once a week. Still going strong and love it, and was around $110 on Amazon.
Tiger brand is also good. I would go for either Zojirushi, Tiger or Sanyo. Those were the three main brands I was looking at while choosing mine. And again, anything with "fuzzy" technology and electronic doodads (heh) will be a lifesaver for those who eat rice a lot (white or brown, any kind) but aren't great at making it on the stovetop or not used to rice cookers. Most of the fancy cookers have nonstick, thick, durable pots too so along with the great temperature controls, burning and sticking is basically a worry of the past. Makes a HUGE difference!
I know the Zijirushi is considered the ne plus ultra of rice cookers, but I want to tell you about my 5.5 cup Tiger brand rice cooker.
It belonged to my Chinese ex-sister-in-law for about 12 years and she used it at least five times a week. Then it sat in a damp cellar for 7 or 8 years before I rescued it about a year ago. It has no bells and whistles. All it does is cook rice and keep it warm. You may read online that in order to cook brown rice you have to soak it first. Not true. I cook brown rice in it all the time. It requires more water and takes longer, but brown rice, white rice, short grain, long grain--I've never cooked rice that didn't come out perfectly. And it's less than half the price of most of the Zojirushi's.
I agree with those who say not to get a 3 cup cooker. I cook mostly for myself and often make just 1 cup of brown rice. But I'm really glad I have the larger capacity for when I do have company.