The Magic of ‘Varoma’: Cooking With Vapor & Aroma

by Gennefer Gross

 

If you’re an avid home cook, you’re probably already familiar with techniques such as caramelizing, blanching, slow roasting, and sous vide. But you likely haven’t heard of ‘Varoma,’ a term coined exclusively by Thermomix® to describe our proprietary tool for cooking food in ‘vapor’ combined with ‘aroma.’ This is done by adding spices to the water to infuse those aromas and flavors as the water steams.

Not only does the Varoma impart succulent scents into your favorite fish or meat, it also adds a depth of flavor you can’t normally achieve through steaming alone. How? It lets you layer multiple aromatic ingredients in a single dish. But before we delve into the many advantages of Varoma, including a recipe for trying out this technique yourself, here are some key benefits of steam-cooked food.  

Lowers Calories And Cholesterol.

Steamed food is infinitely better for you, since it removes the need for cooking oil or fats like butter. This results in lighter, healthier meals. Conventional methods such as grilling, baking or frying, cook the fat into the meat, which packs on the calories, and zaps the nutritional value.  Steaming however, preserves the vitamins and minerals, and lowers the overall cholesterol count.

Retains the fiber and color of vegetables.

When you steam-cook vegetables, they’re kept as close to their natural raw state as possible, allowing them to retain their original vibrant colors, taste, juices and freshness, while still being fully heated. Steaming also preserves 90% of the antioxidants in fresh vegetables, and gives you an optimal amount of fiber for easy digestion.

Holds onto essential vitamins and minerals.

Additionally, steaming ensures that vitamins such as vitamin B, which promotes healthy neurological function, and vitamin C, which is required for essential metabolic reactions in the body, are retained. It also conserves riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, biotin, B12, calcium, potassium and zinc, which help reduce the risk of heart disease and keeps glucosinolates in tact, which contain cancer fighting compounds.

Effortless quality and consistency.

Since steaming cooks ingredients evenly, you get consistent results in the freshest form possible in a fraction of time it would take using other methods. So, you never have to worry about burning or over-cooking your food. You can also stack different layers of food on top of each other, saving valuable time, energy and money.

No fuss in the kitchen.

No oil, no smoke, no mess makes for easy, hassle-free cleanup, especially with the Thermomix®!

This makes it easy to see the resulting merits of steam-cooking. The only real problem with steamed food has been that, traditionally, it tastes like, well, steamed food – often bland and lacking in texture. That’s why Varoma is such a game changer, giving you a healthy option, robust with flavor that rivals its deep fried counterparts.

You can use the Varoma method with proteins from salmon to chicken, and everything in between. Just pick the herbs, fragrant spices, or citrus fruits (like orange or lemon) that you want to steep your protein in, toss them in the Varoma tray, and let Thermomix® work its magic. Add as many as you’d like to create layers upon layers of flavor, and let your creativity run wild.

Think cilantro-lime chicken for a tantalizing taste of Mexico, coriander-mint lamb for a stroll through Thailand, or pineapple-cardamom-chive mahi mahi to invigorate its mild flesh with Caribbean flair. There’s no limit to the ingredients you can imbue in new and unexpected ways, and no better technique for transforming boring dishes into full-bodied flavor experiences.

Try out this Ginger Garlic Fish recipe from our Cookidoo® recipe platform to put Varoma to the test. This dish brings Branzino to life with a sweet and savory blend of herbs and spices that pack a punch and a powerhouse of nutrients, giving you healthy, flavorful food at its finest.

Ingredients

– 6 green onions (4 whole, 2 cut into pieces)

– 2 whole Branzino, gutted and cleaned (approx. 24-32 oz)

– 1 tsp salt

– 2 ½ ounce ginger, peeled (2 oz thinly sliced, .5 oz cut into ¼ inch pieces)

– 6 garlic cloves

– ½ oz cilantro leaves

– ½ tsp dried chili flakes

– 1 tbsp black bean chili sauce

– 2 tsp rice wine

– 2 tsp sesame oil

– 20 oz water

– fresh cilantro leaves

– 1 lime

– Chinese chives (for garnish)

Preparation

  1. Cut parchment to fit Varoma tray. Scrunch parchment into a ball under running water, squeeze out excess water and lay on to Varoma tray.
  2. Arrange 4 whole green onions onto Varoma tray. Season fish inside and outside with salt. Stuff fish with thinly sliced ginger (approx. 1 oz each). Place prepared fish over green onions, ensure Varoma lid closes securely and set aside.
  3. Place garlic, 2 cut green onions, .5 oz cut ginger, cilantro, chili flakes, black bean chili sauce, red wine and sesame oil into mixing bowl and chop 5 sec/speed 5. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula and sauté 2 min/212°F/speed 0.5.
  4. Evenly spread ginger-garlic mixture over prepared fish and set aside.
  5. Place 20 oz water into mixing bowl. Place Varoma into position, secure Varoma lid and steam 20-22 min/Varoma/speed 1 until fish is cooked through.
  6. Transfer steamed fish onto a serving platter, reserving sauce from parchment to pour over the fish. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges and Chinese chives.

Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices to create your own unique dish because with Varoma, the sky’s the limit and the flavor options are limitless.

To see first-hand how Thermomix® can save you time, and help you prepare delicious meals using Varoma, book a Thermomix® Cooking Experience today!