How to use an air fryer? What are its benefits? Go through these versatile uses of air fryers and their benefits before you make up your mind as to whether to buy it or not.
This post is based on my own experience with my Philips air fryer and all that I cook in it. It will tell you everything you need to know about Airfryer and along with that will also give you some easy tried and tested Airfryer recipes to help you get started with this wonder appliance, so take time to go through the post.
You will be amazed seeing all that you can do in your air fryer.
This is Domino Style, Cheese Stuffed Garlic Bread Made In Air Fryer.
Is Air Fryer Worth Buying for Vegetarian Recipes?
I am a vegetarian and cook only vegetarian food.
Ever since I have started using my Air fryer, believe me, usage of the oven, microwave convection as well as of kadhai (wok) has taken a back seat. Though I use all these 4 appliances but Air fryer is used almost daily.
Yes, daily, as it takes care not only of frying (air frying) but also of boiling, grilling, baking bread/cakes and reheating as well. You can say that my day is incomplete without using my air fryer at least once.
You can have a look at the vegetarian recipes as well as ideas of what all you can cook in your air fryer.
My Initial Experiences With Air Fryer
The air fryer is my latest love for the past few months. Anything healthy or oil-free I plan to make, an air fryer pops up in my mind. And then, I have to give it a try. Most of the time the end result is beautiful. I can’t recollect if it disappointed me anytime.
But initially (around 10 years back), it was not the case. I remember for the first six months my air fryer was used occasionally either for air frying frozen items (smileys, kebabs etc) or for air frying paneer (cottage cheese). Paneer gets a beautiful golden colour and is apt for adding it to Matar paneer vegetable or Pulao.
I even thought to the extent that it was a wasteful expenditure. And then one day while air frying veggies/nuts etc for Biryani, I also tried making Masala Peanuts in it. And wow!!! they came out to be so crisp and crunchy. After that, I tried air frying boiled potatoes for Aloo Chaat and again win-win. I was so happy with the results that then there was no stopping by.
Today, I air fry so many things. In fact, I use it more than my microwave oven and OTG. This is also because it is very simple to use. It gets preheated in just 3 to 4 minutes and then you are on the go.
Seeing my successful results, I thought of sharing these with you all. So, if your air fryer is also getting neglected or you have deferred buying it as a useless appliance then this post is for you. No no no… please… this is not any promotion post.
What is an Air Fryer? How Does it Work?
- In the most simple and short words, the air fryer is nothing but a countertop convection oven. Yes, very similar to our convection oven yet different in many ways.
- Air fryer fries food by circulating hot air around the food. The air inside the air fryer is quickly heated up to 200 degrees C by a powerful stainless steel element. A mechanical fan is there which circulates this hot air around the food at high speed, cooking the food, removing all the moisture and thus making it crispy.
- Food is cooked much faster in the air fryer as compared to conventional ovens because the capacity of the air fryer is much smaller than the conventional ovens.
Air Fryer Vs Convection Oven
- As I said earlier, the air fryer is very similar to our convection oven yet different in many ways. Like Microwave convection, an air fryer too works on the principle of air technology. Then how are they different?
- Air fryer, being compact and smaller in size, uses rapid air technology. In this, hot air is circulated over the food at very high speed Also, the air fryer reaches much higher temperatures as compared to the convection oven which in turn shortens the cooking process, as a result, the food doesn’t dry out and thus the healthy nutrients are also preserved. Whereas slow cooking in the oven may result in loss of nutrients.
- Unlike convection ovens, it is possible to do oil-free cooking in the air fryer. Its maintenance is much easier than a convection oven. Saves on time as preheating as well cooking is done much faster than a convection oven.
10 Benefits of Air Fryer
- Easy maintenance: Unlike Otg or Microwave, it is very easy to clean an air fryer. Food particles do not stick to the air fryer basket/ tray underneath and can be easily wiped with a cloth or washed easily.
- Compact: Requires less space on the kitchen counter. Slightly bigger than a toaster but much smaller than a microwave or an OTG.
- Fast Cooking: It gets preheated very quickly, in just 3 to 4 minutes. In some cases, you can even skip preheating. And thereafter, food is also cooked much faster as compared to Otg. Like for example, a cake is baked in 15 minutes as compared to 35 minutes in Otg. Similarly, my Poha namkeen (beaten rice mixture) gets ready in exact 10 minutes including air frying peanuts and then tossing everything with spices.
- Texture: The texture of air fried dishes is very much similar to that of fried ones.
- Hands-free: It gives me the freedom to do other things in the kitchen while the air fryer is doing its job. Unlike deep frying, I don’t have to be near the gas stove stirring or flipping the items in the wok.
