Two weeks ago, we headed to the mall to buy an air fryer (AF). We’ve had our eye on one item in particular and, since it was discounted, we decided to get it. Prior to this, we’ve had a look at other stores and other brands. Most of them seemed disproportionate. Majority of what we saw were over 4 litres in capacity. This wasn’t what we needed. Some were analogue, others, digital. Some were branded like Phillips and Tefal, others were simpler and no-frills. Shopping for AFs has progressed to a task onto itself, hopping from store to store, keeping an eye out, and judging what others had to say.
Late last year, we bought another tower fan in anticipation of summer. While we were paying for the fan, we sighted an AF. Even at fifteen percent off, the price of the AF was too steep. We didn’t need all the bells and whistles. Plus, the product’s size was an issue. However, the episode brought the AF to our attention. Upon further research, I’d learn that these cookers use little to no oil. They usually serve one to two people, making it a smaller, power-saving addition to the griller. They also cut cooking times, since they are slighter, thus more concentrated.
During Boxing Day, as the nation went nuts over the sales, we discovered the Sunbeam AF. We liked the appearance. Furthermore, we’ve had Sunbeam products before. At three litres, it wasn’t Gigantor. In the same store, there was one at 1.5 litres, a snack fryer. This wouldn’t work for us since it would only serve one human. The fryer which we bought has a ceramic coating and a non-stick interior. There is an easy release handle to eject the tray from the body. You can manually adjust the temperature from 0 to 200 degrees. There is also a timer which you can set until thirty minutes.
Over time, I’ve made simple meals with the cooker. I’ve heated meatballs. I prepared chips and nuggets. I’ve re-heated rice and bread. It’s all about the right time and temp. One time I re-heated fried chicken for five minutes and it turned as hard as stone. Apparently, 200 degrees for refrigerated chicken is too much. I also learned that you cannot heat refrigerated pizza on high for 8 minutes. I got confused as the manual said 5-7 minutes for frozen pizza. However, that was for pizzas stored in the freezer. Otherwise, the end result would be barely edible.
One thing that AFs could do best is crafting spring rolls. Interestingly, this is something that you wouldn’t be able to do on the grill. Just add all the ingredients, baste each roll with oil on both sides, before popping them onto the cooker. At this point, I’m still figuring out the proper settings. However, I could assure you that you shouldn’t set the temp at medium. Unless you want to end up with half-cooked rolls, you’re better off going with 150 degrees and above. Given the right process, the spring rolls will be golden and crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside. Cooked the precise way, the rolls would look just as gorgeous as those deep-fried, without the nasties.
Here to stay
Having to add more time to your cooking is better than to have everything overdone. In other words, undercooked is more acceptable than overcooked. Using the cooker is like experimenting, searching for the right method and the right quantities. The fact that it uses 99.4 percent less oil seems like a conceit. Indeed, for some recipes such as frozen pizzas, nuggets and burgers, no extra oil is necessary. The timer will also make sure that your meal is ready. Judging from the web, air fryers have made a ripple. As people continue to search for convenient and healthy cooking, there is no doubt that these products will remain in demand.