Difference in rice cooker brands
I've been looking at getting a basic rice cooker and mainly looking at the following two cookers.
Zojirushi NHS-10 http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-NHS-1...
Panasonic SR-G10G http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...
The Zojirushi rice cooker is about $20, or 2/3, more than the Panasonic model. Is there a big difference in quality between the two that justifies the big difference in price? The only difference I really see is that the Zojirushi comes with a steam tray and paddle, both of which might come in handy.
I also looked at a similar Sanyo model but the reviews are not so nice.
I'm probably going to be using it 2 to 3 times a week cooking rice for 1 to 4 people so I think the above size is good. My understand is that the larger ones cannot cook smaller quantities. Most likely I'll be cooking Thai Jasmin or brown short and long grains. The reviews seem to indicate both are capable of cooking these types of rice as long as I put the correct amount of water.
Basically I'm looking for the easiest to clean models. My parents have one where the lids are hinged on the top or side and while they're great, they seem difficult to clean because there are seals, a trough, and drip cup (often forgotten and sometimes growing something inside). Since these are just the the inner pot and a glass lid, I'm thinking it should be easier to clean. Am I wrong here?
I have been using the Zojirushi NHS-06 cooker for a few years now and it works perfectly; I use it 1, 2 times a week for different kind/variety of rice.
pot and lid go in the dishwasher and is small enough to be put in the back of the counter without beeing an eye sore.
IMO, the less moving parts, the better.
it might be a little bit expensive but i'd go for a computerized model. i'm not sure what names are out there but they're called things like "neuro-fuzzy," "micom," etc. they're easier to clean because they'll never burn the rice, which i find is the most annoying thing to clean. all of the computerized models are hinged though. i don't think you can steam foods inn them either, but you can make bread in them. =)
if you're cooking brown rice you probably want one with a brown rice setting. brown rice takes longer to cook, so you would have to press to cook twice on a normal rice cooker even with the extra water, and that takes away the convenience... i don't see why you wouldn't use a pot instead, at that point.
Personally, I'd go for the Panasonic because it is 'not' non-stick and should last. I have a National (30 years old) 16 cup, aluminum. It's still going strong.
I have one year old 5 cup, non-stick, and it is showing wear - time to dump. Admittedly, a no name.
The aluminum with a little soaking in water is as easy to clean as non-stick.
Edit: I purchased a fuzzy logic and brought it home, examined it, and read the manual. Then I looked at it some more and said to myself - I do NOT want to clean this, ever, and returned it.
A 10 cup induction model cooks 1 cup of rice perfectly. The old fashioned kind makes that crust on the bottom and I never could cook less than 3 cups successfully. The crust can be a treat, but does take away from the amount of rice you can serve.
For a basic model, you can get away with buying a cheaper model. Some brands spit more, or make a thicker crust, but other than features like a steam tray they're not much different from one to the next. My frugal self wouldn't spend over $25 on a basic model on sale.
I've never had brown rice as full flavored as when it's come from a cooker with a brown rice setting.
If you like white rice, one with a hinged cover can keep a hot pot of rice going for 2-3 days. Handy for quick meals, snacks, onigiri. The one I have is very easy to clean, I've never had anything grow in the lid (which is removable for easy cleaning).