- Healthier food: That goes without saying. The cooked food is less in calories. No or less oil is used and nutrients are preserved.
- No Radiation: Unlike microwave ovens, air fryers do not use or produce electromagnetic radiation to cook food. You can read in detail about the radiation here.
- Economical: As you are using much less oil or in fact no oil in many cases, you are saving a fortune which otherwise is spent in buying oil.
- Environment-Friendly: Reuse of leftover oil after deep frying is not recommended and that poses a problem of how to get rid of it. If using an air fryer then no such issues are there.
- Multi-purpose: There is a misconception, maybe because of its name, that an air fryer is used only as a substitute for deep frying. But actually, air fryer is versatile and along with frying, it lets you do cooking, roasting, grilling, baking and reheating also. Yes, Falafel, Popcorn, Cake, French fries, Sweet potatoes…. all are done beautifully in this magical appliance. Normally when we reheat leftover or store-bought patties etc they get soggy but if you do it in air fryer then their crispiness is maintained intact.
Disadvantages of Air Fryer
- Small size: You can cook small portions only at a time. How I wish it was slightly bigger!!
- Wet Batters: You cannot use it for air frying food that is dipped in wet batters like bread pakora etc.
How to Use An Air Fryer
If you are using your air fryer for the first time then follow the steps mentioned below and you will be happy to use it.
- First of all, line your air fryer drawer (bowl beneath the basket) with aluminium foil. This will collect all the drippings while cooking and thereby ensure that this bowl remains clean always. Replace this foil with a new one after the cooking is over. (This is just advice and not mandatory)
- Set the temperature as the recipe calls for and preheat it for 3 to 4 minutes. Yes, this much time is sufficient.
- For air frying, you can keep the food items directly on the basket. Like, french fries, Falafel etc can be laid directly on the basket.
- Remember to shake the basket off and on while cooking to ensure even cooking.
- If using a pan or bowl, then keep it on the basket.
- Feel free to peep and check in between if the food item has been cooked or not.
11 Intelligent Ways To Use An Air Fryer
- Air fry instead of deep fry.
- Use it as a dehydrator for drying herbs and veggies
- Use it as Tandoor for making Tandoori Roti or Naan, Pizza etc.
- Set curd
- Ferment bread/Bhatura/Naan dough
- Reheat leftovers
- Crisp the food items that have become soggy
- Extract oil from the fried items
Read the details in 11 Clever and Versatile Uses of Air Fryer
Also, Air Fryer Vegetarian Recipes These Air fryer recipes are just to give you an idea of all that you can do in it. With this, you can start exploring what you can do in your air fryer like:
In some cases you need to brush oil on the basket, in others, you toss the ingredients in just a teaspoon of oil, some you lay directly on the basket whereas for others you may spread aluminium foil first and then keep the stuff on it. While laying butter paper/aluminium foil, remember that you do not cover the basket fully. Leave space around the edges so that hot air can move freely.
Q) Can I use a steel bowl in the air fryer?
Yes! You can use steel, glass, ceramic, aluminium or silicone in the air fryer. Even plastic can be used but I don’t recommend it as it is not healthy to cook in plastic.
Q) Can I bake a cake in an air fryer?
- Preheat the air fryer at 160 degrees for 5 minutes.
- Keep the cake pan on the air fryer basket and cover it with a plate or lid. This is because, if not covered, then the top of the cake gets cooked very fast whereas it remains uncooked from the centre.
- Remove the plate after 15 minutes so that top also gets cooked properly.
Q) Can I bake bread in the air fryer?
Q) Can I pull the air fryer drawer while the food is getting air-fried?
You can pull the drawer as many times as you need to. You can do so without switching off the air fryer. Anytime, you wish to peep in, simply pull the drawer, shuffle the food items, and then push it back.
Q) Should I preheat my air fryer?
- That depends on the recipe. If a recipe calls for preheating, like in baking recipes, then you should definitely do that.
- However, making french fries, Falafel etc does not require preheating. But still, it is better to preheat it first as it saves time. So, while you do preparations, preheat the air fryer for 3 to 4 minutes so that when you put the food items in it, it immediately starts cooking them.
Q) How to clean my air fryer?
- The air fryer basket can be cleaned with mild detergent just like your normal utensils.
- The drawer or the bowl beneath the basket can also be washed with detergent and water if too dirty. Otherwise, wiping it with a damp cloth would be sufficient.
Tip: Line the bowl that is below the basket with aluminium foil. By doing so, all the drippings will be collected on the foil. Once you have finished cooking in air fryer, then simply throw the foil and replace it with a new one. This way, it will remain as good as new forever without any need to rinse it with water.
I hope you have liked this post regarding the air fryer benefits.
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