Thermocook vs Thermomix – A Comparison

I don’t think there’s any doubt the Thermomix is like the Mercedes Benz of kitchen aids; it works beautifully and having one in your kitchen is a bit of a status symbol (admit it).

Yet with a slew of similar kitchen aids emerging in recent times, and as the only person I know who owns both a Thermomix TM5 AND a competing product, an Optimum Thermocook, I figured I should finally write about how they compare in terms of functionality in a real world kitchen.

(Full disclosure – I was a Thermomix consultant for awhile, and I am now a Thermocook affiliate.)

BTW I’m also really the only person I know who sees these devices almost exclusively within the context of what they can do for Asian recipes, so these are the parameters within which I’ve based my assessment.

I’ve posted the parts and specifications at the bottom of this post, but from a usage POV, these are my observations on how they differ –

  • Thermomix TM5 – one blade, can operate via reverse spin
  • Optimum Thermocook – 2 blades – one for food processing; one for mixing dough and for stirring

One of the Thermomix’s selling points is that you don’t have to go through the trouble of switching blades – so when you’re stirring a curry dish or mixing dough, you set it in reverse spin to make sure you don’t end up pureeing the contents of your mixing bowl.

Some of the dishes - Malaysian Chicken Curry and Laksa

Some of the dishes – Malaysian Chicken Curry and Laksa

This is a great feature and I do like it a lot. Keep in mind though, that’s equivalent to using the back of your knife to make contact with your ingredients, so lengthy cooking and higher speeds could still render your contents too soft.

Also, you need to remember to set it on reverse again if after the timer goes off you decide your food needs to cook a bit longer, because it does revert to the “sharp” direction automatically.

Thermocook – you need to switch out the blades in between pureeing your “rempah” ie. spice paste and adding the meat to start the cooking process since there’s no reverse function per with the Thermomix.

Garlic Chilli Sauce

Garlic Chilli Sauce

Having said that, I have once cooked chicken curry using the sharp blade (this was before I realised the dough attachment doubled as a stirrer – testament to my lack of interest in reading user manuals) and it turned out actually fine except one of the chicken drumsticks got lodged in the blade.

  • Vorwerk Thermomix TM5 – top speed 10000rpm
  • Optimum Thermocook – top speed 6500rpm

Effectiveness in processing tough Asian ingredients (galangal, lemongrass etc.) – both performed equally well.

Asian Ingredients

Asian Ingredients

The Thermomix TM5 is a heavier, sturdier unit, so there’s less vibration when dealing with large amounts of tough content.

  • Thermomix TM5 – top heat setting 120°C
  • Thermocook – top heat setting 120°C

The Optimum Thermocook has an additional heat strength setting which allows the contents to heat up faster or slower if needed, whereas the rate of heating is not changeable with the Thermomix TM5. It feels to me (though I haven’t timed it properly) that the Optimum Thermocook heats up faster at its top heat strength, which is useful if you’re steaming food in particular. It also seems to steam food more evenly.

Siew Pao

Siew Pao

The Optimum Thermocook blades will not work on high speed if the contents are over 60°C. This is a safety feature to prevent hot liquid spitting out if you’ve left the cap off, but it means when making kaya, once it’s cooked I need to wait until it cools down before I can blend it to a smooth consistency.

  • Scales – the Thermomix TM5 scales are built-in; the Optimum Thermocook scales are separate.

I’ve had my Thermomix for about 8 months and the scales stopped working about 4 months ago. I might just have been unlucky; it’s still under warranty but the prospect and logistics of sending an entire Thermomix back for repair for what is admittedly a fairly minor functionality means I’ve decided to live without it.

  • Controls – The Thermomix TM5 has a touchscreen panel; the Thermocook doesn’t. The display is also “busier” on the Optimum Thermocook because of all the pre-set settings. It took me a few days, but once I got used to the non-touchscreen controls on the Thermocook ,I stopped giving it a second thought.

Price –

  • Thermomix TM5 is currently priced at AUD2089, and can be purchased only through a consultant via a Live demonstration. It’s also delivered by the consultant in person and they are obligated to cook your first dish with you at delivery (I know; I was a consultant until recently).
  • Optimum Thermocook is priced at AUD849 and can be purchased online and it’s delivered to your door, after which it’s up to you to read through the manual to learn its functions. (If you’re interested in finding out more, this is my affiliate link => Thermocook)

Conclusion –

I love both my Thermomix and my Thermocook equally; I use them interchangeably and my decisions as to which to use for any particular recipe are based on expediency more than anything else.

Speaking of recipes, I get people contact me to ask about how they need to adapt them for whatever unit they use at home (including older models of Thermomix) – I continue to stand by the “agak-agak” ie. guesstimating philosophy when using these devices – tweaks, if any, are so minor that I really lack the attention span to document them scientifically. In short, my Thermomix recipes will work just fine in a Thermocook and vice versa.

It really depends on what you want to use it for, but having put both units through their paces over the last few months, every recipe that I’ve tried has worked out well in both the Thermomix and the Thermocook.

 

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