Hi, my name is Jennifer Lam and I'm a fried food lover.
Put me in front of some piping hot chips, a
bowl bucket of onion rings, a plate of light and crispy tempura prawns or a pile of golden fried banana fritters, and you'll make me weak at the knees.
While in my fantasy world, I'd be able to eat foods like that endlessly without developing obesity or a cholesterol or heart condition, in the real world, I'm used to exercising lots of self control. It's easy at home because I'm rather terrified of frying. It's the micro-explosions of oil, the fear that it will blister my arms or blind my eyes.
So rarely do I get the pleasure of eating fried foods at home.
However, over the last fortnight, I've had the delight of testing Philip's new Airfryer. The whole concept is a bit of a contradiction as the idea of frying is to use ridiculous amounts of oil to achieve massive crunch... So yes, I was very skeptical about the results... That is, until I actually used it.
I've just become a bit obsessed since - airfrying everything I've ever wanted to fry by myself.
Here are ten things I've air-fried to date:
1. Fish and chips
This was probably one of the quickest dinners I've ever made. Perch fillets are crumbed in ground tortilla chips and then placed into one half (it comes with a removable separator) of the Airfryer. On the other hand, potatoes are cut, soaked in water and pat dry. Then they're lightly coated with half tablespoon of olive oil, and poured straight into the other side of the Airfryer. The timer was set to 15 minutes and dinner was served.
I was extremely impressed with how evenly the fish was fried, and how effortless it was. In a normal grill-oven, you'd normally have to turn them around a couple of times or continuously check for even heat distribution - with this, you don't.
2. Salmon croquettes
This was a really quick afternoon snack, made of salmon, egg, dill and chives. The main difference with preparing croquettes for air-frying as opposed to oil deep-frying, is that you need to mix in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil with the breadcrumbs prior to crumbing. Cooking time was only 7 minutes, and out came these golden brown morsels.
3. Spicy drumsticks with barbecue marinade
These drumsticks were done in 30 minutes, from start to finish. A homemade barbecue marinade was made from garlic, mustard, brown sugar, chilli powder, black pepper and olive oil. This was rubbed over the drumsticks and air-fried for 20 minutes, that is 10 minutes at a pre-heated 200°C and then lowered to 150°C and roasted for another 10 minutes.
The drumsticks are slightly crisp and well caramelised... So juicy and tasty!
4. Prawn crackers and pappadums
After the third usage, I was feeling quite confident with the Airfryer and got thinking about fried foods that I well and truly love to eat. Who can resist prawn chips or pappadums?
I sprayed these with olive oil and air-fried them in batches of 3 - 4 for a couple of minutes each.
They don't expand as much as when fried in oil, but still have the indulgent crunch that I adore. Plus they now have a clean and non-greasy taste!
Store-bought frozen fries can be thrown straight into the Airfryer but I like to make mine from scratch. It's a bit more time consuming (about an extra 30 minutes prep time) but oh so rewarding.
For best results, waxy potatoes must be used. After the preparation process, where the spuds need to be cut into strips, soaked in cold water, patted dry and coated in a tablespoon of oil, they're pre-fried at a higher temperature, allowed to cool, and then fried a second time.
In total, the potatoes only spend about 15 minutes in the Airfryer and the results are beautiful non-greasy golden brown fries.
6. Sweet potato crisps
These were a little trickier to air-fry as the sweet potatoes were shaved so thin, they clung onto each other once they were coated in a bit of oil. So I had to be careful with how they were placed in the Airfryer but other than that, these were definitely a delicious wholesome alternative to its deep-fried twin!
7. Dry rub fried chicken wings
The explosions of chicken skin blistering in oil scares the heck out of me, but this time, all that occurred within the Airfryer, and saved me the pain of ducking and cleaning up! A dry rub of garlic, ginger powder, ground cumin and freshly ground pepper was rubbed on the chicken wings and then air-fried for just 10 minutes.
As you can see, they're crisp and flavoursome!
8. Crispy duck pies
I've been wanting to use this recipe from Donna Hay's cookbook No Time To Cook for a while now. Finely chopped roast duck is mixed with chopped green onion, hoisin sauce and plum sauce and encased between two gow gee wrappers. These were air-fried and ready in about 10 minutes and were unbelievably scrumptious.
9. Prawn toast
By now, I was feeling a bit more adventurous and decided to make some prawn toast - the ultimate party food. Crumbing seemed to have worked a treat so far and I happened to come across Neil Perry's fabulous prawn toast recipe, from his cookbook Balance and Harmony.
With the first batch, I forgot to adapt the recipe and mix oil into the bread crumbs so there was a noticeable dryer texture. By the second batch, we just kept demolishing these straight out of the Airfryer!
This only took about 15 minutes to prepare, 10 minutes per batch in the Airfryer and no effort in cleaning up as the Airfryer is dishwasher-proof! But more about that later.
10. Eggplant chips
Inspired by another Donna Hay recipe, these eggplant sticks are air-fried for about 25-30 minutes until crisp, sprinkled with sumac and served with a coriander, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and yoghurt dip. It was such an easy Middle-Eastern themed snack. Love it!
How does it work?
The Airfryer combines fast circulating hot air with a grill. As you can see with the test results above, you're able to prepare tasty fried foods with very little oil.
Because hot air is ued to prepare food rather than oil, it also emits fewer vapours and odours so the house (and you) don't smell :)
The only negative is that it's not made for wet coating type batters.
How much does it cost?
The Philips Airfryer is now available from leading electrical and department stores at RRP $329.
In general, I was really pleased with how economical the Airfryer was for a small household like mine - we didn't have to fill up an entire pan with oil just to cook a small meal for two! It was also a relief to know that there was no possibility of getting burnt from random explosions of oil.
The two major benefits I experienced with the Airfryer was how quick it cooked food, particularly with the convenience of the timer, which meant I could step out of the kitchen to do other things; and how the parts are removable, non-stick and fits into the dishwasher with ease!
It is a little pricey, being over the $300 mark, but you gotta love hassle-free frying! I guess it comes down to - how much do you really love fried food?
JENIUS sampled the Philips Airfryer thanks to Philips and Fleishman-Hillard