So confused about brown rice in rice cooker
OK - I like short grain brown rice, toothsome and not mushy. I actually cook delicious brown rice in my little cheap rice cooker (you just push a button and that's it.) It also cooks pretty fast - 30 to 40 minutes or so for brown. So, what's the problem? My cooker is getting kind of scratched and beat up and starting to cook a bit uneven, so I was thinking of replacing it. I love rice, so I have been tempted to upgrade to a fancy Zojirushi (induction or fuzzy logic) (is there a difference?) But, first of all, the variety of machines is confusing. Secondly, and more troubling, is that I have read that it can take up to 2 hours to cook brown rice in these fancy machines! I really don't have time for that coming home late from work. And then some people complain that the rice is mushy! Can anyone tell me whether (and why) it makes sense to upgrade to a more advanced machine? Many thanks for any thoughts.
<I have read that it can take up to 2 hours to cook brown rice in these fancy machines! I really don't have time for that coming home late from work. >
Definitely, not two hours long -- not for my fuzzy logic Zojirushi. However, these fancier rice cookers do take longer to cook (white rice or brown rice) in their normal mode. There is a reason for this. Instead of just ramping up the power and cook rice. The fuzzy logic rice cookers monitor and change their power and temperature depending on the readiness of the rice. The rice comes out better than my previous rice cooker -- which was not cheap anyway. If you don't have time, then yoou always have the option of using the "fast" mode, which will speed it up, but the result is unlikely to be as good.
Oh yes, there is a timer mode if you want to use that. In other words, you can put the rice in the rice cooker, set a time for the rice cooker to start -- maybe 1 hour before you get come. For example, you put the rice and water in the rice cooker in the morning. Set the start time at 4:30 PM. By the time you get home at 5:30 PM, the rice was long done and ready.
Regarding rice being mushy, like all rice cookers or any equipment, it takes time to get to know them. If the rice is mushy, then use less water next time. It is very simple. Now, there is a reason why a Zojirushi may use less water than some other rice cookers. It has a better pressure seal and reducing water vapor from escaping, and it is cooking at a more careful and slower process which also allows the pressure to be lower and therefore less escape -- again.
This is no secret. I sometime use clay pot to cook rice.
And depending the heat level you use for your stove, the water you need is different. The higher the heat level, the more water you will need because more water vapor escapes.
The Zo soaks the rice before cooking. That is primarily why it seems to take longer from start to finish that other methods. My fuzzy logic also has the option of quick cook which basically skips the soaking. I never use that feature though. It does take a good 90 minutes for brown rice. I do think that the Zo cooks better rice than my steamer did.
If you go to their website they lay out the differences between their models pretty well
They have induction with pressure or without for example. You can also read the instruction manuals for the different models. I did that when I was choosing which model to buy and found it helpful because I'd never owned a rice cooker before.
Also there is a timer setting where you can choose what time you want your rice ready, for example when you usually get home from work. Just make sure the clock is set on the rice cooker to your local time.
I have an induction/no-pressure Zojirushi. Really does make the best rice.
If people are complaining that the rice is mushy they can always add less water! A rice cooker is a very simple tool and it is up to the user to optimize the results. My white rice was coming out dry until I looked at the rice and realized that there were a lot of broken pieces, making it much more dense than usual, so it needed more water than the marking on the side of the bowl.
The brown rice setting takes longer, but there is also a speed cook setting. Of course the rice comes out better and more evenly cooked when done the long way. If you can just add the rice and water and program it in the morning, you can time it to be done at the appropriate time.
Each bag of rice is different too. My last bag of rice I filled exactly to the measured line and it came out perfect, this new bag is from a newer crop and takes less water, if I fill to the line it becomes too soft. Sometimes you gotta play with it the first couple times to get it perfect.
Thank you all for your thoughts and advice. I must say, that clay pot meal does look delicious, and there is something appealing about such a traditional, low tech cooking method.
Maximilien probably has the most sensible advice - why not just stick with the cheap cooker that I already am happy with? But I keep thinking that there is perhaps even more wondrous rice out there that I have not yet experienced. Is the emperor wearing any clothes? If I ever take the plunge and get a Zo, I'll report back.
I have a Sanyo fuzzy logic cooker with a timer. I can put the rice and water in, set the time, and the rice is ready at the time I set. It's great for weekdays since I come home to fresh cooked rice, and can get dinner on the table within minutes.