Indians are known worldwide for their snacks, especially the fried snacks, whatever be the occasion. We cannot think of a get together without the pakoras, samosa, kachoris, kebabs, fish or finger fries, and so on. We know that these fried snacks are not good for our health, yet we cannot help it. Is there any way we can still have these and feel less guilty about it? Apparently, yes;
Air fryers are now one of the most popular household appliances in the Indian market. There are many models available to choose from, which can help you make the fried foods with little or no oil. Not that all these snacks are healthy; but, you could still eat them once in a while, without feeling too guilty about the indulgence.
What is an Air Fryer?
An air fryer mimics the deep frying with little or no oil to produce similar-tasting fried foods. Deep frying uses 50 times more oil than an air fryer, and that should tell you this option is healthier, to begin with. It is a countertop kitchen appliance that doesn’t use up much space, and 40% of US homes use it.
It comes with a cooking chamber/basket and a heating mechanism with a fan. The mechanism it uses is to circulate hot air around the food in the cooking chamber. This process enables rapid cooking, and the food in the basket becomes crispy as if it is deep-fried. There is not much difference in the taste that can be felt, while the benefits are many. Most models come with easy pre-set menus that make cooking very easy, and you can also set the temperature as per your wish. In a way, it is like using an oven, except that the technology used in air fryers is different, better and faster for this kind of cooking.
Food cooked in the air fryer will be low on fat and calories and light on the stomach. It can reduce the fat content by 80% without using any oil, and yet, there is no compromise on the taste. It is faster and easier to use than deep frying and also less messy. It is also much safer to use, as there is no question of any hot oil burns or spills, etc.
Another benefit of using an air fryer for cooking is that there will not be any odour around the house. It helps you save time, oil, money and is also uses environment-friendly technology.
Most good models in the market also avoid any chemical reactions in the food while air frying. This helps keep the nutritional content of the food intact. Also, the hot air circulation technology ensures all-round cooking to ensure food is uniformly cooked. Especially with non-vegetarian cooking, this means that the food will retain freshness and juiciness within.
You get many options in air fryers, many under Rs. 10,000 and a few even under Rs. 5000 and easily available online. The food basket capacity varies from 1.5 Lt to 4 Lt with temperature settings up to 390 Fahrenheit. Here are a few that you may want to check out, depending on the nature and frequency of use.
- Glen Rapid Fryer 2.8L
- Prestige PAF 6.0 1200W 3.5 L
- Philips Daily Collection HD9218 0.9 L
- Kenstar Aster Digi Oxy 3.5 L
- Havells Prolife Grande 6.5 L
- Hamilton Beach Digital Air Fryer 2.5 L
How to Use?
All products come with specific instructions, and you could also easily check the YouTube videos or information online for usage. However, the base process remains the same for most air fryers. Place the food to be fried in the food basket, set the time and temperature or use one of the pre-set options. Cook the food, check once or twice in between if required and flip or turn and then set the next batch or clean the basket. Most air fryer racks are dishwasher safe, so you may choose to clean it that way.
Good to Know Cons
Some foods are just not healthy; hence, it does not make them healthy whether they are deep-fried or air fried. Not all food can be air fried, and hence, if you need a balanced and healthy diet, you should stick to traditional cooking methods. Perhaps, using air fryers occasionally only for replacing the deep frying may be a good option. Also, the high temperatures may burn the food and turn into carcinogenic. The jury is still out on this one. And of course, all the air fryers come with limited capacities and are not suited for huge families or party cooking.