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How to Convert Malaysian Recipes for the Thermomix

Plus – A Case Study Using My Easy Prawn and Pineapple Curry Recipe

If you’re a Thermomix TM6 owner you’re likely familiar with Cookidoo – a platform where you can pick and choose out of thousands of recipes. You select what you want to cook, and it guides you step-by-step with preset temperatures, times and speeds. 

But if you’re a Malaysian food enthusiast like me,  you might notice that many Malaysian recipes have yet to find their way onto the platform. 

I have some 400 recipes on this website which I’m working on adapting for the Thermomix, but in the interim, one of my Malaysian Street Food Academy students, Annie, has approached me with a question: how can she cook Malaysian dishes in her newly-acquired Thermomix without Thermomix-specific instructions?

The Thermomix seems very technical but when you break down the functions, adapting non-Thermomix recipes for it  (within reason, obviously – you’re not going to be baking cakes in the Thermomix, for instance) will quickly become second nature.

I’ll first list some broad principles which I personally follow, and then I’ll demonstrate how I parse a recipe like my previously-published Easy Prawn and Pineapple Curry for the Thermomix.

Here are the general guidelines I use:

  1. How Long (Time) –

    If I’m cooking rempah (spice paste), sambal tumis, or anything that requires sauteing until “the oil separates” – I cook it for longer than what most other recipes suggest – often, much longer. The reason is that the Thermomix’s temperature is capped at 120C, whereas your conventional stove would likely cook at a higher temp. Lower temp = it’ll take longer for the oil to separate.

    Example of how a spice paste or in this case, sambal, looks after the "oil separates"

    If I’m cooking anything else (ie. vegetables/meat etc.) in the mixing bowl with a measuring cup on – I cook it for a shorter period because the closed system in the Thermomix means everything cooks faster. Eg. if it takes 25 mins to cook chicken in a pan/wok, I would want to check after 15-20 mins in the Thermomix to see if the meat’s already cooked through before deciding whether to continue the cooking process.

    Also, IMPORTANT – because of the closed system environment in the Thermomix, there’s less evaporation taking place during the cooking process, which means you need LESS water/liquid than what a non-Thermomix-specific recipe would call for.

    Lastly, if I’m steaming in the Varoma, I find I need to steam it for longer because I find the Varoma steam weaker than what those of us who grew up with conventional steamers are accustomed to.

  2. How Hot (Temperature)

    Unless I’m cooking something that would be ruined if cooked at high temp (kaya or taufu fah or Kopitiam eggs etc.), I almost always set it 120C or Varoma (depending on what I’m cooking) when sauteing or frying. I go back and forth between these two settings because I’ve heard conflicting info about whether 120C is hotter or that vague “Varoma” temperature setting is hotter. Basically, when sauteing anything, hotter is better for me.

    I have previously “hacked” the High Temp (160C) Guided Cooking setting for ingredients other than what the recipes are designed for, but at this point I’ve come to decide it’s more trouble than it’s worth, so I just cook it with the manual setting at 120C and do it for longer – after all, since the TM6 is doing all the stirring for me, I can just let it stir for 60 mins or whatever, while I do other stuff.
  3. How Fast (Speed)The hotter and longer you cook, the higher the tendency of burning/scorching the bottom of your Thermomix bow, so I set the blade speed at about 1 or 2 when cooking spice pastes or similar, ie. faster than the lowest “stirring” setting.However, if I’m stirring something that SHOULDN’T be broken up into mush, then I set it at Stirring or 0.5 speed, AND I set the blade to Reverse Stir so the blunt side of the blade makes contact with your food rather than the sharp/choppity-chop side.
  4. Measuring Cup vs. Splash Guard/Simmer Basket:

    I use the measuring cup if I want to keep all the steam and heat in the bowl (eg. when cooking a curry with sauce etc.) and, obviously, when using the Thermomix as a blender or food processor or dough mixer etc.

    I replace the measuring cup with a splash guard or simmer basket when I want the steam to escape ie. when sauteing my spice paste or sambal etc.

