Panasonic Rice Cooker
Today we are going to be looking at a mid range rice cooker from Panasonic – the Panasonic SR-DE103 5 Cup Cooker. This is a moderately priced rice cooker, and is aimed at those people looking for a reliable and affordable cooker. It looks very promising for the price, but can the performance really match it? Lets have a look and see.
Panasonic has been around for many years, and they make all kinds of appliances and goods. They have a reputation for making quality goods, and a few years ago begun to make rice cookers as part of their kitchen appliance range. The model we are going to be looking at today is a 5 cup uncooked rice cooker, so will make a reasonable quantity of rice. This particular cooker has a retail price of just over $100, and comes with a rather large variety of options and settings. The main feature of this machine is the integrated fuzzy logic cooking technology. For those of you who don’t know what fuzzy logic is, it basically means that the machine constantly monitors the cooking of the rice, and alters and adapts the cooking temperature and time so that you are left with perfectly cooked rice. Our experience with fuzzy logic rice cookers has been very promising so far, so we are looking forward to seeing how it performs on this machine.
Aside from that there are variety of different settings and buttons to play around with. There is the option to do white rice, brown rice, porridge, cake and to steam or slow cook. There is a quick cook option which will skip the soaking phase of the rice to quicken the cooking. There is a 24 hour timer which is quite handy for those of you who like to wake up or come home to freshly cooked rice, and the keep warm functionality works for up to 12 hours. We should note that there is a heater on underneath the lid, and on the side which heats the rice. This is in comparison to cheaper models, which simply heat the rice from the bottom of the unit which can lead to dry and overcooked rice at the bottom of the pot.
The unit itself is white in color, with the front panel being a sort of bronze/brown in color. It looks fairly modern, and won’t look out of place in any kitchen. There is a handle on the top of the unit for easy transportation, and the cord at the back is detachable which is a nice touch. The cooking pot is made out of aluminum, and is coated with a nonstick coating which should make cleanups quite simple. The unit is a rather average size for this kind of capacity unit, and it measures 13″ L x 10″ W x 8″ H. There is a push button lid, which is another nice little feature. Also included with the machine are a rice scoop, measuring cup and steaming basket. The included manual has quite a number of strange and exotic dishes to make, but the English is somewhat on the poor side and a bit roughly translated. However the machine itself is very easy to operate, so there is no real need to actually use the manual. That about sums up the features and accessories included, now lets have a look at how the machine actually performs.
As standard, we began by testing the machine with a medium sized quantity of three cups of white rice. This is a fairly simple test, and shows how the machine copes with a small and easy task. Now because it is a fuzzy logic rice cooker, we do expect there to be longer cooking times. The white rice took around 40 minutes before it was done, and we were notified by a few beeps letting us know it had finished. This seems like a fairly long cooking time compared to cheaper cookers, but around 20 minutes of that is spent soaking the rice for the best results. You can skip the soaking phase by using the “Quick Cook” setting, so if you are in a hurry then you can always make use of this setting. The rice we were left with was plump and fluffy, and came out really great. The taste and texture was excellent, and we were quite pleased so far. Next up we decided to do three cups of brown rice, and having activated the brown rice setting, we left the machine to do its magic. Around an hour and thirty minutes later, we came back to check the finished results. Again we were greeted with several few cups of brown rice, all cooked to perfection. There was no sign of dryness or burnt rice, and it was all thoroughly cooked. Our taste test was positive again, showing the Panasonics fuzzy logic technology had done a fine job of cooking the rice to perfection.
The keep warm functionality was our next test. To do this we tested the full capacity of 5 cups of white rice, and once it was done we left it standing for 6 hours to see how well the machine would preserve it. 6 hours later we popped open the machine to see in what kind of shape the rice was in. Checking the bottom, top and the sides of the machine, the rice all seemed to be in perfect shape. It was as if had just finished cooking, and the temperature of the rice was still warm enough to eat. Our taste test confirmed this, and it shows that the Keep Warm option does a great job of warming and preserving the rice. You can also use the steamer tray when it is cooking rice, but the tradeoff is that you can only do one cup of rice at a time when the steamer tray is in the machine as the tray itself is quite tall. We tested it this way with a few frozen vegetables when we were doing a cup of Quinoa rice, and both lots of food came out very nicely. A better option would be to use the steam option on its own, as this is quicker and will likely yield even better results when it comes to whatever you intend to steam.
Cleaning up the Panasonic rice cooker was fairly easy, and the few grains of leftover rice at the bottom of the machine were easily washed out with some soapy water and a sponge. The top of the cooker can be easily wiped with a paper towel, and that is all you really need to do to keep it in good shape.
Those were some of the basic tests we did on the machine, and it certainly preformed very well. The price is quite reasonable for a fuzzy logic cooker, and there are a wide range of different settings and cooking modes to choose from. The capacity is quite decent, and will make enough rice to feed a medium sized family. Cooking times may be a little long, but you can always skip the soaking phase to save some time. Overall we think the Panasonic rice cooker is a fine choice, and it comes with a respectable one year warranty.
- Reasonably priced
- Variety of modes and settings
- Makes great rice
- Keep warm mode works well
- Easy to clean
- Large steamer tray
- Carry hand and detachable cord
- Manual is poorly translated
Summary: If you are looking for a decent mid range rice cooker, then the Panasonic SR-DE103 may be the one for you. It cooked a variety of different rices to perfection, and doesn’t cost a fortune.
At the time of writing Amazon had this rice cooker on special, and you can click here to see if it is still available at that price.