I’ve debated with myself over the need to get an Airfryer for a long time, since i generally don’t eat deep fried stuff much, and knowing that an Airfryer is nothing but a mini oven with a turbo fan, but all along, I’ve pictured a scene in mind – eating home-made cheese fries with fried chicken wings while sipping home-made beer. Yes, I dream of recreating a cafe/bar at home. I finally succumbed and bought an Airfryer to see if this would bring me one step closer to my dream.
Deep frying is quite a hassle, everyone knows that. I should say that is the main reason i avoid doing it. You need to use a lot of oil, and often bits of the food stays in the oil until they’re burnt, rendering the oil useless for further use. Not to mention, your kitchen gets greasy after doing just very little deep frying. Using an automatic fryer would help, but that usually means using even more oil, and it takes a lot of justification to get such a machine (eating deep fried stuff every day isn’t a good excuse). That’s where an Airfryer fits in i guess. I’ve gone through enough reviews of the Airfryer to be convinced that the result it produces is close enough to real deep fried food.
I doubt i will be using an Airfryer frequently (probably not more than once a week), so it’s not something i want to invest a lot of money into. As usual, i turn to Taobao. I discovered that the Airfryer sold on Taobao isn’t exactly a lot cheaper, except for this one. The Airfryers sold in Singapore cost minimally S$70 (branded Philips ones are S$200!). This one worked out to be S$58 including shipping. It was much heavier than expected, having an actual weight of 5.74kg and a volumetric weight of 7.35kg. I shipped via ezbuy sea freight, and my shipping cost was 7.5 X $1.8 X 0.85 (15% 65APP15 coupon code discount) = $11.5 ($1.80 per kg shipping rate for above 30kg). GST of $2.95 also applies. Frankly, shipping appliances through ezbuy isn’t a good idea. Way too expensive. I will provide an update here once i have tried another sea freight shipping service. Update: sea freight shipping through 86OF is affordable.
To put this Airfryer to the test, the first thing i would attempt is of course fries! I followed the instructions – 180 degrees for 20 minutes. I used frozen fries (and nope, i don’t want to do fries using raw potatoes). Sadly, the result wasn’t as good as I had hoped for. It wasn’t browned enough. Maybe a few more minutes at higher temperature would help. It was also soggy inside, though not as soggy as doing it in a conventional oven (i know because i tried). I will definitely try it again, with skinnier fries or maybe potato wedges. I will also use the highest temperature setting the next time.
Update 25 Jun 2016
Tried cooking shoestring fries at the highest temperature setting for 20+ minutes, and i managed to get crispy fries. They were a little too dry though. I think tossing with a bit of oil would help.
This Airfryer is as no-frills as it gets, with analog (read inaccurate) temperature and timer dials (the mechanical type with audible tick-tock). Still, it suits my need just fine. I doubt a branded Airfryer will be that much better, since the basic cooking mechanism is the same.
Tip: don’t leave your food in the Airfryer when it’s done, because after a while, it will absorb the plastic odour emitted by the Airfryer. I guess i would advice you NOT to get this Airfryer because the plastic odour is quite bad, at least initially. Unless all you want is a really really cheap Airfryer.
Update 12 Oct 2016
Here’s another even cheaper airfryer (185 Yuan or S$38) for your consideration.
And another one (i think this one is actually the better one of the lot) for about the same amount of monies.
Update 2 Apr 2017
I found out that an air fryer works particularly well for popcorn chicken. The chicken will be tender, while the batter coating will be extra crispy. Moreover, after air frying, a significant amount of chicken fat is purged, so it is a lot more healthier than deep frying.
Air frying also handles hash brown well. The outer layer is crispy while the interior is soft. I tried the mini ones but it probably works for the regular sized hash brown as well.
My air fryer currently also serves another function – as an alternative to a microwave oven. After reading some reports, I decided to stop risking my health to leaking microwave. All microwave ovens leak microwave radiation. You can confirm this by placing your hand phone in a microwave oven and calling your phone. Do this with your microwave oven turned off. If you want to be sure, turn off the main switch. If your phone rings when placed inside the sealed compartment of the microwave oven, it means it will leak microwave radiation. Imagine the effect on your body when you have 800 watts of microwave being pumped into a leaking microwave oven. For years I doubted those who are strongly opposed to using a microwave oven (their claim is usually about food being tainted with radiation or something like that), but I am now convinced that the dangers involved in operating a microwave oven is reason enough for me to do away with it.
Turns out, an air fryer is a viable alternative to a microwave oven. It heats food or liquid faster than a conventional convection oven because of the proximity of the fan, as well as the higher volume of hot air. So, an air fryer has unexpectedly become an essential part of my kitchen!
By the way, don’t miss out on earning cashback when you shop on Taobao, through Shopback!