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The 'YUM' Factor

The ‘Yum Factor’ is our special way of designing rice cookers and rice cooking functions to make sure your rice is extra tasty – from the type of heating system a rice cooker has to cook profiles, we have thought about everything. Read on to learn more about why Yum Asia’s rice cookers really do have the ‘Yum Factor’!

What is UMAI Induction Heating (IH)?

Exclusive to Yum Asia's Bamboo rice cooker model is Umai Induction Heating (IH). Induction Heating in rice cookers occurs when coils in the bottom of the unit create a magnetic field that specifically heats up the inner bowl and contents.

‘Umai’ in Japanese means smart brain which refers to the microprocessor used to make fine adjustments in temperature and cooking times. Because our Umai IH sytem is so smart (and combines IH with advanced fuzzy logic), it makes our Bamboo IH rice cooker more efficient, this means your rice is absolutely perfect every single time and it is cooked faster than other IH rice cookers.

More details about different rice cooker heating elements

What is the GABA rice function?

The GABA brown rice (or germinated brown rice) function uses specific timing and temperatures so the brown rice is allowed to germinate. When you select the GABA function on Bamboo it will soak and activate the brown rice for you using it’s Umai (smart brain) fuzzy logic control after which it begins to phase in the cooking process. During this process, the inner bowl and its contents are kept at a specific temperature for part of the cooking cycle which enables the brown rice to 'sprout'. More details…

The full cooking time for GABA rice in Bamboo, including the additional activation period, takes around 2 hours 25 minutes to complete. The result of this process alters the flavour and increases the levels of nutrients such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA brown rice has a softer texture than brown rice and a nuttier flavour.

Zojirushi models NS-YSQ10/18 also have a GABA brown function and the full cooking time, including the additional activation period, takes may take between 3 hours and 15 mintues and 3 hours and 35 minutes to complete.

What is the Yumami function?

Yumami or ‘extra tasty’ rice function on Bamboo enhances the flavour of any type of white rice by using a specially designed cooking cycle, It does this by using a sequence of soaking and steaming to release the sugars contained in the rice that are then reabsorbed back into the rice as a different chemical structure that can activate Umami receptors of the tongue which results in extremely flavourful rice with improved texture/taste.

The full cooking time, including the special soaking and steaming, for the Yumami function on Bamboo is 1 hour, 6 minutes.

Zojirushi models -YSQ10/18 also has a ‘premium’ taste function which is similar to Yumami and the full cooking time, including the special soaking and steaming, takes around 1 hour and 15 mintues.

Science of Yumami

Explore GABA in further detail

Hatsuga genmai (or germinated brown rice) is unpolished brown japonica (Japanese) rice, that has been allowed to germinate in order to alter the flavour and also to increase levels of nutrients such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Hatsuga genmai has a softer texture than brown rice and a nuttier flavour.

Germinated (GABA) rice an emerging health food where any type of brown rice is soaked in warm water prior to cooking; the warm bath induces germination, or sprouting, which stimulates rice enzymes to produce more nutrients. One of these nutrients is the important brain chemical GABA (which is why germinated brown rice is referred to as "GABA rice"), and some scientific studies have shown that a germinated brown rice rich diet can improve cognitive function and other studies have found that it could also act as an anti-diabetic.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an essential amino acid and was "discovered" in 2004 as part of the United Nation's Year of Rice research. By germinating the brown rice prior to cooking, GABA, lysine (another amino acid), tocotrienols, magnesium and zinc are all significantly increased. To make GABA rice, you need to start with brown rice - this is because white rice has had the hull removed, which means that it is no longer capable of germinating. The brown rice is rinsed, then soaked in water for an extended period of time before cooking. As the rice germinates the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid increases. Take a look at the pictures below - on the tip of each grain of rice is an embryo; this is the part of the seed that will germinate. The rice is soaked until the embryo become fuller and larger or a sprout starts to emerge. This means the rice has germinated. Since water is naturally absorbed during the germination process, GABA rice will cook faster and need less cooking liquid, than other forms of rice.

