I recently stopped to think about how, since my return to the United States several years ago, I seem unable to regain the healthy lifestyle I had lived in Japan. Part of it is of course due to factors of local culture and conditions, over which I have relatively little control – it’s a big change in exercise outlook from living in a heavily urbanized area where it’s normal to walk to and from train stations and buy no more than you can easily carry while walking to living 15 miles from the closest supermarket where the human energy involved is getting in and out of the car… particularly in the midst of a desert summer.
One factor I do have at least some control over, however, is portion control of what I cook myself. I eat a fair amount of rice, and I don’t generally like it reheated nor do I like to waste food. As a result, I make the minimum quantity my rice cooker will make and then tend to eat all of it in one sitting…. and if I have made something like a curry to go with it, I’ll eat enough of that to keep pace with the rice. It struck me that this could be an area to improve on if I could find a smaller rice cooker. Unfortunately, I spent weeks looking for one smaller than the one I had without success.
Then I came across the Aroma Mi. It’s listed as a 3 cup mini rice cooker, and that’s just what it is. It is a very basic rice cooker with a simple “cook / warm” selection switch and an open vent in the lid, but what makes it unique is that the cooker, and particularly the cooking pot, is significantly smaller than any other rice cooker I have seen this side of the Pacific. A smaller pot translates into a smaller minimum quantity of rice and water needed for the cooker to be effective, and I’ve found that a sake cup worth of rice is about the lowest it will go and still cook well. That translates nearly perfectly into a Japanese standard rice bowl’s worth of cooked rice, which is a touch less than half of the minimum quantity of my other cooker.
For a single household, switching from a full size to a mini rice cooker has helped me to cut down to a much more reasonable rice portion size without waste or loss of quality. As a side benefit, the mini cooker takes up much less counter and storage space. I am very happy with my Aroma Mi, and would highly recommend it for single cooking. For more than just me, I’ll probably pull out the old one.