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Thermomix and Japanese Cooking

It’s been a few years since I brought a Thermomix into my kitchen and it would not be an understatement to say that it’s become my right-hand man (or woman?) of sorts. If my blog is anything, it should at least hopefully serve as a testament to how much more cooking a karate-doing, doll-collecting, craft-making, working mother of two can achieve thanks to a machine. The Thermomix has helped me to cook more things more often and IMHO it’s been worth its hefty price tag.

As über helpful as it is though, I’m not adverse to identifying the shortcomings of the Thermomix and Japanese cooking is one area where you may as well not have one. While I’ve discovered a stellar collection of recipes for various other cuisines on the net, there was a relative dearth of Japanese recipes for the Thermomix. Even a quick Google search in Japanese for recipes for the TMX only yielded Western style dishes posted by a small handful of Japanese bloggers. I did however find some really cool things that people have experimented with (such as making ‘tororo’, or yam paste) which I look forward to trying.

From the Thermomix Japan website. A happy, German nuclear family poses with their old TM21. Will this sell the TMX to Japanese people?

Visiting the official Japanese Thermomix website was not terribly enlightening either and I’ll bet my bottom yen that it hasn’t been updated much since it was first uploaded, circa 2006. In fact, the machine most featured on the website is the TM21 and we all know that the current model is the TM31 (right?). Dare I say someone thought it would be a good idea to launch the Thermomix in Japan but clearly it wasn’t. It may actually be popular in commercial kitchens but a lack of domestic interest in the TMX means there’s not a lot of recipe sharing happening.

Thermomix may not be so popular in Japan for some cultural and logistical reasons. Firstly, most Japanese kitchens are relatively small with only one working bench area. The average microwave oven used in Japan is smaller than the Thermomix! Unless kitchen storage room is plentiful the TMX is a hulk of a machine to accommodate in a typical Japanese ‘LDK’ (flat or apartment).

Also, the amount of food the Thermomix produces is generous which is a bonus for most Western households and appetites but not so much in Japan. If you consider the risotto recipe in the Everyday Cookbook (which even I adjusted in Lettuce Risotto), it can easily feed eight adults. The same amount of risotto would freak out a Japanese family (typically of four or less people) of modest appetite. In a country where freshly bought and prepared fare daily is king, leftovers aren’t always welcomed.

Kaiseki Ryori – The pinnacle of Japanese cuisine. Kaiseki consists of one small dish from each of the fundamental styles of Japanese cooking. We’ll see what of these the TMX can achieve!

Ultimately though, I believe the lack of Japanese recipes for the Thermomix is due to it not being particularly compatible with the fundamental styles of Japanese cooking. In short, the Thermomix doesn’t make life easier for the average Japanese home cook. In Australia (and elsewhere) it’s been touted as the machine that can replace all others but in Japan, where the bulk of cooking processes is generally done by hand, the Thermomix doesn’t replace much, if at all.

So let’s look at those fundamental styles and see whether the Thermomix can be of service or not:

  • grilled and pan-fried dishes (yakimono) such as Teriyaki Chicken, Ginger Pork etc.
    – Kinda. You can pan-fry some things in the TMX but the result is more moist than dry which doesn’t help with the glazing process for some dishes.
  • stewed/simmered/cooked/boiled dishes (nimono) such as Buta No Kakuni (simmered pork belly)
    – Kinda. The TMX tends to retain moisture in its bowl so reduction cooking is a little difficult, if not impossible for some dishes.
  • stir-fried dishes (itamemono) such as sauteed green beans.
    – Kinda. The TMX sautees well so some dishes are possible but things that need a long time to cook through may end up more moist than crisp.
  • steamed dishes (mushimono)
    – Varoma is a marvel at steaming, so YES!!
  • deep-fried dishes (agemono)
    – No. Just no.
  • soups (suimono ??? and shirumono)
    – Yes! Miso soup is easy to do in a TMX as with all other Japanese style broths.
  • pickled/salted vegetables (tsukemono)
    – Kinda. More for preparation perhaps.
  • dishes dressed with various kinds of sauce (aemono)
    – Yes. The TMX is the ace of sauce making after all.
  • vinegared dishes (su-no-mono ???)
    – Kinda. Again, more for preparation.

From this you can probably gather that the moisture retaining ability of the Thermomix isn’t actually a benefit where Japanese cooking is concerned. It’s perfect for sauce based dishes such as curries and pasta but for most part, a frying pan or saucepan just does the job better for most Japanese recipes. For everything else in the list above that a Thermomix might be useful for, you can well appreciate that a home cook in Japan can find other ways to do the same thing.

So is there any point in trying to cook Japanese food with the Thermomix? Therein lies a pretty cool challenge for me since I’ve always wanted to work with more Japanese ingredients and produce delicious food with it via the Thermomix. I’ll post any recipes I convert successfully here and should there be some Japanese or Japanese food cooking Thermomix users out there who could refute or support anything I’ve discussed here, it would be great to hear from you!

With that, I’ll move on to my first recipe.



