Bright fluorescent lights, an expansive floor of kitchen appliances large enough to confuse even Gordon Ramsey, and salespeople who promise the world – visiting an appliance store can be an assault on your senses.
Sometimes it’s better to stop and take a time out. When it comes to furnishing that kitchen of yours, it’s wise to consider what all these appliances can do for you, which of them you really need, and how you can get the most bang for your buck.
A good place to start is with tools that can do something you simply can’t. Take a food processor or blender, for instance. They are tools that you simply can’t do without – you can use your knife and chop till the cows come home or pound dough till your knuckles are sore, but you can never achieve the quality and specific consistency that these handy little helpers deliver.
Food processor vs blender
So, then: which one? Both have sharp blades, both have fancy knobs to work at different speeds, and both seem to look and sound awfully similar. Could it be there is actually little difference between them – that this is just another marketing ploy so that you buy more than you actually need?
We thought we’d ask the experts: C.Y. Phang, founder of Garden to Table Edible Garden & Artisanal Flavours and Chef Mong from Mongstirs.com. Below they share with us their views on these two appliances so you can decide whether you really need both – and, if not, then which one you should go with.
Without getting too technical, the difference between a blender and food processor is actually pretty simple. The former is preferable for liquids, while the latter is for tougher ingredients such as nuts, dough, and thick batter.
This means that a food processor is more versatile because it can handle different textures, and both solids and liquids. A blender, quite literally, focuses on the finer things – such as creating finely blended liquids including soups and smoothies.
“A food processor does not require adding liquids, unlike blenders. You can chop garlic, onion, carrots and more with the chopper or even make a pastry dough or dumpling wrappers. But a blender is good for smoothies, soups and anything else that requires a high amount of liquid. I like to use my blender to make sambal, curry and spice paste,” C.Y. reveals. “For instance, the Kenwood Blend X pro Professional Blender can blend my spice mixes very finely and the large jar is also very durable and shock-resistant.”
So there you have it – in a nutshell, the answer is no, you can’t replace a food processor with a blender and vice versa. Each appliance does well at what they are meant to do, and making them reach beyond their intended use usually results in an unsatisfactory product that will only hinder the Master Chef inside you.
However, if you only have the budget or space to buy one, or don’t harbour major culinary ambitions, you might have to make a choice. Let us help you decide just which one will be the best addition to your kitchen.
Working with the blender
With the current craze of superfoods, acai bowls, smoothies and so on, a blender is undeniably the best tool for the job. It can effortlessly mix up your favourites like avocado, chia seeds, berries, tomatoes and almond milk for your daily tonic.
Chef Mong says her favourite concoction is Muscle Milk, a smoothie she devised that blends all the goodness of almond milk, some superfoods and a touch of cinnamon and cocoa for taste. “The drink helps reduce inflammation as well as replenishing electrolytes and nutrients and is made with… you guessed it, the blender!”
150ml almond milk
2 pitted dates
1 whole banana
1 dash of cinnamon
2 cocoa beans
It’s pretty simple – throw them all in the blender and Bob’s your uncle!
Dishes for the food processor
As we’ve established, a food processor is one of the most versatile kitchen appliances.
“It not only breaks down food into smaller pieces – it chops up vegetables for dips, cake batter to ease your arm aches, and even shreds cheese for your favourite toppings!” Chef Mong says.
She offers a further tip: “Use your food processor to blitz butter. It quickly breaks up the butter into smaller usable pieces and also keeps it from melting too quickly. Blitz butter, anchovies, pepper and chilli flakes for an umami paste that can be topped onto steamed vegetables for a delicious yet healthy dish.”
Here’s a quick recipe on how to easily whip up a butternut squash dip for those movie nights at home.
450g butternut squash
150g grated parmesan cheese
A sprig of thyme
Cut the butternut squash into cubes.
Bake the butternut squash at 180-degree celsius for 30 mins.
Let the butternut squash cool to slightly warm and put it into the processor.
Remove thyme leaves and add into the processor.
Process until it becomes a puree.
Remove from processor and stir in the cheese, add salt and pepper to taste.
Choosing the right blender and food processor
Chef Mong personally prefers Kenwood’s food processor for her daily use and in classes. “The powerful motor gets things blitzed up really quickly and cuts down the minutes on every dish. Not to mention that each appliance comes with a generous bowl to contain all ingredients that prevent any splashes and fall out of the ingredients, creating a mess in the kitchen,” she tells us.
C.Y. on the other hand recognises the pros and cons for both and believes in the two appliances having an equal standing on your kitchen counter. “A food processor can make a variety of food, and it’s so much easier to clean than the blender jar as it’s so hard to reach the blade at the bottom. However, my trusty blender allows me to make my spices with ease. With ingredients that are harder such as ginger and turmeric, the blender is an absolute breeze to use.”
Chef Mong is a passionate baker that has been conducting classes for the past 10 years. An avid lover of food and a mother of five children, she continues to hone her culinary skills every day. Find her at Instagram @mongstirs and www.mongstirs.com
Sce Hwai Phang (popularly known as C.Y. Phang) is a recipe consultant, a baker, a cookbook author, a culinary educator, and the founder of Garden to Table Edible Garden & Artisan Flavours – a learning centre on sustainable gardening and cooking. Find her at Instagram @cyphang_gardentotable or @gardentotablepj or on Facebook.