Saturday, October 11, 2008

Takeru Super Lunch Jar!

This morning I went with my mom to Marukai so she could get her suama manju. As we were wandering in the kitchen section, I saw this thing called the Takeru Super Lunch Jar. It was advertised as an "As Seen on TV" product. I just thought it was some weird astronaut thingy until I looked at the picture and it was a...MINI-RICE COOKER! Kawaii!!! Fresh rice for lunch!

The casing is about a foot tall and the inner, teflon-lined bowl that I think is a two cup (Japanese cup) rice cooker. It comes with a lidded container that you put on top of the cooker that warms your accompanying okazu (side dishes) with the residual steam after the rice is done. So it's an energy efficient, GREEN lunch jar!

I wash the rice at home in the morning and bring it to school. At recess, I pour in the water and turn the machine on. In the middle of math, the delicious smell of cooking rice drifts through the classroom. All the kids start sniffing and saying, "Something smells good!"
I unplug the machine and bring it with me to the lunch room.

The first time, I put in too much rice and too much water. The second day I did the opposite--too little rice and too little water. I've figured out that a 1/3 cup is a lunch size serving.

Friday was a mini-disaster as I was super busy during recess and turned on the machine as I was running out of the classroom. When I got into the lunch room, I opened the top, and the peas were steamed, but the rice was raw. I forgot to put in water!!! I was so sad. And hungry.
It's kind of heavy to lug around, but I love having fresh rice for lunch. $25.95 on sale at Marukai, Gardena.

[April 22, 2012 EDIT]

Blogger recently unveiled its "new look" dashboard for my blog and one of the new features is that you can see which posts were viewed the most.  Just for fun, I scrolled down to look and I was very surprised when I saw that this post had 500+ views.  Then I Googled "Takeru Super Lunch Jar" and my blog post was the second result!

Immediately I felt bad.  Until now, I thought mostly my family and friends read my posts, with an occasional random viewer.  This post was originally intended as a "Look at my new toy!" post more than something informational or educational.

So here's a more empirical look at the Takeru-kun Super Lunch Jar.

L: Japanese rice cup R: American dry cup

To measure rice, I use the Japanese cup that came with my 5 cup Zojirushi rice cooker.  I assume that the cups that come with Japanese rice cookers are standard (and metric) since that has been my experience.  As you can see, the Japanese cup measures slightly less than one American cup.  (I suppose if I REALLY wanted to get technical, I would get out the scale and measure them, but I just thought of it.  Sorry.)

L: My portion of rice for the Takeru-kun R: American 1/3 cup

I mentioned that I used approximately 1/3 of the Japanese cup as a lunch portion.  As you can see, the Japanese cup has a 1/2 mark, and I fill it just under that.  It turns out, it is exactly 1/3 cup when you use an American cup.  After it's cooked, it's about a chawan (Japanese rice bowl) full of rice.  It's a rather small portion.  I'm not as hungry at lunch and sometimes I have to eat fast (= less food).

I filled the cup to 1 1/2 so it was easier to see how much was poured out.

I washed the rice (I rinse and drain it 3 or 4 times), then measured the amount of water I poured in.  For 1/3 cup, I used about 1/2 cup of water.  If you can see inside the cooking bowl, it barely touches the bottom 100 ml line.

With Japanese rice, if your rice bag says "New Crop" or "Shinmai" then you have to use less water.  My rice was "New Crop" in October and I still tend to use less water than I normally would.  I use the Tamanishiki brand of rice.  If you do it enough times, you will figure out the amount of water.  Just be prepared to eat mushy rice if you put in too much.  If you look in the comments, I also describe the finger method of measuring water.

If you are using brown rice, your water amounts may be different.  I have heard certain brands of brown rice like Nishiki cook differently.  For sure, your cooking time will be longer with the Nishiki (Kenny says it's double the cooking time of regular rice).  The Sukoyaka brand of brown rice cooks the same as white rice--that's the kind Grandma uses and I have borrowed rice from her.

Perspective on the size of the rice cooker.  That's a 1.5L bottle of water.

Perfectly cooked rice!

If you read the comments, you know that I lost the cord for the machine when I changed classrooms in 2008.  I actually haven't used the cooker in four years.  I probably put the cord in a place where I wouldn't lose it, and you know how that turns out.  I was looking at the plug socket, and it looks exactly like the plug used for a PC CPU tower.  Since Ryan leaves all his computer junk at my house all the time, I have a whole bunch of those cords.

