Best-est Rice Cooker EVAH: Zojirushi NP-NVC10

Posted in Kitchen on March 9, 2018

If you want the best rice flavor and you are in the market for a top-notch rice cooker and money is not an issue, then you found your perfect match. This Zojirushi makes use of all the best technology available today to deliver tasty and soft rice (without mushiness) each and every time. You get much more than your dollars’ worth, although it is a bit pricey – click here to see current prices on Amazon or keep on reading below for my Zojirushi NP-NVC10 review.

Uses

This Zojirushi will make you all types of delicious rice you can imagine. Other than the most obvious type, white rice, it also has dedicated menus for:

  • Brown rice. Here it adds preheating time, which increases water absorption, and uses lower cooking temperatures as well, increasing cooking time and transforming hardness into bran rice – without mushiness.
  • Sushi rice. The main difference here from simple white rice is that sushi rice gets handled once it is cooked, using less water on the cooking process. It is slightly firmer.
  • Mixed rice. This is rice cooked with seasonings or extra ingredients. The cooking temperatures are lower, so the ingredients do not boil over.
  • Porridge. This rice cooker prepares fluffier porridge by allowing lower cooking temperatures and longer cooking times, resulting in softer texture.
  • GABA Brown Rice. This menu setting allows for increased levels of gamma/aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is an amino acid believed to help lower blood pressure, improve kidney function, and reduce stress levels. This function works by soaking brown rice at 104 °F (40 °C) during 2 hours before the starting the cooking process.

Features

  • AI Fuzzy Logic Technology. This uses artificial intelligence to accumulate previous cooking experiences and improve the cooking results each time. Even if the season changes, and water and room temperatures change as well, the rice results are always consistent. This also allows your unit to remember the rice amounts you use most often and select the best cooking flow via a special microchip – which computes cooking temperature and duration, regulates your raw grain pre-soaking time, and even the amount of time for the final steaming period before serving you the best rice possible.
  • Induction Heating. IH distributes the heat more evenly throughout the cooking pan, so the final result is both precise and uniform.
  • IH Pressure System. This allows the unit to cook rice at higher temperatures than 212 °F (100 °C), and the final result is rice that remains soft for longer periods of time.
  • Platinum-Infused, Non-Stick Inner Cooking Pan. The platinum particles infused in the nonstick coating alkalize water. This water breaks the surface protein in the rice grain, so water penetrates the grain easier. As a result, your rice flavor is enhanced.
  • Umami Setting. The Japanese consider it a 5th flavor, adding to salty, sweet, bitter, and sour. Its name comes from the Japanese word for “deliciousness” or “good flavor”. This setting soaks rice for a longer period, so the sugar contained within the grain is gradually released into the cooking water. This sugar will then stick to the rice grain surface once the cooking begins, and the rice will taste sweeter. The steaming time at the end of the cooking process is also extended for improved flavor.

Additional Features

  • Steam-Reduce Setting. The steaming time is reduced by 50% for slightly firmer rice texture.
  • Scorched Setting. It toasts the bottom of the pot for a crispier texture and immediate consumption.
  • Extended Keep Warm. It will use a lower temperature setting for allowing a longer keep warm period of time.
  • Reheat Function. In only 5-8 minutes, it will increase the rice temperature as if you were just finished cooking after you used the Keep Warm or Extended Keep Warm settings.

Performance

You can cook white rice using the quick setting in 33-36 minutes, depending on the water and the room temperature. The regular setting is 54-57 minutes, and umami setting is 74 minutes.

The results are always spectacular, fluffy, and very consistent. This model is especially good for cooking brown rice – which is a harder feat.

The inner coating is high quality and it is very easy to clean, which leads to using it more often and eating rice more often.

The smaller version (1.0 liter) cooks anywhere from 1 to 5.5 Japanese cups of uncooked rice, and the bigger version (1.8 liters) cooks between 3 and 10 cups of rice. That means 11 rice bowls for the 5.5-cup rice cooker, more than enough for 2 people plus guests.

