Cooking rice can be a futile exercise, it might not seem like it but there is a lot to appreciate when the process is right. For example: doing it by stovetop can be done, but more often than not it isn’t exactly great.
Thank the culinary gods that rice cookers are relatively foolproof. in fact, it was pretty effortless with the Zojirushi NP-HCC10 to the point of impressive.
Because it’s a rice cooker that’s proudly made in Japan, imagine an exterior like every other traditional compact cooker and there you have it. However, there are some aesthetic traits that stand out like sporting a stainless steel appearance with smoke grey plastic accents, and a digital control panel that’s very easy to understand and navigate without immediately referring to the manual. Open it up and you’re treated to removable stainless steel inner lid/nonstick coated pan arrangement that’s labeled with cup measurements. Of course, Zojirushi gives you the necessary non-scratch spatula, detachable holder, and measuring cup.
Selections for the NP-HCC10 are simple enough but the options are plentiful to get you experimenting. Making basic white rice provided the most choices between texture as softer, harder, Quick Time, and even mixed varieties should appease those who want better rice in general. This cooker also accommodates Jasmine, Sushi, porridge, Sweet Rice, Brown, and GABA Brown rice; which the latter is optimized to activate gamma-aminobutyric acids for nutritional value. For extra servings the “keep warm” will stay on for hours or extended up to an entire day. One random thing we enjoyed are the jingles that plays when the everything kicks in and alert you when it’s all done; it’s somewhat adorable to hear “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.
If you’ve never used a rice cooker before the directions are very simple, but do involve proper measurements in order to get the best quality possible. Zojirushi in particular recommends doing a quick repeated rinse and wash in cold water (below 60°F/15.5°C) beforehand, this type of preparation is to clean the rice and help bring out the taste. Fortunately, induction heating (IH) technology does help by self-correcting the time and active temperature when needed in the inevitable occurrence of human error, or by manually adjusting things yourself if you actually know what you’re doing.
We specifically tested the common modes: White (including texture and quick cook selections) and both brown rice variants. The NP-HCC10 in general produced repeatedly exceptional batches and firmness when said options are enabled, coming out perfectly steamed without being scorched or noticeably glutinous under the normal process. Brown rice fares even better, uniformly tender and retaining a good bit of flavor and chew to compliment — but god, the prep time will test your patience at a lengthy hour and a half for the privilege.
But the Quick Time mode is more noteworthy, since it halves the white rice timing by an average of 24-27 minutes. Unless you’re making something that’s uniquely tailored to Asian cuisine, many people will be content with this no-fuss alternative and moderately firmer grains as a result. Another perk is the sushi mode which fortunately, the NP-HCC10 appropriately does in 33-minute intervals, moist and gummy Japanese rice is handled very well and will put some initial ease into making traditional Maki rolls.
The Zojirushi NP-HCC10 Rice Cooker is as intelligent as it is broad, capable of turning a non-chef into a potential gourmet the first time. It’s damn-near perfect if you’re into a plethora of healthier options, however, all of those premium features come with an exuberant manufacturer price of over three-hundred to match. But this is a seriously dedicated rice cooker and you’ll certainly get what you pay for, we’re converted at least.