  1. Blue Apocalypse

    October 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Great post Moni and I look forward to reading about your endeavours into Japanese cooking with a Thermomix! I feel the same way about Chinese/Vietnamese cooking. Sometimes I think that having a Thermomix would be cool but I don’t think I would actually use it that much because of the style of cooking that I do.


    • Monica

      October 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks Ai-Ling! It’s about the only drawback about the Thermomix if your main cuisine is Asian. I think some Chinese recipes would work but I certainly can’t imagine it being that useful for Vietnamese dishes. We’ll see what we can conjure up anyway for Japanese cooking :)

  2. Romi

    December 9, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Monica! I came across your blog while following your link for congee from the recipe community, and I’m so glad to have found this blog! I’ve just put in an order for my TM and I’m super excited, but I am faced with the same conundrum as you with the lack of Japanese recipes (and yes I did the same as you-checked out the Japanese website only to find it pretty much useless and very outdated!). I love love love Japanese food (I’m originally from Japan too) and I was blindly hoping that my TM would miraculously whip me up all my fave Japanese dishes within minutes, but I guess what you’re saying makes a lot of sense. So I really look forward to seeing new recipes on your blog, but in the meantime I’ll be trying out some of your existing ones which look amazing, starting from the congee!

    • Monica

      December 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      Hi there! So glad you stopped by and nice to meet you :) Yes, while the Thermomix makes a lot of cool things, there are just some world cuisines that don’t work that well with it. I think there’s a lot of potential with Varoma (like for Chawanmushi) but I guess we’ll have to see. Please let me know if you discover any fun Japanese recipes for the TMX. I am going to try some warabi mochi this week :D

  3. Katrina

    March 25, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Can I use my Australian tm31 in Japan?

    • Monica

      March 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Katrina. I think you’ll need to do some research but my feeling is that you’ll need a transformer or voltage inverter to power something like a Thermomix in Japan. I don’t believe it handles multiple voltages unlike laptops and other appliances so you’ll end up frying it if you connect the TMX to power using just an adapter. If you’re moving there for more than a year it’s probably worth investing in a transformer as you’ll be able to use other appliances you might take over.

      • Shilpa

        April 1, 2016 at 2:46 am

        Hi Monica, I am doing some research on the Thermomix on Japanese and Asian markets/cooking? Would you have some time for a quick discussion? I can email you the questions or call you. Your help will be appreciated. Thanks and look forward to hearing from you.

        • Moni

          April 6, 2016 at 9:24 am

          Hi there. Thanks for visiting. I am about to launch a new blog focussing on Japanese cooking and the Thermomix this month. I’d be happy to have a chat and I think some parts of the blog may help answer some questions too. Please feel free to reply here or send me a message via my Contact page.

    • Meg C Cherry

      April 6, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      Hello Katrina, I brought my Australian TM31 to Japan 2 years ago, and have not used it, as the Thermomix advice was to invest in a very good quality transformer (around $200). My hubby baulked at the cost, so it has sat on my benchtop looking pretty ever since. 2 years on I wish I had made the investment, as I miss my risottos and easy cake-making!
      There don’t appear to be any sold here – I spotted the German manufacturer’s shop in Tokyo last year, but it only stocked other products. As the lady below said, I don’t think it’s particularly useful for Japanese cuisine, and it’s too big for most kitchens here.

  4. shiori

    February 8, 2014 at 6:15 am

    HI Monica, i came upon your site while trying find on the internet whether i can use Thermomix to make kochi — the whole process (steam the sticky rice and knead it). If it does this, i am thinking of getting Thermomix. I saw that you make warabi mochi with it. So Thermomix can make mochi? i can’t find anything on this on the internet. Thanks so much!!!

    • Moni

      February 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Hello Shiori! Thanks for visiting. I had always been meaning to see if I can make regular mochi in the Thermomix and although I think it’s not possible, I will try. The Thermomix works/works best with ingredients that are either somewhat liquid or loose (grains, beans etc.) and mochi is basically neither of those :( I will try making ohagi first since it doesn’t have to be smooth and then move on to mochi. I’ll let you know what happens :)

      • Enzo

        May 5, 2014 at 6:21 am

        Hello, have you been able to make some mochi in your TMX? I would love to know !

        • Moni

          May 6, 2014 at 8:48 pm

          Hi Enzo. Thanks for visiting. I think I am going to have to give it a try in earnest as many people seem interested. I’m not too optimistic as mochi lacks moisture ultimately and the Thermomix needs some amount of liquid or air in its ingredient to move around well. I think the mochi will stick to the bowl too much but I’m willing to give it a try!

  5. Meg Cherry in Tokyo

    March 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Hi – I have just brought my TM31 to Japan from Australia, and it doesn’t work!! I need to invest in a transformer, but when I went to buy one today, i was told I needed to know what the wattage of the machine was. The transformers are over Aus $200, so not a small investment to make if I want to use it for the next 2 years whilst we are posted here. I am not anticipating doing much Japanese food in it, but would be good to be able to still make my risottos and soups etc.