If eating white rice, my usual measurement is 2/3 of a cup of uncooked rice per person. Fried rice means 1 cup per person.

Personally, I prefer the smaller size (5.5-cup/1 liter) than the bigger one (10-cup/1.8 liter) since I do not plan on receiving too many people at once in my home and I can't justify the extra money it costs plus the extra space it occupies while I will rarely, if ever, use its main benefit - the increased capacity.

Unboxing

The box that arrives at your house weights 14.6 lbs (6.6 kg). The unit itself weights 13 lbs (5.8 kg).

Open the box and you will find the Zojirushi NP-NVC10, the warranty and user manual booklets, the spatula and its holder, and two measuring cups – one for rice, another for rinse-free rice.

Dimensions

This rice cooker measures 10.1 in (25.6 cm) wide x 15.4 in (39.1 cm) deep x 8.6 in (21.8 cm) high. It is not too cumbersome or heavy.

The standard cabinet size is 24 in (61 cm) deep, so you still have 8-ish inches (20-ish centimeters) between you and this unit, which is enough to accommodate small rice bowls for servings, spoons, and most practical needs during and after cooking.

Pros

  • Taste. It is hard to imagine rice can taste better than this. Here is a good case where you get your money’s worth.
  • Made in Japan. Japanese rice cooker brands usually have two lineups: the ones made in China are cheaper and sold at a lower price range, and the ones made in Japan and able to use the finest technology that delivers the best flavor each and every time.
  • Better Bowl Design. The NP-NVC10 is capable is cooking tastier rice and deliver more uniform results partially due to improvements achieved in design by the Zojirushi engineers.
  • Easy To Clean. I strongly believe in appliances that are easy to wash get to be used very often. When cleaning becomes a chore, appliances get boxed and forgotten. The detachable inner lid allows you to quickly wash it under the sink and wipe clean the inside of your rice cooker.
  • Easy-To-Read LCD Screen. This is especially important if you intend to use the clock and timer features.

Cons

  • One-Trick Pony. You are not supposed to cook steel cut oats, bake cakes, steam food or use it as a slow cooker or prepare anything non-rice really. Since this is a pressure rice cooker, Zojirushi says doing so may clog up vent and filters on this model’s inner lid – its grains are smaller than rice’s.
    • Some users on Amazon have reported cooking steel cut oatmeal by pre-soaking it, using the porridge setting, and cooking smaller amounts of grain each time. They have not reported any issues doing so.
    • My take? Officially, you may damage your high-end rice cooker and void the warranty by using it in this way, so it is your call on how to proceed.
  • Daily Use Of A Pressure Cooker. Due to the extra safety and sealing needed to operate a pressure cooker, simple lid operations such as opening and closing it once you cooked something gets more difficult after the rice cooker has been off for a while. Pressing the upper button does not always release the lid instantly due to the pressure. Closing the lid demands a little more patience than normal rice cookers. All that while not forcing anything open or close. It is that tiny extra patience you need in exchange for the flavor in each and every meal.
  • 24-Hour Clock Only. Here it is me nitpicking. Users are stuck with military time for using the timer, which is probably to avoid confusion between programming the timer for 06:00 for the breakfast or 18:00 for dinner. However, how hard could it be to allow the extra space for a little AM and another tiny PM by the clock?

Cost-Benefit Ratio

Answering this will strongly depend on what your uses and expectations are. (Duh!)

I can see this unit working really well for Asian families, people who lived in Asia for a while, people who like brown rice but dislike its hardness, and simply people who like rice.

On the other hand, if you simply want rice and don’t care all that much about it, you are probably better off with a cheaper rice cooker or even a cheap pressure cooker and using the money for something else you value.

If you like brown rice, then you will be using a lot of the GABA Brown Rice preset mode that pre-soaks rice for longer and uses pressure to cook rice at a higher temperature, resulting in brown rice as soft as white rice. This is the best Zojirushi rice cooker currently for sale outside of Japan – meaning it has menus in English and no need for electrical transformers. The NP-NVC10 is as good as rice can get for the moment.
Click here to buy it now from Amazon

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