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Rice cooker troubleshooting

Rice cooker troubleshooting

Old Feb 19, 17, 7:00 pm
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Rice cooker troubleshooting

We just made jasmine rice in our Zojirushi rice cooker, and it came out an overcooked mess. This has never happened before - usually it's just foolproof. We put in 3/4 of a cup of rice (the little plastic cup that comes with the rice cooker) and filled the pan to about where the 3/4 mark for white rice would be. Set the rice cooker to the "White Rice" setting and press Start. The rice came out as a coagulated mass, no individual grains. It took a little over an hour to finish, which seemed long to me too, but I usually don't make white rice so I am not sure.

Where did I go wrong? This is how I do it every time (with brown rice, on the brown rice setting) and it's always perfect.
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Old Feb 19, 17, 7:04 pm
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Whenever I cook white rice in my rice cooker i rinse it multiple times until the water runs clear....otherwise it just releases starch into the water and can end up like that.
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Old Feb 19, 17, 7:14 pm
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Never used a Zojirushi (probably one of the few east asians who do not possess an electronic rice cooker) but i would appear you used too much water.

I prefer to use the volume measure method as it is fool proof. 1 1/2 parts water to 1 part white jasmine rice, and FWIW, 2 parts water to 1 part white basmati rice (previously soaked).

If you want to do the depth method, I do seem to recall that the height of water in the cooking pot (with the rice) should be 2x the height of immersed white jasmine rice.
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Old Feb 19, 17, 7:29 pm
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
We just made jasmine rice in our Zojirushi rice cooker, and it came out an overcooked mess. This has never happened before - usually it's just foolproof. We put in 3/4 of a cup of rice (the little plastic cup that comes with the rice cooker) and filled the pan to about where the 3/4 mark for white rice would be. Set the rice cooker to the "White Rice" setting and press Start. The rice came out as a coagulated mass, no individual grains. It took a little over an hour to finish, which seemed long to me too, but I usually don't make white rice so I am not sure.

Where did I go wrong? This is how I do it every time (with brown rice, on the brown rice setting) and it's always perfect.
Very odd. My guess is that either a) the cooker is broken or b) you somehow screwed up the proportions. Given that 3/4 cup of rice costs pennies, maybe start from scratch with another batch and see if the same thing occurs? I've owned my Zojirushi for five years or so and used it to cook thousands of cups of rice (medium grain brown, short grain sushi, basmati, purple, mixed grain, you name it) and have never had it miss.

ETA: Did the rice come from a bag you'd previously used, or is it from a new bag? I suspect rice doesn't easily go "bad" but worth considering. Also, do you clean the removable part of the lid after every use?
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Old Feb 19, 17, 8:47 pm
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Thanks all. I suspect not rinsing the rice may be the culprit. Will try that next time.

Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
Very odd. My guess is that either a) the cooker is broken or b) you somehow screwed up the proportions. Given that 3/4 cup of rice costs pennies, maybe start from scratch with another batch and see if the same thing occurs? I've owned my Zojirushi for five years or so and used it to cook thousands of cups of rice (medium grain brown, short grain sushi, basmati, purple, mixed grain, you name it) and have never had it miss.

ETA: Did the rice come from a bag you'd previously used, or is it from a new bag? I suspect rice doesn't easily go "bad" but worth considering. Also, do you clean the removable part of the lid after every use?
It's a new bag that we bought maybe a couple weeks ago. The proportions were correct. We didn't want to wait another hour for dinner, so we didn't make it again.
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Old Feb 19, 17, 9:08 pm
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I don't see either not pre-washing/rinsing the rice (although I always do) or storage conditions of the rice making a difference. All the white basmati and white jasmine rice I normally buy - packaged for the south and east asian markets respectively which collectively number in the hundreds of thousands where I am - are not hermetically sealed unless I buy small packages sold for the "western" market.

