Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review of the Philips XL Air Fryer

So, I've been using my air fryer a lot lately and of course, have been raving about it. Nifty little gadget that thing.

I have been hemming and hawing about an air fryer for well over a year now, maybe more.

The first time I saw it was in a video, someone I was watching was raving about making chips in the air fryer with little to no oil and that appealed to me a great deal.

The reason I had been hesitant was because I did not know what else I would cook in the air fryer other than chips. Turns out it's quite a lot of stuff.

On a side note, I'm progressively putting my air fryer recipes on the blog. The first one was for crispy chips. They turned out great.

Back to the air fryer ... then more recently, we visited a friend and she had an air fryer. She's had hers for many, many years and loves it. I asked what she cooked in it and she said chips, dim sims, spring rolls, chicken schnitzel and sausages.

Huh! All things I don't eat with any regularity. Well, except for the sausages and let me tell you, sausages are a bugger to cook on a pan or on the BBQ. Gets all smoky and greasy.

I talked to The Boy about it and he was supportive of it if I was convinced I'd used it.

I did some research and went online and watched a number of YouTube videos of what I can cook with it and turns out, quite a lot more than chips and spring rolls!

The next day, since it was a weekend, we went in search of one. At that time, Aldi had one for about $149 and we bought that. Brought it home and tried to set it up. I didn't like its construction and how it worked.

The Aldi unit had a big glass bowl and a lift up lid and looked much more like those glass convection ovens you could buy online but with a lift out bottom and a handle.

I was looking for one with more of a drawer style where you pulled out the cooking basket and lifted it out.

After we returned the one to Aldi, The Boy suggested we go to Harvey Norman to look for one.

At Harvey Norman, we saw several similar to the one we returned to Aldi, but also the Philips Air Fryer, which came in two sizes - regular and large, and had a dial temperature control or a digital option.

After much consideration, we ended up with the Philips XL Air Fryer - the large one with the digital controls. It also had the all important pull out drawer cooking basket which I really wanted. Fortunately for us, it was on sale at the time and we got it for a good price.

Philips Air Fryer with pull out drawer

We took it home and immediately put it to the test with some sweet potato fries. Probably not the best first test since sweet potato fries do not crisp up well. I asked several foodie friends and they said the same thing. Regular potatoes get crispy, sweet potatoes don't.

Then we moved on to roast chicken, roast vegetables, sausages, grilled fish, French Fries with regular potatoes, more sausages, grilled prawns, and even grilled baby octopus. There are tons of recipes online and the air fryer itself also comes with a decent little recipe book.

How do we like our air fryer? We love it.

It's super easy to use and clean. The digital controls are fantastic for precision temperature and time setting.

The bucket and fryer basket is super easy to clean. It does get gunky from food juices and stuff, but a good squirt of dishwashing liquid and some warm water, soak for a while and then scrub with a bristle brush of some sort and it washes clean very easily. The Boy does the cleaning and trust me, if it was a pain to clean, I would have heard about it by now. It also helps that the bucket is non-stick.

Cooking has been extremely easy. Pretty much season and prep the food according to your recipe and then pop in the air fryer. The only thing I'd say is if the recipe says 20 minutes or 30 minutes, I'd set it for half the time, take it out, give it a shake (helps with the overall cooking evenly and non-sticking) and then put it back in for the remainder of the time. Note: this does not apply to grilled fish, but for grilled fish, spray a bit of oil on the bottom before putting it in. Helps with the non-sticking.

We got the XL because it was the largest capacity available to us here, which is 2 litres. I have air fryer envy from my friends in the US because their largest capacity there is 4 litres, which I wish I had. Size does matter! The 2 litre size is okay for us because there's just The Boy and I to cook for, but would be trickier for more people. It will fit a whole chicken though, so that's okay.

I haven't tried steak in it yet, but I'm told I can do it. I think a regular steak would be 8 minutes for medium rare to medium in the air fryer. I can fit two steaks in it for The Boy and I. When we get some standard steaks instead of those gigantic Cattleman's Cuts we've been having recently, I'll give it a go.

I've also done roast chicken drumsticks in it. Man, best drumsticks ever. 1 tablespoon of oil, seasoning. Cook for 30 minutes. Crispy, tasty skin on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.

Oh ... one more thing! Get the stacker rack for it too, in case you need to do more than one layer of food.

For anyone considering an air fryer, I highly recommend it. I'm also available for any advise you might need. Just hit me up on my Daz in the Kitchen Facebook page or on Twitter. I tend to be fairly good at responding. :-)

You can see the raised ridges / blades inside which moves the food around.

If you look closely at the exposed base of the Tefal ActiFry, you'll see it is shiny. That's the excess oil collected there which does not drain away. I did not want the excess oil to be sitting at the bottom of the container like that.

Update: I was also asked why I did not consider the Tefal ActiFry which is one of those convection style air fryers with the lift up lid since it had a larger capacity. I did look at it as well as many others in Harvey Norman, I think there was one called a MultiFry (by a brand I cannot remember!) too which is very similar. The Tefal has a large bucket / well, raised ridges inside which turns slowly to move the food inside around, and no draining basket, so the excess oil does not drain away, but it does mean you can poach in it, if you wanted to. I really wanted the bucket with the draining basket since I wanted any excess oil to drain away.

The benefit of not having the draining basket is you can pour your oil directly into the bucket with your food to coat it, but really, coating your food with a tablespoon of oil and seasoning in a large bowl and making sure it's evenly coated before going into the air fryer is not that big of an overhead. As an extra step, it is inconsequential.

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