An air fryer is a kitchen appliance designed for a healthy preparation of dishes which require a lot of oil for frying. This is an appliance that you can use to cook your favourite food using a very small amount of oil, but not losing on the quality and crispiness of the food.
In this article, you will read about an air fryer: why it is good to have it, how it works, and how to use it properly.
Why Should You Have an Air Fryer?
An air fryer functions differently from the traditional frying methods, where deep fried food is put in a large amount of hot oil. The device coats the food in a thin layer of oil and the air which is used for cooking is heated up to around 200 °C (392 °F). This heat initiates the chemical reactions which bring about the browning of the surface layer of food. Compared to the traditional deep-frying method, an air fryer uses between 70% and 80% less oil.
The amount of oil used in air fryer recipes is very small; you only need the amount which is enough for the food not to get stuck to the basket. Some of the more high-end models do not need this either.
This appliance uses up less electricity than traditional ovens or deep fryers. This is because a small amount of heat moves freely in the small space of an air fryer. There is not a big loss of energy because of the fan which circulates the hot air around the pot, and also the food is processed from all sides. This virtually inexistent loss of energy speeds up the cooking process. For example, instead of 30 minutes of making French fries in a regular pan, you will need only about 15 minutes.
Moreover, it has an air filter to make sure that the air which is released after cooking is clean and does not leave the unpleasant aftersmell.
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
The hot air circulates around the food in the pot of the air fryer. This circulation is achieved by a mechanical fan and the speed at which the air moves is very high. There are two openings – one for taking in air, and another which is an exhaust, used for letting out the hot air in order to control the temperature in the fryer. This process cooks the food and produces a crispy layer on the surface of the food. The inside of the food remains juicy and tender, and thus more healthy.
Most air fryers are equipped with a timer and temperature settings, which let you adjust the air frying to the dish you are preparing. They usually come with a food separator, so you can cook different foods at the same time. Some air fryers have additional equipment, for example, pizza pans, skewer racks, and cake barrels.
Air fryers work in a similar way to convection ovens, though they emit less heat and have a smaller capacity than the ovens.
Deep-fried and air fried techniques do not give identical results – the foods come out somewhat different. With the former one, the oil penetrates to the inside of the food and gives it its flavour. Also, if there is only a wet batter as a coating on the food, the hot air of the air fryer may blow it off. The same may happen with loose crumbs if they do not stick firmly to the wet batter.
How to Use an Air Fryer Properly?
The basic thing every air fryer used is concerned about is the use of oil. Although it is not absolutely necessary, you may use a little bit of oil here – just a tablespoon or a few sprays or oil spray. It will prevent your food from sticking to the surface or to other pieces.
Another important preparation for using an air fryer is preheating. For the best taste and crispiness, the temperature needs to reach its optimal level.
The basket should not be overcrowded. Too much food will prevent the air flow, thus lowering the quality of cooking.
The contents of the air fryer basket need to be shaken occasionally in order to get oil on all the food parts. This usually has to be done manually, although there are some big-ticket models which have the option of shaking the basket inbuilt.
Keeping the appliance clean is very important for maintaining it and using it for a long time. It is very easy to clean, as they are made of non-stick materials. However, it is recommended that you presoak them several minutes before cleaning. It is also allowed to wash the removable parts in a dishwasher.
What Can You Cook in an Air Fryer?
There are models which, aside from frying, can also bake, grill, or roast, giving you many options for preparing a scrumptious meal.
There are many things that can be cooked in the device. You can cook meat – chicken, pork, beef, even fish. It is acceptable to prepare raw meat. If your device comes with a grill, this is certainly something you may want to try.
You can also cook vegetables or even frozen food, which comes of it out delicious and crispy. Muffins, small cakes, bread, lasagna are examples of what can be baked in an air fryer.
You can even roast any type of nuts without burning them. And it would take between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on the type of the nuts you are using. This is a very versatile machine useful in every household.