Why Varoma recipes don’t convert well

At the start of last month (September 2012) I bought a Bellini Intelli Kitchen Machine aka a Fakomix or Thermofake. The experience wasn’t the greatest as the machine pooped itself within 3 weeks and had to be returned for a refund, there was however one positive part to the experience, that was connecting with the Bellini Addicts facebook page and its users. It’s rare to come across such welcoming and helpful online communities, this is the reason why I am still a member on the page even now after taking delivery of my Thermomix 2 days ago. One of the things that stumped many of us on the page was converting the Varoma (steaming basket) recipes, they just didn’t seem to work. From whole chickens to the famous Quirky Cooking Thermomix Fried Rice recipe, nothing seemd to convert properly.

Last night I held a demonstration for some family and friends and I noticed a few differences that will explain why.

1) Temperature: TM recipes often quote varoma temperature which I learned last night is over 100. The TM Varoma temperature is designed to create maximum steam, there is no steam/basket setting on the BIKM.

2) Varoma v’s Steaming Basket – there are two main differences which I think are most responsible for the inability to effectively convert varoma recipes. I have taken a picture of the underside of the bottom basket of my varoma to show you.

The first thing you’ll notice is there is a larger perforated area, the area with perforations on the bottom of the Bellini steamer basket is the same size as the hole in the top of the jug. The second thing (and I didn’t notice this at first) is the rim around the perforated area. This rim lifts the basket up off the lid of the jug and allows the steam to pass through the entire performated base, not just a small area the size of the jug lid. By allowing more steam into the basket over a larger surface area, it is only common sense that cooking times will be much quicker in the varoma oppossed to the Bellini where the basket sits flat against the jug lid.

I guess we now know why there has been an abundance of raw dinners being produced in Bellini steamer baskets! Unfortunately I don’t have any answers to solve this problem other than to suggest extending the cooking times. Please share in the comments section if you have found a conversion method that works.
I did however find one thing that might be of use when converting TM recipes, the table which is pictured below. From my understanding all fakomixes are modelled on the earlier TM21 model, the EDC (everyday cookbook) which is supplied with a thermomix contains a conversion table for times and speeds between the two models. The interval setting is also known as the kneading setting and the turbo button is the equivalent of the pulse button on the BIKM. Hopefully this will help those converting away!

And lastly for those of you with models that don’t contain scales somewhere on the unit, Homeart has digital scales on sale for 50% off, making them a very reasonable $14.95. The scales measure in both pound/ouncess and grams/kg, in increments of 1g, up to 5kg and has a one touch tare button. The scales can be used with or without the clear bowl pictured, the base is larger than the jug base on the BIKM. Before returning my unit I was placing the jug on the scales to add ingredients to save washing up all those measuring cups and spoons.

Happy Cooking

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Mrs P says:

    I have since been told that the lastest versions of the BIKM have a setting above 100c which is ST (steam) it seems my model did not have this setting, however the main problem as I see it is the ability of the steam to actually get into the basket through the much smaller opening.

    1. Karen says:

      I have tried putting a t-towel over the top steamer holes. This seems to keep the steam circulating better and reduces cooking times.

  2. Alison Joy says:

    Thank you for this, Mrs P. I have a Thermochef and I am keen to make some vege stock but I wasn’t sure what temp was ‘Varoma’ to convert the recipe.

  3. Natalie says:

    Thank you this was super helpful! My husband is sick of raw dinners 🙂

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