Product review: Philips airfryer
I've been tweeting recently about the Philips airfryer, a new product launched in April this year which offers a healthier alternative to deep frying, using 80% less fat to cook food. I don't mind admitting that I love fried and deep-fried food, so a healthier, less messy way to fry (especially fries/chips) sounded like heaven to me.
The airfryer is a deceptively hefty (7kg!) appliance that sits on your kitchen counter and quietly does its thing, announcing your food is ready with a "DING!"
Key features include:
- Patented Rapid Air Technology – combines hot air with grill component to 'fry' food
- In-built timer - pre-set cook times of up to 30 minutes
- Adjustable temperature control
- Food separator accessory (not pictured) – you can cook multiple food items at the same time without mixing the flavours
- Integrated air filter reduces the vapours and odours.
I was very keen to cook pigs in blankets (sausages in pastry) from the recipe book that came with the airfryer and that was the first recipe we tried.
Each batch of pigs in blankets takes 10 minutes to cook in the airfryer. The pastry turned out nice and crispy. We ate these little morsels dipped in tomato sauce.
Jac made a second batch of more bite-sized ones that turned out even better. In the recipe, you spread mustard on the puff pastry before adding the sausages. For this second batch, Jac used BBQ sauce instead, which worked very well.
But what I really wanted to know was: does the airfryer really make the "best tasting fries without the oil*"? (as claimed on the packaging). That's a very lofty claim to make! As far as I was concerned, if the airfryer made great fries, it would earn its place in our kitchen.
Jac followed the fries recipe from "Fries with Yoghurt Dip" in the recipe booklet. She doesn't like long fries - she likes the stubby extra crispy "end" ones, so she cut the potatoes to make the fries mostly all the "end" ones. :)
You do have to use a little oil when cooking chips from scratch in the airfryer - half a tablespoon of olive oil for 500g of potatoes
The chips didn't turn out as crisp as we hoped (I ate them anyway!). I want to keep experimenting though, to perfect our technique and find the best performing potato (the book recommends "waxy" ones).
We also tried cooking frozen chips in the airfryer. They turned out pretty well, better than the chips made from scratch - the frozen ones took about 20 minutes at 200C in the airfryer.
Jac served the chips with marinated steaks, vegetable medley (peas, corn and carrot) and a mushroom, onion and red wine sauce.
We've also used the airfryer to reheat food - Jac reheated meatballs in it and they turned out moist and juicy. The instruction booklet warns against frying "extremely greasy items such as sausages" in the airfryer (presumably, they mean the fatty ones you would pan fry, not the tinned or red sausages you'd wrap in pastry for pigs in blankets) - so unfortunately, there will be no experiments involving airfried bacon! EDIT: Have confirmed with Philips - it is not recommended to cook bacon in the airfryer (see my comments below)
The recipe book includes a variety of chicken dishes, potato dishes and recipes for quiche, meatloaf and brownies! The majority of the recipes are for finger foods which include ricotta balls with basil, salmon croquettes, mini empanadas with chorizo, king prawns wrapped in ham, Mediterranean chicken nuggets, Thai fish cakes, garlic mushrooms... I'm sure Jac will use the recipes as inspiration for her own creations.
I don't think you could use the airfryer for catering parties though, as you couldn't cook enough food at once to feed a hungry crowd. Although the airfryer's capacity is 800 grams, you wouldn't necessary fill it to the brim with food as it wouldn't crisp up properly or cook evenly. For the two of us though, it cooked up great snacks on a Sunday afternoon.
We're still experimenting with the airfryer. It's fun and easy to use. But unless we can perfect potato chips made from scratch, negating the need to deep-fry, I can't see the airfryer being anything other than a glorified counter top oven. I'd just as easily cook frozen chips in the oven, no real advantage to using the airfryer for those. I haven't written it off yet though - stay tuned; I'll blog again the next time we try making fries from scratch using the airfryer.
- RRP AU$329
- Includes booklet with 30 recipes, including fries and other potato dishes, finger foods, quiche and even brownies!
- The removable drawer and food basket are dishwasher safe.
Thanks to Philips for giving me the opportunity to test out the airfryer.
*"Best tasting fries" comes from taste tests involving 682 people in France and Belgium ("the home of French fries") - two-thirds preferred the fries cooked with the Philips airfryer compared to fries prepared in a conventional deep fat fryer and a competitor model.