One of the kitchen appliances that has recently gained a lot of popularity is air fryer. Using a convection method, it cooks food by circulating hot air around the food. When you do not want to use much oil or eat deep fried items, air fryer comes into picture. Air fryer uses a mechanical fan which circulates the hot air with high speed. A crispy layer is produced due to the high speed by 2 browning reactions – caramelization and Maillard reaction.
In caramelization reaction, usually sugars break down and transform into brown coloured substance. This reaction depends on the sugars used and temperature required is from 230-360 F. A Maillard reaction is seen when sugars and proteins react with each other to form Schiff Base which then turn into flavourful components. This can be seen when meat is roasted or stir-fried. This reaction requires a temperature of 280-330 F. The Maillard reaction is formed usually when you deep fry food in hot oil. However, air fryer forms this reaction when food is coated with thin layer of oil and hot air up to the temperature of 392 F is circulated. In this way, an air fryer uses 70 to 80% of less oil than the traditional method. There are many models of air fryers that are available in the market today. Based on the quality, brand and cost, each one varies with different features.
How does an air fryer work?
An air fryer is quite similar to a countertop convection oven. This usually contains a heating element and fan to circulate the hot air. An air fryer is a step ahead to this. The air in the air fryer moves very quickly in a circular motion. This allows the air to reach every area of the food item giving it a even and crisp cook. There is a perforated basket in the air fryer where the food sits. This allows it to get in contact with the hot air directly. Also, there is no much space between the walls of the chamber which means there wont be any heat loss and food gets prepared in less time than usual. Even though, air fryer is a substitute of deep frying food, some of the recipes might require a little amount of oil to get perfect outcome. However, the amount of oil used is very less compared to the deep frying.
You can cook wide range of varieties using an air fryer. It all depends on your creativity. Below are some of the options that you can try.
- Meat recipes – battered chicken, bacon, hot dogs, burgers
- Vegetables – Any kind of vegetable can be used. Popular ones are carrots, potatoes, squash
- Baked items – fritters, donuts and some kind of cakes.
- Frozen items – onion rings, French fries, nuggets or mozzarella sticks.
Every air fryer model has its unique features. Follow the below tips to effectively use your air fryer.
- Flipping: Even though you are using an air fryer instead of traditional deep fryer, you shouldn’t toss everything into air fryer and wait for the timer. You need to flip the food halfway through the cooking so that food gets cooked completely.
- Overloading: It is very important to load your air fryer with proper quantity. You should not dump everything into your air fryer. If needed, cook them in batches. As overcrowding only leads to uneven cooking with soggy meals.
- Preheating: Any appliance that you are using for frying needs to get preheated. If the temperature is set before you place your food for cooking, then it cooks your food well. Air fryer takes very less time in this case, may be a minute to 3 minutes. The air fryer gets nicely heated up and prepared for the food to be cooked.
- Cleaning: While cooking with air fryer, you might not find any left overs after cooking and might leave it like that for next use. However, food particles get struck in the corners where you cant see. If this is the case, it builds up over time and causes issues. It is a best practice to clean your air fryer after each use.
These are some of the details of an air fryer before you start using it. Just go through the details and they help you in creating amazing recipes.