June 12, 2016

Determining what size of rice cooker you need is the first thing to consider when shopping for a machine. When measuring rice, Japanese people use a unit of measurement called gou (合), roughly 180ml. Gou is part of the shakkanhou (尺貫法) system of measurement, a traditional system that is no longer commonly used, but maintains its legacy as the standard for measuring both rice and sake. When you see the term “cup” in a rice cooker's description, it is likely 1 gou, not a metric cup (250ml) typically used in cooking and baking.

(Also, please note that 1 cup in modern Japan is equal to only 200ml, so please be sure to adjust your recipes while cooking in Japan, and likewise if working off a Japanese recipe in the west.)

The shakkanhou system works like this:

1 gou (1合) = about 180.39ml

Typically rice cookers have 5.5 cups.

5.5 cup (5.5合) = 180.39*5.5 = 992.145ml (almost 1L)

The capacity of the rice cooker always refers to dry rice, before cooking.

So how much rice do you want to cook? Here is a rough guideline:

Amount Cooked rice People
3-3.5 cup (3-3.5合)
 6 bowls of rice  
1-3 people
5.5 cup (5.5合)  
11 bowls of rice
3-5 people (*most popular size)
8.5  cup (8.5合)
16 bowls of rice
 4-6 people
10  cup (10合)
20 bowls of rice
More than 6 people

If you choose a rice cooker that is too large, it is difficult to cook a small amount well. Often a rice cooker’s instructions will a have a minimum recommended amount of rice to cook at once. Also, if you use a bigger machine, it will consume more energy to cook the same amount of rice.

Not sure how much rice you'll be eating? Keep in mind that you can also use your cooker for cooking steelcut oats (set the timer the night before), and many other grains like quinoa or wheatberries.

Now that you’ve decided the size of rice cooker you need, let's learn about the two types of machine; IH (Induction Heating) and Microcomputer.


(Next article will be available on Monday,19th June 2016)



Related article
1. 4 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Rice Cooker
2. You Should Never Buy a Rice Cooker that is Too Big for Your Needs 
3. Why Are Induction Heating Rice Cookers So Hot?
Better than white & Brown rice; It's Haiga-mai !

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