Thursday, 26 September 2013

Philips Airfryer XL

Philips Airfryer XL, Healthy Frying, Airfryer recipes

For those who are following me on Facebook and Twitter, you might remember that I have been sent a Philips Airfryer XL to try and review. This was in the beginning of September, and it took me some time for writing up as we didn't have fried food every day, but there is a lot of recipes I wanted to try. To be honest, I still haven't tried them all with the airfryer, such as frying a whole bird (it will fit a whole pigeon! Shame I don't know where to source the baby pigeons, they are one of my favourite!) and baking cakes (yes it bakes!). As it's gonna take a while, I decided to release what our experiences are so far, and when the time comes, I'll do a follow up post for the rest of the experiments.

Philips Airfryer XL, Healthy Frying, Airfryer recipes

Philips Airfryer XL, Healthy Frying, Airfryer recipes

I was really interested in the Airfryer when I first heard about it. We never deep fry anything in our house as we dislike the greasiness in the kitchen and the smell of frying lingering in the whole house (and all the fabrics aka clothes and carpets!). And what was I suppose to do with a big pot of used oil? We have checked out another brand's similar fryer that uses a small amount of oil, but we noticed that the compartment was quite small, and with the rotation, I doubt some of the delicate food will survive the spin. After reading about Philips' Airfryer, we thought that it might just be the gadget we need to solve our problem, hopefully we can say bye to soggy oven baked chips and nuggets, and bring back home-fried food into our lives.

Philips' Airfryer XL is obviously the larger version (holds up to 1.2kg of food) of its original Airfryer, and it also has a design upgrade. Not only is the compartment bigger, the control is now digitalised as well. The touch control panel is sensitive enough, so you don't need to press really hard. Simply touch the power button to switch the machine on, adjust the required temperature (up to 200 degree Celsius) and touch the start button. It takes about 2-3 minutes to preheat the Airfryer. Once it's done and the Airfryer started beeping, you can add the food into the basket, adjust the timer and touch the start button again to fry up the food.

When the Airfryer arrived, we were really excited and bought a lot of ingredients to try it out. On our to-do list was:

Tempura Prawns
Tempura Sweet Potatoes
Soft Shell Crabs
Chicken Wings
Whole bird
Home-made Chips
Creme Brulee (?!)
Home-made Chilli and Pepper Calamari
Fried Kit-Kat (hubby's idea, not mine!)
Fried Ice-cream (I said no of course)
Pork Chops
Chinese Roast Pork with Cracking
Prawn Crackers

The ideas just kept coming! One by one I have tried the following:

Tempura Sweet Potatoes (forgot to take a picture) 

Tempura Calamari

Sweet Potato Fries

Fried Chicken Wings

Fried Frozen Chicken Nuggets. There was also hash brown and fish cake

Pork Chops in Pandan Leaf Parcel

Philips' Airfryer Recipe - Sweet Potato Fries with Pecan Maple Glaze

Philips Airfryer Recipe - Home-made Fries

As I haven't understood our Airfryer well enough, most of the experiments were imperfect. Understanding the temperature and time is very important obviously, but understanding your ingredients is also an important factor. For example:

- Wet batter wasn't recommended to be used with the air fryer as they'll just drip through the basket. It being wet also cause the food to stick to the basket during cooking. However, I was advised to try chilling the battered food in the fridge before frying, so I will be trying that this coming weekend.

- Sweet potatoes are different than normal potatoes, and requires less soaking and chunkier cuts. As sweet potatoes contains higher water content, it's ideal to dry them as much as possible. The Sweet Potato Fries with Pecan Maple (I used Golden Syrup) Glaze was delicious and the chunkier fries looked and tasted much better than my first attempt, but they are still soft. My best friend has sent me a recipe for crispy sweet potato chips, so I'll be trying that out next.

- Food to be air-fried require a lot less oil, which is a point that I must remember, as more oil makes the food smell (without the greasiness, thankfully) stronger. I should also note that sesame oil will make the kitchen smell, no matter the amount!

- Chicken wings can stick to the basket, so it should be shaken more frequently in between cooking (simply pull the basket out during cooking, shake it and slot it back in again).

- It's ok to fry meat for longer, even if they have started to turn brown, to give the deep fried effect. Meat wrapped up in parcels should definitely fry for longer, even if the parcel has turned crispy (I most likely have got the temperature wrong)!

- For homemade Potato Fries and Chips, it's ideal to use floury potatoes as recommended by the recipe book. Potato Fries used without floury potatoes are very crispy on the outside but a bit dry on the inside as well. And use the right amount of oil!

I think the most successful thing I have done out of everything was the frozen chicken nuggets! Obviously, without me using odd recipes to experiment, it can hardly go wrong. It has however, proven that the Airfryer did exactly what was expected from it. What impressed me most was that when I moved the chicken nuggets to a plate that's covered with kitchen towel, there was hardly any oil seeping into it. You will always get it even if you baked them in the oven, but with the Rapid Air Technology bursting the oil out, the chicken nuggets were left really crispy but grease-less, while the juice retains inside the meat.

Another thing I tested out was the amount of food it can hold for frying at the same time. I poured a whole box of chicken wings in the Airfryer, which makes it harder to shake for even cooking. Then of course, the biggr problem was the wings sticking to the basket, refusing to be shaken! For the homemade fires however, I fried the whole lot together, and there was still room for more. As they don't stick, there were happily shaking about, creating a more even cooking. The amount of fries fried was more than enough for the 4 of us.

The basket and pan are fairly easy to clean, though if you have food stuck and burned on the basket (they can be removed easily from the non stick pan), you might want to give it a good hot soak before washing. They are both dishwasher proof too.

The noise level is acceptable, and no way louder than our extractor fan! Once the kitchen door is closed (we always keep it closed during cooking anyway) we can hardly hear the difference really. The Airfryer beeps whenever the temperature or time has reached, and it can still be heard through our door so that's good!

Most of the food I fried in the Airfryer doesn't smell, such as the nuggets, tempura and homemade fries (using Olive Oil). Meat was much stronger, especially when I made the chicken wings as I added sesame oil in the marination. However, even with the smell at it's strongest, there was no greasiness at all in the kitchen, which I'm really happy about! Now we can really enjoy crispy fried food (no more soggy ones from the oven!) at home without the grease and large amount of leftover oil sitting around.

As mentioned before, I'm not done with experimenting yet. That list is almost never ending, and there is a lot I want to try. I will certainly post a follow up post to show you how other food turns up with the Airfryer. By then hopefully I'll stop making silly mistakes and do proper tests with it!

Disclosure: We were sent an Airfryer to try and review; all opinions are honest and our own