Cooking with air
Thanks to Andrew Baber from Fleishman-Hillard for sending me a product sample of the Philips Viva Collection AirFryer to test. When promoted as the ‘Best tasting fries without the oil’ — OK, I’ll bite and give this one a go. The only thing that interested me to try cooking in it was fries even though it came with a recipe book of ideas — I'm a simple man and a simpler cook. Although I take my hat off to Jenius who managed to find the time to cook 10 things with some success. My first cooking test was using frozen Crinkle Cut Chips. I ended up cooking for about 15-20 minutes at 200 degrees. The good thing about using the AirFyer was that it was easy to pull out the tray to shake up the chips throughout the cooking process to get more even cooking. You could start to hear them crisping up. The AirFryer makes a bit of noise but not too disturbing. I thought it would blow a lot of smoke out the vent but it remained pretty much smoke free although you could still smell the cooking. Taste testing went well and the office enjoyed the afternoon snack.
The second cooking test was cutting my own chips leaving the skin on. The recipe book said to soak in water for 30 minutes then dry. Add a bit of olive oil and then pop into the AirFyer. I cooked these for about 20 minutes on 180 degrees and then a further 4 minutes on 200 degrees. Could have maybe gone for a bit longer. They didn't really come out as crispy as the frozen chips but they were quite tasty after seasoning with some salt, pepper, paprika and barbecue smoky seasoning and probably had less oil. The taste testing around the office was successful. I'm not sure how I could crisp them up even more. Perhaps letting them cool a bit and then cooking them on high again might have helped? The heating design of the AirFryer reminds me of a mini convection oven that moves the hot air around inside. Distribution of the heat seemed fairly even when cooking the chips but it does help to shake the chips up during the cooking process. If I was doing a small batch of chips I'd probably use again or maybe try and cook some spicy chicken wings of some description. I guess you could easily cook most frozen products like springs rolls, sausage rolls, wontons etc but these can also be done in a normal oven too.
PROS: Simple design that's easy to use, Can cook with little oil, Easy to wash up, I think uses less energy than an oven, Easy to check on the progress of the cooking
CONS: Could be considered expensive, Limited volume compared to an oven, Can't really put wet battered items like a deep fryer, Timer is not exact, Takes up bench space, Might be considered a single use appliance by some
MUST TRY: Cooking other things like chicken wings with a nice spicy seasoning
Big box for a more compact appliance
Cooking fries instructions — very important
'Best tasting fries without the oil' — now that's a big claim but it does include an asterisk. I wonder if the MasterChef judges would ever consider not using oil and butter to cook their fries.
Cooking test 1: Frozen chips
First test: Woolworths Crinkle Cut Chips ($2.40, 1 kg)
Frozen chips (left), Cooked chips (right) — they look the same due to frozen fries already being pre cooked I think
Final chips for tasting with a bit of salt
Cooking test 2: Homemade chips
Red Delight Washed Potatoes from Woolworths ($2.98 per kg = $2.60 873g)
Seasoning for chips — Barbecue Smokey Seasoning, Paprika, Salt and Pepper
Raw chips (left), Cooked chips after 20 mins at 180 degrees, then 4 mins at 200 degrees
Final homemade chips