I am unboxing my new Tiger IH 5.5 cup Rice Cooker and so thrilled to share my initial experience with you. After much research and deliberation, I decided to purchase the Tiger IH 5.5 Cup Rice Cooker, Model JKT-S10U-K. The 5.5 or 5 1/2 cup (1 Liter) capacity rice cooker is the smaller of the two models available. Featuring Induction Heating (IH) technology, this multi-function cooker has 8 menu settings for different types of rice and grains. The “tacook” synchronized cooking function allows the making of rice and another dish at the same time. In addition, this versatile small appliance is also a slow cooker and bread maker. The rice cooker has a compact, low-profile design with classic stainless steel and black trim finish. Elegant, sleek and technologically advanced, this rice cooker promises to deliver amazing cooked rice and much more!
My current cooker, the Zojirushi Rice Cooker NRC-10, has seen better days. I truly love this basic 2-function rice cooker and it’s served me well for the last 16 years. (I can’t believe it’s lasted this long and I had to double-check the numbers.) The rice cooker is rusting on the outside and the inner pan is well-worn with peels and chips. The cook panel and handle, originally white, is now discolored and yellow from use. Despite its shabby appearance, the rice cooker is functioning just fine so I am reluctant to let it go. I am thinking about buying a replacement inner pot and keeping it as a back-up rice cooker. It’s tough for me to part with good products.
The following are some pictures of my Zojirushi Rice Cooker NRC-10. A more traditional style of rice cooker, it’s shaped like a stock pot and has a floral design. It has a retractable power cord which makes it tidy for storing.
Despite having just 2 settings: Cook and Keep Warm, it’s versatile. I’ve used it to make a variety of wonderful dishes and you’ve probably seen this rice cooker in some of my videos. What I really liked about this cooker is how quickly it cooks rice. 2 cups jasmine rice cooks in just 20 minutes.
So Many Choices, Which One to Buy?
There’s a large selection of rice cookers on the market, so many that it can be a bit confusing. I visited a local Japanese store and they offered 40 different rice cookers ranging from $30-600. With so many options, it can be really difficult to choose the right one. For me, the following characteristics were important: Technology/Multiple Cooking Functions, Quality, Price, and Size and Design.
Technology/Multiple Cooking Functions
I combined the Technology and Multiple Cooking Functions characteristics together because they are directly related. The more technologically advanced, the more cooking functions offered. First and foremost, I selected the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker for the Induction Heating system. Unlike traditional rice cookers which generate heat from the bottom of the pot to cook the rice, Induction Heating, heats the entire inner pot. IH technology cooks by monitoring and adjusting power to the inner pot. It is able to make precise temperature adjustments in a short time span. The even heating and dynamic temperature response means perfectly cooked rice in less time. (My old rice cooker would slightly crust the rice at the bottom of the pot. IH technology would eliminate this problem as the heat would be evenly distributed.)
In addition to a cooker that made amazing rice, I was also intrigued by the multiple function cookers. I love versatile products providing a multitude of cooking options. On the flip side, I am also a believer that if you try to do too many things, you don’t do any one thing well. It’s delicate balance. I selected the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker because I love to slow cook and bake bread. I have 2 slow cookers currently, one about the same size and getting old and the 8 quart Instant Pot. Having this new appliance to potentially replace my current slow cooker was a deciding factor. The bread maker is novel feature. I don’t have high hopes about baking perfect bread in this cooker but I will definitely experiment and try it out.
A rice cooker is not something I buy often so I wanted a high quality appliance that would last. (If the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker lasts as long as my Zojirushi rice cooker, I will be extremely happy!) The rice cooker is solidly constructed and the materials appear durable. I selected the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker because it was made in Japan. For me, products made in Japan have higher quality materials and workmanship which equate to more durable and trouble-free products. Rice cookers made in Japan are more expensive, but they are worth the additional price.
Did you know there are rice cookers on the market costing $500 and more? Incredible right? Taking into consideration how often I use my rice cooker and the option to use it as a slow cooker and bread maker, I increased my original budget. (Tiger products are priced a bit higher than the competing Zojirushi models.) After all, the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker offered all the features and functions I wanted. After deciding on the Tiger IH 5.5 Cup Rice Cooker, I purchased it online from Amazon and saved $100 off the retail price.