I took the CPU cord and plugged it in.  The light went on and nothing exploded--a success!  I used my stopwatch.  It took 17 minutes and 54.5 seconds to cook the rice.  That's actual cooking time, not counting the acrobatics that go with the rice cooking.  I don't know if other people do this (my Korean friend Janet says it's a Japanese thing), but after the rice stops cooking, I wait 5 minutes, I open the cooker and use the shamoji/rice paddle to flip the rice, then close the cooker and wait 5 more minutes.  Look, that's the way Grandma taught me to do it, and who am I to argue with Grandma?

I hope I have made this post more useful for anyone who has purchased or wants to purchase this little machine.  


Anonymous said...

Hi! Perhaps you can help. I just bought this BUT amazingly enough, it DIDN'T COME WITH ANY COOKING INSTRUCTIONS. I read your "1/3" cup rice but I am not sure about the water level for that 1/3 cup rice. Do you use the plastic cup that came with the machine? If so, how many can I use and how much water per plastic cup? HELP!!!!

Trisha said...

My machine didn't come with a cup. My 1/3 cup measurement is based on the Japanese rice cup that came with my regular size rice cooker.

The amount of water depends on the rice. If it's new rice (shinmai) you have to use slightly less water. Generally, I put in enough water so that it covers the rice by about an inch. Sorry, I've never measured the water.

Another method is the finger method. You put your fingers in the pot (it'll be harder because it's so small!) and rest them on top of the rice so your hand is as flat as you can get it without sinking into the rice. The water level should reach your second knuckles.

I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Hi Trisha,

I am considering buying one of these on sale from Marukai. Can you tell me how long the cooking time is for this device?


Trisha said...

If I remember correctly, it was about twenty minutes. I haven't used mine in a few years because I lost the power cord :(

Anonymous said...

Thanks Trisha! I just bought mine at Marukai on sale for $27. Is it difficult to find replacement power cords for this appliance?

Trisha said...

I don't know if the power cords are hard to replace. I assumed that I would have to just buy a whole new unit. The cord might be in one of the boxes in my garage from when I changed grade levels and classrooms. I haven't gotten around to looking for it. Have fun with your new rice cooker!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great post! Not much info out there on Takeru Kun. I brought mine to work today. It did come with a measuring cup (phew!). I used 1 rice cup - it says 100ml. I put in diced Okinawa purple sweet potato and some extra water half way between 100 and 150 and it turned out really well. Not as light as at home, but that was probably because of the potato - which it cooked perfectly!

Thank you for your post. It helped me decide to get it and I am really happy with it!

Trisha said...

Glad to help! That's pretty great that the potato cooked through. I wouldn't have thought to try that!

Brooklynsheep said...

Hi, I got the same cooker, but it stopped working after the first time! I wish there was some troubleshooting advice somewhere. Do you know of a website where they give tips for operating this cooker?

Trisha said...

Sorry, I don't know of any websites. Have you tried asking at the store you bought it from? I hope you're able to find something to help you!

Anonymous said...

I know this is an older blog but just stumbled acrossed it. Do you happen to remember the manufacture of this product?

Trisha said...

I looked at the unit, but the name of the manufacturer is not on it. I can try and look for it the next time I go to Marukai, but I won't be going anytime soon. Sorry.

gaspedals said...

Hi there.

My name is Jeff. I found this blog because I too own this rice cooker and I am looking to see if anyone knows the proper water/rice ratio for brown rice. I tried it with the same ratio as white rice, but it came out way under cooked. Is there a tried and true ratio out there for brown?

Also, regarding the power cord that was mentioned in the comments, it is a universal grounded power cord that is used in many electronic devices. I'm sure you can buy one at radio shack or online somewhere for a few dollars.

Trisha said...

I went to Marukai and they no longer sell the Super Takeru Lunch Jar, so I was unable to find out the manufacturer.

Trisha said...

Jeff, I don't eat brown rice so I don't know how to cook it. I know there's a Japanese brand called Sukoyaka Genmai that cooks like white rice. I borrowed some from my grandma once. But I have heard that other brands take a lot longer to cook.