Reasons for Purchase:
You could say that I've learned the hard way that cooking rice in a saucepan is not a skill that comes naturally to me, so a Rice Cooker is actually one of my "must have" kitchen appliances. When my trusty Breville Rice Cooker gave up the ghost in spectacular fashion late last year - the strange burning smell was the element melting - I rushed straight out to my nearest appliance shop and bought this, the Nuo rice cooker. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake, where on paper this looked as if it was going to be a like for like exchange for a cooker that cooked perfect rice and kept it warm, in reality this Nuo machine makes my rice preparation a bit of a faff - not what I was hoping to achieve when I bought it.
What you Get:
Nuo are stocked uniquely by Robert Dyas and there are a range of items you can buy from icecream makers to slow cookers, all with a two year guarantee. Once out of the box, this particular rice cooker initially looks very promising. It looks really nicely made with an inner metal bowl, with a 1.8litre capacity (so perfect family size) and strong sturdy buttons and nice little touches such as feet to keep it clear from the work top, a good sized lead and a see through lid so you can see your rice cooking. It's quite compact too, by my measurements 21cm by 30cm wide including the handles.
The stainless steel finish makes it look more expensive than it actually is and it comes with good instructions and also a measuring cup and rice "scoop" - this is a little white plastic paddle with studs on that makes serving up rice a breeze. It's a well priced appliance too - at time of writing you can pick one up in store or on line for £16.99 - I've seen it at even less than this and Robert Dyas regularly have 20% off vouchers and other offers. Unfortunately, promising as this appliance is, in practice it's just not very good.
The main problem is with the aluminium bowl. It's not non-stick as my previous cooker's bowl was and this is, actually, a real issue. No matter how carefully I follow the instructions, and even if I don't leave the rice cooker on "warm" for very long (after cooking and when the rice is ready a small light comes on to tell you the rice is ready to eat) I always find that there is quite a lot of waste as invariably quite a lot of the rice gets stuck to the bottom and is neither edible or easy to scrape off. Worse still it means cleaning the bowl is a bit of a nightmare involving soaking and more time spent removing rice than I would like.
When actually cooking rice - and to be fair the bits that aren't welded to the bottom are well cooked and fluffy, the rice cooker splutters and makes the lid move in alarming fashion and produces rather a lot of steam. It's not unsafe, I've no reason not to trust it -the sides of the cooker don't get hot, but it's just weird as I didn't have this issue with my other rice cooker, and to all intents and purposes it looks identical inside. The appliance does cook the rice in about 20 minutes and it's still more reliable than using a saucepan is for me, but it's just all a bit disappointing.