Olivia Tan with her book and the Thermomix M5. Pix by Rohanis Shukri
Mouthwatering dishes which are cooked simultaneously. Pix by Rohanis Shukri

Thermomix has created a Recipe Chip Robot that contains 170 fail-proof recipes, including Asian cuisine. All users have to do is follow the step-by-step instructions, writes Tan Bee Hong.

CAN’T cook? Kitchen skills limited to the occasional packet of instant noodles? Don’t fret. If you can read, you can produce a wide menu of meals so delicious that family and friends cannot help but be impressed.

That’s right. And you will do so without breaking out in sweat.

The Thermomix TM5 comes with a Daily Asian Cooking chip robot. The size of a soya sauce plate, it holds 170 recipes which correspond to that in the The Basic Cookbook, to make cooking almost effortless.

The recipes range from simple juices to curries, stir fries, stews, noodles, rice and dessert. There are recipes from all cuisine types, from Western to Indian, Malay and Chinese.

Just attach this Recipe Chip Robot to the side of the multifunctional kitchen appliance and the guided cooking function and touchscreen will prompt you all the way, step-by-step, to a yummy meal.

The Thermomix Recipe Chip Robot is a digital cookbook. Use the touchscreen on the TM5 to browse through the recipes. The Thermomix Guided Cooking feature anticipates each cooking step ahead, making cooking so easy and effortless. Yes, everyone can cook!

But of course, you have to go out and get the ingredients first!

The appliance is also touted as the “world’s smallest kitchen” because it offers 12 different functions in one machine: Weighing, mixing, chopping, grinding, kneading, blending, steaming, cooking, whisking, stirring, emulsifying and precise heating. And to think it all comes in a single appliance that you can put your arms around.

EASY DOES IT
At a cooking showcase in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Olivia Tan demonstrates how easy it is to make a drink, three dishes and ice-cream for dessert in just 30 minutes.

The home-maker, nutritionist and now author of Cook With Olivia, Chinese Flavours, also shows how to use the Thermomix to make bun dough with just a touch of the digital screen.

When we cook at home, we don’t worry about additives and chemicals, says Olivia, as she pulverises rock sugar and then pops a quartered lemon (skin and all) with some water into the Thermomix. A minute later, the lemonade is ready.

Then she prepares Hainanese chicken rice and steamed egg custard. She calls it a 4-in-1 recipe. The rice is cooked in the simmering basket while marinated chicken thighs and cups of egg custard on two-level Varoma tray are placed on top so that steam from the rice will cook this as the rice is being cooked.

“You can even go have a shower while these are cooking and the food will be ready when you return,” says Olivia.

“Unlike the conventional way of cooking rice, the starch and sugar from the rice cooked in the Thermomix is drained into the water left in the bottom of the appliance. This method is particularly beneficial for diabetics.”

But for those who don’t want to waste the rice water, Olivia adds in diced onion, tomato, carrot and potato to prepare a soup.

She then shows how to make fried udon noodles, using the appliance to first skin and chop the garlic before frying it with prawn, vegetables and then adding black sauce and the udon noodles. In just a few minutes, the dish is ready for serving.

Of Hakka and Nyonya descent, Olivia, in collaboration with Thermomix Malaysia, took over a year to come up with Cook With Olivia, Chinese Flavours.

“This is because each and every recipe has to be first tested by three different groups of people before the nod is given,” says JC Lim, executive director of Thermomix Malaysia.

“When the book was first launched, it sold out immediately and we had to quickly put in orders for a second print.”

The book, in English and Mandarin, presents favourite dishes of Olivia’s family, a compilation of rich, Peranakan-influenced Chinese recipes.

“I have also included a section that introduces key ingredients crucial to recreate the same tastes with the Thermomix.” says Tan, who won her first cooking competition at the tender age of 11.

“Cooking a well-balanced meal for the family is important. I also strongly believe that growing children should be given homemade, unprocessed and preservative-free foods.”

Cook With Olivia, Chinese Flavours is priced at RM150. To order, go to www.thermomix.com.my

GERMAN TECHNOLOGY
Made by the Vorwerk Group in Germany, the TM5 was first launched in 2014.

“Thermomix is using technology to revolutionalise cooking in the kitchen. Even chefs in restaurants are using the appliance,” says Lim. “The introduction of the innovative Recipe Chip Robot represents the future of cooking.”

When asked what improvements consumers can find in TM5, he says the new model uses digital technology for guided cooking, is more sensitive in weighing, more accurate in temperature control and speed, has light indicators to show if the machine is hot or cool and comes with a new, safer locking system. The TM5 also uses a touchscreen in place of the buttons and knobs of its predecessor, TM31.

Consumers can experience Thermomix by simply booking a cooking demonstration via its website or hotline.

THE PACKAGE
The Vorwerk Thermomix is priced at RM6,488 (w/GST). The package also includes the official Thermomix Basic Cook Book with 175 recipes, the Recipe Chip Robot of Thermomix Basic Cook Book for guided-cooking and Thermomix e-newsletters.

In Malaysia, a network of over 3,000 advisors, who are also Thermomix customers and users, offers personal demonstrations and tutorials right in the kitchen.

FUN FACT

DIMENSIONS
Height: 34.1 cm
Width: 32.6 cm
Depth: 32.6 cm
Weight: 7.95 kg
Material: High-quality food grade and stainless steel materials
Motor: Maintenance-free Vorwerk reluctance motor 500 W rated power, speed continuously adjustable from 100 to 10,700 revolutions per minute (gentle stir 40 rpm), special speed settings for dough preparation and stirring without chopping.
Website: www.Thermomix.com.my
Online store: http://store.truemix.com.my/malaysia/

PROS:
Multi-functional — The appliance has 12 functions.

Time-saving — With planning, you can use the appliance to cook a few dishes at the same time. The powerful motor can grind even rock sugar in mere seconds.

Weighing — You don’t need to weigh ingredients separately as an electronic weighing scale is incorporated into the machine.

No need to stir or knead — particularly useful for preparing dough and making kaya which, traditionally, calls for standing over the stove and stirring continuously for an hour or two.

No oily kitchen — Since everything is cooked in the covered machine, there is little likelihood of splattering oil.

Easy to wash — Just fill the appliance with dishwashing liquid and water and let it run on turbo.

CONS:
Expensive — At RM6,488 (w/GST), Thermomix TM5 is not an appliance you’ll buy on a whim. However, you can attend a couple of cooking demos to see if it suits your needs. Thermomix Malaysia also has an interest-free “Cook First, Pay Later” instalment scheme.

Quantity — Because of its size, you can use Thermomix TM5 to cook for a regular family of 4-6 people only.

Not just one — You may need more than one appliance if you’re planning to make a few dishes that involve stir fry, steam and stew at the same time.

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