Size and Design
The Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker comes in two sizes: a 5 1/2 cup (1 Liter) and a 10 cup (1.8 Liter) capacity. My Zojirushi cooker has a 5 cup capacity and I contemplated buying the larger 10 cup cooker. In terms of footprint, the 10 cup is much bigger. Below are the two models side by side. In the end, I decided the 10 cup (1.8 Liter) was really too big for every day use. I have a small family and we don’t eat rice every day, so the smaller rice cooker really made more sense. I would recommend the 10-cup cooker if you’re a family of at least 4 or more and eat rice daily.
The design of the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker won me over as well. It’s egg-shaped and low-profile, fitting easily under a cabinet even with the lid open. My favorite feature is the removable inner and outer lids for easy cleaning. I am a fanatic when it comes to cleaning so being able to remove the lids was a criteria I had to have in my new rice cooker. The only piece that’s not removable is the top heating plate but it appears to be easy to clean with just a damp sponge or towel.
The stainless steel exterior is nicely polished and attractive. The display panel is large enough to be easily readable. The buttons are easy to press and read. The only feature I wish this cooker had was a retractable power cord like my old cooker.
Unboxing the Tiger IH 5.5 Cup Rice Cooker
The Tiger box was shipped in a larger carton. Immediately upon opening the outer carton, I noticed one side of the box was visibly dented. (Luckily, it doesn’t appear anything was damaged.) The “Made in Japan” is displayed clearly on the box.
On top, the first items are the instruction manual and a cookbook. In the back corner is the rice measuring cup.
After removing the Styrofoam pieces, the rice cooker is wrapped in a plastic bag and rests on more Styrofoam. Tucked along the right side of the box are two plastic spoons: a sturdy rice paddle and a shallow ladle.
Removing everything from the carton, here’s a look of what was inside the box.
The separately wrapped inner pot and cooking tray were inside the rice cooker. Here’s everything unwrapped.
Below are pictures of the Tiger IH 5.5 Cup Rice Cooker from different views. This is the top and front view.
This is a view from the left side of the cooker. Notice the black carry handle which rests along the side and back of the cooker.
This is the view from the right side of the rice cooker.
This is the view from the back of the rice cooker.
First Impressions of the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker
The inner pot of the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker is solid and weighty. It boosts 5 layers of metal + 3 layers of coating, making it an 8 layer inner pot. The non-stick coating is slick and shiny. The instructions say you can wash rice in the inner pot and I did this in my old rice cooker. However, for this rice cooker, I will wash the rice in a separate bowl and then transfer to the inner pot. I am hoping this will minimize scratches. Of course, I can’t use anything abrasive or sharp when cooking or cleaning the pot as well.
The steam cap on top of the lid is easy to remove and can be separated into two pieces for cleaning. Unlike the small reservoirs attached to the side of the traditional-style rice cookers, this steam cap is completely hidden which is attractive.
The inner lid is easy to remove. Press on the two little tabs at top and the lid pops out.
The outer lid is more difficult to remove. You have to pull the lid up and back to remove it from the plastic groves on either side. I am concerned this constant motion may cause the lid to become loose over time.
First Pot of Rice using the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker
What better way to test out my new Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker than by making the inaugural pot of rice? Using the provided rice cup, I measured out 2 cups jasmine rice. After washing the rice and transferring it into the inner pot, I added 2 1/2 cups water. Selecting first the “Quick” function, I then set it cooking by pressing the “Start” button. 18 minutes later, it beeped, signaling completion and the rice was done. Below are the pictures of this first pot of rice. The rice was fully cooked and fluffy. There was no crusting on the bottom of the pan or any indication of unevenly cooked rice. Yeah! So far so good!
Yummy Dishes to Make with the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker
There are lots of dishes I want to make with my new Tiger IH 5.5 Cup Rice Cooker like Savory Sticky Rice (Xoi Man) and Sticky Rice and Mung Bean (Xoi Xeo). I also want to try making my favorite slow cooker recipes like Slow Cooker Beef Stew (Bo Kho) and Slow Cooker Chicken Curry (Ca Ri Ga). Using the bread maker, I’d like to make Sweet Bread, maybe just dinner rolls to start. I’d also like to try the “tacook” synchronized cooking with my recipe for Steamed Fish and Bean Thread Noodle (Ca Chung Tuong Bun Tau). The idea of making a simple and complete meal is enticing and perfect for busy days when there’s not much time to cook.
I’ll use the Tiger IH 5.5 Rice Cooker for a few months and will share my opinions along with some recipes. Please stay tuned for a follow-up post in the near future. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please provide comments below.
By the way, if you have this rice cooker, I’d love to hear your opinions about it. Tell me how long you’ve had it, which function(s) you use most often and, of course, how you like it.
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