    Simmer basket on the TM6 lid in place of the measuring cup-cap

    (Previous models of the Thermomix did not come with a splash guard, which I’m guessing is why most recipe instructions say to use a simmer basket in lieu of the measuring cup when the ideas is to let the steam escape/prevent food splatter; the TM6’s splashguard serves the same purpose, which is why I use them interchangeably, though some people might argue they’re not the same. Whatever.)

Okay now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s check out my Easy Prawn andd Pineapple Curry from a previous video/article:


Easy Prawn and Pineapple Curry


8 large prawns, peeled & deveined, heads intact

½ cup pineapple chunks

Sauce –

1 tsp chilli crush

1 tsp minced lemongrass

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ onion, minced

½ tsp turmeric powder

4 kaffir lime leaves – thinly shredded

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp mushroom stock granules or chicken powder (optional)

1 tsp salt

½ tsp belacan (shrimp paste), optional

250 mL Malaysian coconut milk


2 TBSP oil


  1. Combine sauce ingredients except coconut milk and mix into a paste. Fry with oil until it separates. 
  2. Add prawns and saute for 10 seconds, add pineapple and coconut milk.
  3. Simmer on low heat until prawns are cooked through, adding some water if you prefer a thinner sauce. 
  4. Adjust seasoning, remove from heat and serve.


  • First of all, you’ll notice the ingredients list assumes you have separately minced the lemongrass, garlic & onion and shredded the kaffir lime leaves beforehand.In fact, what I usually do is process these ingredients in bulk in the Thermomix, then store them in the fridge/freezer, and take out and use what I need each time.
  • Alternatively, you can combine the 2 cloves garlic and ½ an onion and mince them together in the Thermomix – say speed 6/7 for 2-3 seconds, or until they’re the desired texture. If you’re not fussed about the kaffir lime leaves looking evenly shredded, you could also add that to the garlic/onion to mince together.
  • Lemongrass generally takes more effort to mince, so if you decide to mince the equivalent of one tiny teaspoon’s worth (rather than do it in bulk like I do), you could similarly add it to the bowl together with the onion/garlic/kaffir lime leaves – but you would want to mince it at a higher speed and perhaps for a little more than 3 seconds.
  • Step 1 in the Method works the same in the Thermomix; the only thing you’d need to figure out is at what temperature, time and speed to cook the ingredients. Based on the earlier guidelines, I would cook it at 120C/15-20 minutes/Speed 1. I would also replace the measuring cup with the splash guard on the lid, so it allows the steam to escape.
  • At Step 2, skip sauteing the prawns for 10 seconds (not worth the bother); I would add the prawns, pineapple pieces and coconut milk (use less of the coconut milk because of Point 1 above!) together, and cook until done. Remember prawns and pineapple pieces are fragile and they cook quickly; depending on the size of the prawns, I would cook it for 3-5 minutes/100C/Reverse Stir (so the blades don’t end up chopping up the prawn and pineapple pieces). I would ALSO switch the splash guard back out and use the measuring cup, because this time, I need a closed system to keep all the heat and steam in the TM bowl so the food cooks quickly.
  • Finally, as per Step 4, just adjust seasoning and serve.

Classic example of “DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO” – top photo is the Easy Prawn and Pineapple Curry cooked in the Thermomix without reducing the amount of coconut milk, and which ended up with LOTS more sauce, vs bottom photo which was the original non-Thermomix iteration. Both by yours truly, obviously (and truth be told, I actually liked it with more sauce).

I wanted to cover the topic of using AI to help with recipe conversions (and which tool works best) but this post is already too long as it is, so I’ll deal with it in a separate write-up another time.

Suffice it to say that my stance when it comes to generative AI (unlike those from the Foodies Against Revolutionary Technology aka F.A.R.T. movement, who want them banned and try to shut down dissenting views)  is that you could treat it as a tool to help you get your productivity up, but you will absolutely need to evaluate the results and apply your own touch to them if you want to avoid massive recipe fails.

If you are interested in my Thermomix content, join my mailing list at JackieM.com.au/TM6 – and I’ll catch you in your inbox.



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