Cooking rice isn’t rocket science. It might, however, be computer science, if Zojirushi’s NS-ZCC10 Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker is any indication. Its “advanced Neuro Fuzzy logic technology” replaces the art of subtly gauging temperatures and times.
While this complete automation comes at a cost — in both time and money — the fluffy grains of perfection it produces are nearly impossible to argue with.
Long-grain jasmine, medium-grain white, basmati — all were transformed into steaming mountains of deliciousness. Indeed, the beauty of this machine is that it’s literally a matter of selecting the type of rice you’ll be cooking from the LCD menu, adding water (there’s a clearly defined line based on the amount and type of rice you’re cooking), and then walking away. (Tip: Be sure to use the included rice-measuring cups. There’s a slight discrepancy between ‘real cup’ and what’s included with the unit. Using the former will negatively affect your rice-cooking results.)
After that, Zojirushi’s logic circuits take over. Because of a built-in microchip, the NS-ZCC10 essentially does what any real cook would do: Make subtle tweaks and modifications to the heat throughout a given rice-cooking cycle, while taking into account the volume and the type of rice being cooked.
There is a quick-cook setting on the unit, but it should be said that this isn’t a cooker for instant rice gratification. Even standard white rice took around 45 minutes to prepare. Harsh! You can get around these long wait times by using the Fuzzy’s built-in pre-set timer, however, which will produce a steaming bowl of rice ready whenever your tummy desires.
Zojirushi even bakes in a little traditional Japanese cutesiness (The unit plays “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” at the beginning of each cooking cycle and some indecipherable, yet jaunty, tune when your rice is done.)
If you’re a rice geek — or at least very particular about texture and tenderness — this cooker is one of the best you can find. Especially for students who want three squares a day.