For noodlephiles, the Philips Noodle Maker looks like a dream come true. Retailing at S$329 ($263, £160, AU$293) in Singapore, the clunky machine easily blends flour and egg together and turns the resulting dough into noodles in less than 10 minutes. For those living in the US, the Noodle Maker is available for $349 as the Philips Avance Collection Pasta Maker.
If you're travelling to Asia, the Noodle Maker is available in four countries -- Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, and you should be able to pick one up at any large electrical appliance store. Do note that the model in Japan runs on 110V while Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore are 240V models.
Over a weekend I put the Philips Noodle Maker through its paces. While it's a far cry from my usual beat of mobile phones, I consider myself something of a pasta and noodle fanatic. The great news is that the Noodle Maker delivers on its promise of good, easy noodles.
The Philips Noodle Maker comes kitted with four mould caps, cleaning tools, measuring cups and a recipe book. While you don't really need to follow the recipes provided, they give you a great starting point on what ingredients you should use to start your noodle adventure.
A standard two-to-three-person portion requires around 250g of flour, egg and some water. You can also add spinach or beetroot juice for extra flavour. The noodle making itself is really easy -- select the right mould, secure the base plate, add flour, secure the cover, then slowly pour the egg and water mix into the container as the machine spins up to knead it all into a dough.
After kneading the dough for a preset time (from five to seven minutes), the machine then begins to automatically extrude the dough through the mould. The four different moulds let you create spaghetti, linguine, angel-hair, or penne. The Japanese version does away with the penne pasta mould for an udon mould instead.
The one thing the Noodle Maker doesn't do is to cut the noodles as they come out. So you'll need to do so manually with scissors or end up with overly long noodles.
After extruding almost all of the dough, the machine will then do a little rewind to take out the leftover bits and then start up again. It's able to squeeze out just a little bit more noodle, but you'll end up with some leftover dough that you can either store for next time or throw away.
You'll end up with a fair amount of left over dough. It might be a waste to throw it away, but the machine simply isn't able to utilize 100 percent of the ingredients.
Unlike the pasta that you buy from supermarkets, the freshly-made pasta cooks much quicker -- around eight minutes for al dente. If you cook it for too long, you'll end up with soggy pasta.
The angel-hair pasta is even faster to cook, so around three minutes in salted boiling water should be long enough. The noodles made with the provided recipe tasted great, and as long as you stick to the recipe you won't have issues.
Once the machine's done churning out the noodles, cleaning up is actually pretty easy. Most of the dough easily crumbles into the trash bin, so you'll just need a wet cloth to wipe away stray flour. Give everything a quick rinse with soap and you're mostly done.
Getting the dough out from the mould is a little tougher, but the manual recommends leaving the cap in the freezer for about two hours, before using the mould cap to push the entire lump of frozen dough out. This works out pretty well, as the frozen dough falls out in one piece.
The bottom line
While the Noodle Maker isn't something you'd use every day, the novelty of having fresh noodles and pasta on demand is certainly appealing at that price. The only thing I didn't like was the weight and size of the machine -- it takes up a fair bit of space, but you can always store it elsewhere when it's not in use.
If you're careful about the ingredients used in your dishes, this will definitely give you control over your carbs. Also, noodle fanatics will definitely enjoy being able to whip out fresh noodles very quickly on a whim. If that sounds like you, be sure to free up some kitchen space for your new gadget.