Only thing I can is the rice having been previously heated, perhaps used for a weight when baking pie crust.
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Old Feb 20, 17, 1:13 am
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I use one myself. And just checked my rice cooker and the measurements are 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2 cups

Anyways, what I usually do is:

-Make sure rice cooker is set to white rice
-Rinse white rice till clear
-After rinsing, make sure water is properly matched to the corresponding line
-Wipe the cooking pan till dry
-Put pan and cooker, press start
-In the end, you'll hear some kind of tone indicating its finished
-I usually fluff the rice with the paddle once its finished cooking
-Once finished, press reset
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Old Feb 20, 17, 1:24 am
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Sounds like you accidentally added too much water.

Try another batch.
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Old Feb 20, 17, 4:14 am
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maybe the zoji is not made for that scale? and the water mark is not linear for that small cook?

i use my zoji with minimum quantity of 1 cup. on the smart/neurofuzzy/whatever model, timing is ~40min for a full cook (though the timer indicates 60), and ~20min for an abbreviated cook (though the timer indicates 40)

funny thing about rice:water ratio.
the western rule of thumb says 1:2.
the asian rule of thumb is to go 1 knuckle above the rice [should be called rule of index finger?]
the real asian way is simply to eyeball

none of which is really consistent with the zoji way
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Old Feb 20, 17, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
Thanks all. I suspect not rinsing the rice may be the culprit. Will try that next time.



It's a new bag that we bought maybe a couple weeks ago. The proportions were correct. We didn't want to wait another hour for dinner, so we didn't make it again.
Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
I don't see either not pre-washing/rinsing the rice (although I always do) or storage conditions of the rice making a difference. All the white basmati and white jasmine rice I normally buy - packaged for the south and east asian markets respectively which collectively number in the hundreds of thousands where I am - are not hermetically sealed unless I buy small packages sold for the "western" market.

Only thing I can is the rice having been previously heated, perhaps used for a weight when baking pie crust.
I use a rice washing bowl/strainer when making white rice, but I'm occasionally lazy and don't bother. The worst problem it's caused is white goop on the lid (particularly the steam hole), but never what I'd call a "coagulated mass." Not to mention, he was using jasmine rice, which isn't particularly sticky/glutinous compared to other varieties.

Originally Posted by deniah View Post
maybe the zoji is not made for that scale? and the water mark is not linear for that small cook?

i use my zoji with minimum quantity of 1 cup. on the smart/neurofuzzy/whatever model, timing is ~40min for a full cook (though the timer indicates 60), and ~20min for an abbreviated cook (though the timer indicates 40)

funny thing about rice:water ratio.
the western rule of thumb says 1:2.
the asian rule of thumb is to go 1 knuckle above the rice [should be called rule of index finger?]
the real asian way is simply to eyeball

none of which is really consistent with the zoji way
That's a possibility. IMHO, given the relatively low price* of rice, you might as well cook full cups and not fractions.




* Not particularly inexpensive, we've been loving Carolina Plantation's Charleston Gold rice, which is an heirloom variety, to make a purloo with bacon, smoked trout, salmon (sometimes shrimp) and tomatoes. I threw in some peas the last time. But it's definitely not a Zojirushi kind of rice.
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Old Feb 20, 17, 8:04 am
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That's also a good point, that the scale may not be linear. Come to think of it, I think I usually do make a full cup at a time. Will also do that next time.

I'll have to try Carolina Gold...and purloo.
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Old Feb 20, 17, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
That's also a good point, that the scale may not be linear. Come to think of it, I think I usually do make a full cup at a time. Will also do that next time.

I'll have to try Carolina Gold...and purloo.
Re. purloo: This is the first purloo recipe I made, and now I just use it as a guide.

