I grew up in a strictly anti-kitchen-gadget household. My mother abhors anything that isn’t the most basic and utilitarian of appliances, and so while my primary school friends had magical objects in their kitchens like waffle makers! popcorn makers! snowcone makers! jaffle makers! fairy floss makers! and so on, I had…
A kettle. Electric beaters. Mum wouldn’t even allow a toaster in our house, so if I ever I wanted a toasted bagel after school, I’d have to get a box of matches from the laundry and sit down for a good fifteen minutes of tedious toasting labour*.
I bet you can imagine, then, the utter glee I felt upon being offered a Philips AirFryer to try out and review on this blog. What? my mind whizzed. You mean I get to play with a gadget that reminds me of R2D2 and is best known for its ability to make healthy version of deep fried snacks, which by all means aren’t a necessity in daily life?
I was in. I was so in.
Behold, the Philips AirFryer! The Philips AirFryer was launched on April 1st, 2011 and is promoted as “a healthy alternative to deep frying”. Its ability to make crispy chips and wedges with only a tablespoon of oil seems to be its primary marketing point. However, the AirFryer is also capable of making deliciously crispy versions of [insert your favourite protein] nuggets, fishcakes, or pastry-fied goodies, can roast capsicums and meatballs, and there’s even a recipe in its accompanying booklet for brownies.
Part of the reason I took so long to post this review is that I really wanted to make the brownies, but I sadly haven’t been able to find a tin small enough yet.
The AirFryer boasts the following:
- “Patented Rapid Air Technology”, whereby hot air and a grill element combine to “fry” food.
- A temperature control, and a timer that allows you to pre-set times of up to 30 minutes.
- An air filter than limits odours (I still remember the time my dad made deep fried chips in the kitchen and the house smelled like oil for days, so I was happy about this.)
- A baby llama to help eat your food scraps*.
I thought it best to start my testing of the AirFryer with what the AirFryer ostensibly does best: fries. I followed a combination of the recipe booklet’s basic recipe and the tip sheet that also came in the box, and so cut up a few potatoes’ worth of chips before soaking them in cold water for about an hour. I then dried the chips, tossed them with a tablespoon of oil, set the temperature to 180°C and the timer to 20 minutes, and walked away to read a book. Halfway through, I abandoned my book to shake the pan (and, ergo, the chips), but apart from that I didn’t have to stress at all.
Twenty minutes later, I had my chips.
I have to say, I really liked these chips. While they don’t taste quite the same as deep-fried fries, the AirFryer chips replicate the former’s crispy texture admirably. With a bit of salt and a splash of vinegar, I almost felt like I was back in the Woden Plaza food court on a Friday afternoon in Grade 8, eating Kingsley’s chips with friends.
Wait, no. Kingsley’s chips were always soggy. These are better.
I also cooked butternut pumpkin fries using the above method and, while the nature of pumpkin means that they weren’t as crispy as the potato version, they were Superpants Delicious. The photo, however, is not Superpants Good. That’s what you get for not knowing how to build a lightbox, folks!
I branched out from the potatoes section of the AirFryer recipe book in order to make my parents a light lunch upon their return from a three week trip to Japan. Riffing on the AirFryer booklet’s recipe for salmon croquettes, I made gluten-free salmon croquettes.
- I large tin (425g) of red salmon, drained
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
- Many, many grinds of the slightly bizarre “Tom Yum” spice-filled pepper grinder you find in your parents’ cupboard
- 100g gluten-free rice crumbs (or bread crumbs, if gluten isn’t an issue)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat the AirFryer to 200°C. With a fork, mash up the salmon and mix with the egg, herbs, and seasoning.
- Mix the rice crumbs and oil together, until you get a loose mixture. Shape the salmon mix into 16 small croquettes, and coat them in the crumb mixture.
- In batches, put the croquettes in the basket and slide into the AirFryer. Set the timer to 7 minutes, and let it do its thang ’til the croquettes are golden brown.
Although my photography skills were still lacking at this point, I think you can see that these croquettes surpassed my expectations in truly attaining a crispy fried exterior. Well done Mr. AirFryer. Well done indeed. I applaud your ability to make both my parents and me happy.
The last thing I shall show you today is something that is very dear to my heart. Roasted chickpeas.
For this experiment, I simply drained and rinsed a can of chickpeas, tossed them with some spices (I here used my homemade for-Dirty Rice spice blend) and a little oil, then roasted them for (I think?) 8-10 minutes at 180°C. Loved ‘em.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the Philips AirFryer. I like its dishwasher-safe-ness, although that’s of less benefit at my own place, where there is no dishwasher. The AirFryer is, admittedly, quite pricey at around $300, and so the decision to buy one would depend on your love of fried food, novelty, and baby llamas. I think it would be great for the time-poor among us who sometimes want something crispy and tomato-sauce-dunkable for dinner, but who also want to be able to sit on the couch decompressing while our chips cook.
Oh, and I still want to make the brownies.