We accept smartphones and acute watches. But do we charge a acute … rice cooker?
These were some of the abounding questions that beyond my apperception aback Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. launched its 999 yuan ($155) acute rice cooker aftermost week. In the name of science, I lugged one aback to China Real Time’s analysis kitchen. The mission: to see if rice absolutely does aftertaste altered with the advice of big data. Was there a atom of accuracy to Xiaomi’s claims?
Xiaomi’s rice cooker is its latest accession to its accumulation of smartphone-controllable home devices. We’ve been told that in the future, all of our accessories will be acute and interconnected. Scrolling through Xiaomi’s acute home app, I accomplished the approaching is here. Sort of. If the approaching is actuality able to use a audible app to ascendancy your lamps, webcam, air purifier, baptize bactericide (a lot of things charge antibacterial in China) and, yes, rice cooker – afresh the approaching is here. In China.
Before accessory the Xiaomi launch, I had advised the technology of rice-making almost as abounding times as the boilerplate person, which is aught times.
But as Xiaomi’s ecosystem arch Liu De explained at the launch, rice absolutely tastes altered based on the burden and temperature at which it’s cooked. As proof, he presented the blueprint above, which acutely indicates that rice Acidity and Stickiness (blue line) equals Blush and Arrangement (green line) at 1.2 atmospheres of affable pressure. While it’s not anon bright why we’d appetite acidity to according color, the key point actuality is that the makers of exceptional Japanese rice cookers accept bent afterwards accurate analysis that 1.2 atmospheres and 105 degrees Celsius produces the tastiest rice.
China Real Time’s agreement was not, carefully speaking, a accurate one. I activated the Xiaomi rice cooker adjoin the alone added one I had on hand, my claimed “Supor” cast rice cooker, which I’d purchased from a bounded grocery abundance aloft affective to Beijing aftermost year. I had called the Supor apparatus based on amount after alive annihilation about the brand, but it turns out that Zhejiang Supor Co. is China’s bigger cookware maker and was acquired in 2006 by French aggregation SEB Internationale SAS.
Nevertheless, the Supor rice cooker is not a acute one. It is a impaired one with absolutely two settings: “on or off,” and “rice or porridge.”
Xiaomi’s rice cooker can be controlled by its MiHome app, which is a appealing chic concept. But ambience up the app is not the easiest process. It took me about bisected an hour.
The cooker had agitation establishing an antecedent affiliation to the Wifi network, with the app affecting me to “make your router, iPhone and accessory aing with anniversary other” afore cogent me it had yet afresh bootless to connect.
After resetting the rice cooker through a breach with the aciculate end of an earring, we had beyond the aboriginal hurdle.
Next, I bare to baddest my rice aberration in the app to ensure able affable settings. This was a head-scratcher. I had a box of “organic rice,” but was this “Dongbei rice” from China’s northeast? Or was it “thin bulb rice,” whatever that meant (I after begin out this agency Jasmine rice)? Pearl rice? Sticky rice? Hunan rice? Zhejiang rice? I was afflicted with “Rice Choice.”
In a panic, I chose the “scan” option. But the app wouldn’t apprehend the barcode. Help! On the third try, the barcode browse worked. Phew. Ignorance of rice varieties would not stop me from authoritative acute rice.
The aing footfall was selecting the adapted texture, crisp or al dente. As Xiaomi’s admiral had trumpeted, this was the world’s aboriginal rice cooker with a abounding “taste curve” continuum, the absolute arrangement selectable by slidebar on your smartphone.
My options included “Soft Tasty” and “Sweet adhering delicious.”
A few colleagues were alert of the abstraction of “waxy” rice, but it articulate appealing accomplished to me. You’ll agenda that the app interface isn’t absolutely accessible for prime time, with some of the words cut off the screen. But that was okay, as it didn’t baffle with operation.
And with that, it was assuredly accouterments time. Luckily the accessory came with a “Rapid Disassembly and Accumulation Directions” card, which I accurately followed after analytical carefully abundant at the onset. At the end of the instructions, I accomplished it was added disassembly than assembly. I had auspiciously disassembled the rice cooker.
Five account of reassembly later, I was accessible to baker some rice. It was actuality that I accomplished I would not absolutely be able to escape acquirements the aberration amid Dongbei rice and attenuate bulb rice.
The basin of the acute rice cooker requires altered baptize levels for Dongbei (“Northeast”) rice and attenuate bulb rice. Fortunately, a added accomplished aide than myself discerned that my amoebic rice was from Heilongjiang province, which is in China’s northeast.
My plan had been to baker identical quantities of the aforementioned rice in both rice cookers to see if there was a aberration in taste. But aloft axis to the Supor rice cooker, I apparent an awkward problem.
I didn’t bethink if my rice barometer cup absolutely came with the Supor rice cooker, or with a antecedent beyond rice cooker. Using the amiss sized barometer cup could bandy off the accommodation absolutely for the Supor sample.
This had never presented an affair before, as I about subscribe to the “eyeballing” adjustment of authoritative rice (also accepted as the “as continued as it’s edible” approach). I mean, that’s how we all baker rice, isn’t it? Isn’t it? I doubtable such ambit didn’t absolutely accommodated accurate rigor. I additionally accomplished that if my Supor sample failed, this agreement could betrayal to all my colleagues that I didn’t absolutely apperceive how to accomplish rice. I would lose face as a being of Chinese extraction. Still, it was too backward to about-face back. I abounding both rice cookers and hit “cook.”
The Xiaomi rice cooker’s affectation was a little adamantine to see in China Real Time’s brilliant kitchen unless you black it with your hand, so at aboriginal it was difficult to acquaint if it was working.
That angry out to be okay, because the Xiaomi app beatific affable updates. I’m not absolutely abiding what happens in the “Big Fire” date of cooking, but I was blessed to be a a the end that the rice had accomplished “best taste.”
Finally, it was time. Xiaomi’s app told me, “Have a meal.”
Several China Real Time colleagues were affectionate abundant to advice with a dark aftertaste test. Best said there was a aberration in taste, and I agreed. The Xiaomi cooker did aftermath rice with a firmer, springier texture. The Supor sample was added like your boilerplate bootleg rice, a bit mushier with the grains not as distinct. I asked a colleague, Josh Chin — our citizen comestible able due to his accomplished activity as a chef on a counterfeit island — to bigger call the difference.
“The aberration was attenuate — I mean, it’s rice, right? — but the acute cooker absolutely imparted a adorable added pearliness,” he said. “Now is that pearliness account the added $150? I assumption it depends on how abundant rice you eat.”
In conclusion, this was the best difficult and demanding rice-cooking affair I accept anytime endeavored. But the rice was tasty. And it apparently would be a lot easier the additional time around, with all the antecedent accoutrement completed. And I can now acquaint Dongbei rice from attenuate bulb rice, which is absolutely a advantageous outcome.
—Eva Dou. Follow her on Twitter @evadou.
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