  6. Carol Mochizuki

    May 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Hi Monica
    I’ve looked all over where to buy a Thermonix in Japan but like u say, only the T21 is available (that was told to me by Hisaguchi-san who’s listed as the Tech Service Provider) & there’s no official site anywhere on the net for Japan. Neither Amazon Japan nor Rakuten has it but I found it on Amazon US though it’s 240v which is useless here. I figured both Korea & Taiwan use the same voltage & that I might get from there instead. Any ideas/advice/suggestions which will be helpful in acquiring it? Thanks
    Just for your info, Amazon US price is $2999.99, while in Europe is E996 which is about US$1380 & in Malaysia/Singapore it’s presently about US$1742. Price aside, it’s the voltage that is the main problem for me though the US price is out of this world!!!

    • Moni

      May 6, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Hi Carol. Thanks for visiting :) Hope you’re enjoying the spring weather in Japan!

      I think you would need to buy one of those heavy, boxy transformers to convert the voltage correctly and safely. Even then I’d be pretty nervous with a TMX given its price tag :| You might be able to ask an electrician to rate the machine for safe usage with a transformer but it means having to buy the TMX first. I can’t say I’ve heard about the TMX being used in Korea or Taiwan but maybe it’s worth contacting the head office in Germany to see what they have to say too? Incidentally, the Thermomix is just under 2000 AUD so about 1900 USD here in Australia but you can only buy one through a consultant, sort of like Tupperware :) Please let me know what you do!

      • Carol Mochizuki

        May 6, 2014 at 9:25 pm

        Hi Monica
        Feedback FYI – no response from Korea & couldn’t translate their homepage. Taiwan was very courteous but don’t provide international shipping though if I were to go to Taiwan, they encouraged me to visit & buy direct by cash or credit card & gave me a contact no. Vorwerk HQ rep is away till May/7 so maybe will get a response then.
        No, a step-up transformer is a bad idea as from 110 to 220-240v, the electricity bill will sky rocket but more important, if there’s any problem, they might void the warranty (if any) if I use the transformer. I found some on eBay but not for 100v. Sigh!! Looks like I’m out of luck totally.
        Thanks for taking the time to reply & wishing u great success in yr mochi experiment. Gambatte!!

  7. Benedicte

    September 3, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Hello every TM lovers living in Japan,
    I bought TM31 in France 3 years ago (220-240V/50-60Hz, max 1500W) and it works perfectly with a transformer: check that input ??/output ?? voltage fits as well as the watt capacity. Mine has a 1100 W capacity and I never had any problem. It is heavy and costs about 20/30,000 Jpy (Internet or Akihabara /Tokyo or sayonara sales).
    I was wondering why TM 31 was not developed for Japan (as it is for South Korea & Taiwan) but guess that japanese recipes are limited. It is just wonderful if you want to try French cooking (easy & cheap for family/healthy…) as you can find ingredients easily here in Japan.
    Let me know if you are interested to test and taste some easy & really good recipes !

    • theresalee

      July 14, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Benedicte,

      would you mind to show me the picture of your transformer? My sister-in-law wanted to buy one fr Malaysia and bring it to Japan. We are worry about cant find the right transformer with the right Watt.



      • Carol Mochizku

        July 28, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        Hi Theresa Lee
        I bought my TMX fr M’sia & had it shipped to Jpn & hv been using it for about 1 year now. U can buy the Step-up/Step-down Transformer either from Amazon Japan or Rakuten. Get one with 1500Watt 100V-230V. Can’t post the picture but go to Amazon or Rakuten to see it

      • Carol Mochizuki

        July 28, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        Hi Theresa
        I bought my TMX fr M’sia, had it shipped to Japan & hv been using for about 1 year now. U need to get a Step up/down transformer 1500Watt, 100-230V which is available fr Amazon Japan, Rakuten or Yodobashi all of which u can buy online. I can’t post the picture for u to see but go to any of these websites & u will find the picture. U hv to buy fr Japan to ensure the voltage meets the above requirements

        • Shilpa

          April 1, 2016 at 2:43 am

          Hi Carol,. Is the Thermomix available in Japan at all? Or do you have to buy it online from other countries and get it shipped?

          • wordiepCarol mochizuki

            April 6, 2016 at 2:46 pm

            Hi Shilpa
            Not available in Japan at all. Online sites are available in Australia, some European countries, but they don’t do international shipping. If u know people in Aust/Malaysia, u can get them to buy & ship to u but u need to use a transformer. Pls read above comments. If u want, I have a very good source in Malaysia who can ship to u & that offers excellent after-sales support but there’s a price increase within the next 2 weeks

          • Shilpa

            April 16, 2016 at 2:38 am

            Hi carol, Thanks. How much is the price increase in Malaysia? Do you know how much it costs? Thanks!

          • wordiep

            April 16, 2016 at 7:35 pm

            Hi Shilpa
            Current price is RM6388 (Malaysian ringgit = Yen178,166 today’s exchange rate) but only till tomorrow -Apr/17. After which there’s a price increase but they havn’t informed yet by how much.

  8. Lucia

    October 21, 2016 at 4:57 am

    Thank you so much for your post. I really enjoy Japanese food and as you said it is not easy to find recipes of Japanese dishes that can be prepared with Thermomix. Thanks for your recipes. Greetings from Spain.

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