Rather than starting with peanut oil, I cook a few slices of bacon in the bottom of my Dutch oven, pull out the bacon when it's crisp and saute a minced onion and garlic in the bacon fat. Once the garlic and onion is cooked, I throw in a can of smoked trout and saute for about a minute to bring out the flavor. Then I add chopped skinless salmon (maybe 8 oz), a cup of the Carolina Gold rice, a bay leaf, a container of grape tomatoes (sliced) or can of chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper and the bacon. Last time I also added about a cup of frozen peas. I then cover it with chicken or seafood stock (enough so it covers the rice and then some), bring it to a simmer, cover and cook it 30-60 minutes until the rice is soft. (I start checking it at about 30 minutes and add stock as necessary.) It's a very flexible and forgiving recipe!
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Old Feb 20, 17, 4:02 pm
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This is the step I do to cook white rice:
- Remember how many cups of rice do you use.
- Wash it 2x
- Put the same amount cup of water.
- don't forget to push the start button on the rice cooker.
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Old Feb 21, 17, 4:17 am
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I have a zojirushi rice cooker. Usually I use it for japonica rice, occasionally for long grains, such as jasmine or basmati.

Firstly, you have to put in a minimum of one cup of rice in a zojirushi machine. Otherwise, there isn't enough steam generated to let it do it's job (EDIT - see below)

Rinsing may well be important. I never miss out this step as I understand how important it is with Japanese rice. Also, good rinsing will reduce arsenic levels by up to 50% (admittedly long thin grain rices typically have lower levels, but it's always good to reduce levels further).
I rinse using a classic Japanese technique.

Firstly - don't use the rice cooker bowl to rinse (it will reduce the life of the non stick coating considerably if this becomes a habit*).
Place the rice in a different bowl, add water and drain the rice. Once drained, firmly but carefully massage the rice between your hands. Do this at least 20 times. Add water and rinse the rice another three times or so until the water runs clear (you can collect this water to feed plants with). Work quickly so that the discarded white water isn't absorbed back into the rice - this can affect the taste.

Different kinds of rice, and differently aged rice from the same source, will require different amounts of water. Jasmine rice will need anything between 1 cup of rice to 1 or 1 and a quarter cups of water. I find that the indicator of how much water to rice on the zojirushi bowl can be a bit overgenerous.
When pouring in the water try and always do it when standing in the same place so that the angle of observation is consistent. Then check carefully to see if the water line is just under the mark, on it, or just above it. Results can change by quite a lot depending on where you are.

The amount IS very important though. Use 1 cup minimum to get the best out of your machine (ours is a small 3 cup model).

* There's actually a lot that will reduce the life of a rice machine bowl - as well as using it to wash and rinse rice, making brown rice, and particularly sautéing ingredients or adding oil to make mixed ingredient dishes will affect the bowl. We replaced an earlier Sanyo model with our current Zojirushi and took in a lot of the advice given to us from a Toshiba rice cooker expert (she was amazing) who we met at Yodobashi Camera in Asakusa. Two years later having endured heavy daily use and the bowl is still like new.

---
Now I think about it, the settings in your zojirushi may have ¾ as a minimum amount because it's taking into account that 1 standard Japanese cup is less than an American one.
My kitchen has a few cups from Japanese 100yen stores so I always have one to hand when measuring for the rice cooker. My machine is for the UK/European market and the markings are like the ones in Japan.
In short, what is 1 rice cup for me may be marked ¾ rice cup for you.

Last edited by LapLap; Feb 21, 17 at 9:20 am
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Old Feb 21, 17, 7:02 am
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About minimum quantities (the ¾ cup amount comment really threw me!)
http://www.zojirushi.com/grains/nslac05.html

Interesting how the manufacturer suggests you can make a minimum of ½ a cup when making shorter brown or white rice but that you need a minimum of 1 cup for jasmine rice.

Personally, whilst I might use less than a cup if I were to make brown rice as it needs more water than white (something I don't do as I prefer to use a pressure cooker for brown rice and the arsenic levels for non-California grown japonica brown rice are a bit worrying when cooking for a small child. I do often add a tablespoon of other grains - particularly millet - to white rice in the zojirushi instead) I never use less than a cup of white japonica rice.
That translated talk I had with the Toshiba lady was REALLY informative.
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