Fans of GABA rice say that it's less irritating to the digestive tract and less likely to promote allergic reactions than regular rice and believe that its nutrients are better absorbed. However, all rice is generally considered a non-irritating food and is unlikely to produce allergic reactions in most people. Emerging research suggests that sprouted brown rice may contain compounds that promote blood sugar control. However, the studies showing an advantage for diabetes are generally comparing sprouted brown rice to refined white rice; there's usually no difference compared to regular brown rice. Whether or not it's actually healthier than regular brown rice is unknown, but some people prefer it simply for its softer texture and mildly nutty flavour. People who have trouble making the move from white to brown rice may find the taste and texture of sprouted brown rice a good mid-point between the two.

GABA brown functions on rice cookers makes it much easier to cook GABA brown rice, our Bamboo Induction Heating rice cooker and Zojirushi models NS-YSQ10/18 have a GABA brown function which can be used with any type of brown rice.

GABA explainer

What are the different types of rice cookers?

 1. Conventional (non-Micom Fuzzy Logic) Rice Cooker

Rice cooker models available in the UK and Europe are usually non-Micom Fuzzy Logic models and if you take out the inner cooking pan and look inside the main body of the rice cooker, you will see a small round disk, about 3.8cm in diameter, in the centre of the heating plate. This is a thermal sensing device, known as a magnetic thermostat, and it sits on a small spring.

When rice and water is placed into the inner cooking pan and then put into the main body of the rice cooker, the weight of the inner cooking pan depresses the thermal sensor. With the rice cooker plugged in and the cooking switch turned on, the heating plate begins to heat up bringing the liquid in the cooking pan to a boil. Water boils at 100°C and no higher, so as long as there is water in the pan the rice cooker will continue to cook. When the rice absorbs all the water, the temperature will begin to rise since there isn't any water left in the pan. When the thermal sensor senses that the temperature has risen above 100°C, the machine turns off the heater automatically.

This type of rice cooker is essentially an automated saucepan and common complaints are burnt or uneven cooked rice.

 2. Micom Fuzzy Logic rice cookers

In more advanced models, such as the majority of rice cooker models we sell, computer chip technology is introduced and the rice cooker automatically makes adjustments in temperature and cooking time depending upon the programme entered by the user. These cookers are called micom rice cookers because they are fitted with a micro-computer chip.

These rice cookers we sell utilise "fuzzy logic" through a micro computer chip to cook rice. This computer chip is the brains of the unit, making the cooking of rice foolproof. Instead of the cooker simply switching on and off reacting to temperature, the rice cooker now makes small adjustments in temperature and cooking time according to what the thermal sensor senses. With fuzzy logic it means you can also have different programmes for the rice cooker which include cooking white, sweet (glutinous), brown rice and porridge (both rice and oat varieties of porridge).

Additional features available with fuzzy logic models include cake baking (on the NS-TSQ10/18, Sakura), steaming function (on the NS-TSQ10/18, NL-AAQ10/18, Sakura YUM-EN15) and slow cook (NS-YSQ10/18, Sakura YUM-EN15), GABA brown rice, 'premium' taste for white rice (on NS-YSQ10/18). On our own branded rice cooker, Sakura we have added additional features of soup, crust (for Persian Tahdig style rice) and yoghurt.

 3. Induction Heating (IH) rice cookers

Induction Heating (IH) in rice cookers occurs when coils in the bottom of the unit create a magnetic field. When the stainless steel inductive layer of the non-stick ceramic inner cooking bowl is placed into the rice cooker and the unit is activated, a magnetic field is generated to create instant heat throughout this layer.

Through this technology, the inner cooking pan itself rather than the heating element becomes the heat source utilizing both even yet high heat and fine heat adjustments to control the cooking process. 

Our Bamboo (YUM-IH15) model is the first Induction Heating rice cooker made for the UK and Europe.