Historically, two world-famous electrics companies are associated with the rice cooker. The initial developer of the rice cooker in Japan was associated with Toshiba, one of the biggest electric companies in the world. Much later, in 2006, Mitsubish Electric made some significant advances in rice cooker history by developing a smart electric cooker model in Japan which remains popular to this day. However, none of these two huge companies represent the most obvious options for rice cookers today. The leading brands now include Tefal, Panasonic and Cuckoo.
The rice cooker does not need to be a complex piece of equipment. As a result, there are some cheaper and easy to use options that will do a job for you if you want to keep the costs down. One such is the Judge Mini Rice Cooker. The machine is small and costs less than £50, and can fit easily into your kitchen cupboard. It cooks rice fast and easily, and will provide the basic function of a rice cooker at this low cost. Even cheaper, at £22, is the Tesco’s own basic rice cooker, which is also perfectly functional and in fact made the list of ‘top 10 rice and slow cookers’ in an guide in the Independent.
Moving towards the cleverer and more modern rice cookers, you might want to look at Tefal. Tefal offer basic machines too at around £30, but they also offer multi purpose cookers that will do more than just cook rice if you want to spend a little more. One such model is the Tefal 8 in 1 Multi Cooker. This not only cooks rice but can also be used for pulses and grains, porridge, steamed foods, slow cooking, soups and cakes. This machine costs around £65 and is well-respected by cooks.
Panasonic also offer a good range of cookers and if you are willing to spend upwards of £50 you can get a very easy to use machine that will really make your cooking experience as simple and easy as possible. The Microcomputer Controlled Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker with One Touch Cooking does exactly what its extensive name implies, cooks a variety of products to perfection at the touch of a button with a very simply and easy to use display pad. It boasts 6 different heats and the ability to pre-set the machine up to 24 hours in advance so that you can go out and come home to perfectly cooked food ready and waiting.
Panasonic machines also tend to offer a steaming basket feature. This is a basket or plastic tray that sits above the rice and water and steams food. Its great for steaming vegetables to go with your rice, or if you want to be a bit more adventurous and get into making some Asian cuisine, you can make steamed won ton or dim sum with this feature.
Morphy Richards are another brand well worth considering. They make machines more towards the top of the range that cost around £70 but come with a fantastic digital display, reliable timers and all the features discussed here. You may also want to consider Cuckoo, another major brand whose machines actually speak to you! Some users might find this useful, though others may find it pretty annoying!