Air Frying

Until about 2 years ago, I had no idea how air fryers would work or fit into my style of cooking. Then I happened to read an article someone wrote about air fryers and I started to research into them. For months I dilly-dallied on getting one, not because they were expensive, but more because I didn't want a white elephant gadget that won't get used. Then I found out that there are actually Facebook groups of air fryer enthusiasts, so I joined an Australia one and quickly got totally convinced to get one 😊. One important thing to note is that an air fryer is not about completely oil free cooking as it still needs a little oil applied to certain foods to achieve the colour of 'fried' food. But it sure is a whole lot better, healthier and cleaner way of cooking than deep frying in oil!

Rank Arena 4L Air Fryer
My first air fryer was the Rank Arena 4-litre unit (which is now obsolete). It looks like a mini jukebox, and actually works like a mini oven with a drop-down door and pull out separate basket and tray. It was a good introduction to air frying for me. After 1.5 years of this little unit working faithfully, I found out from various people in the air fryer Facebook community who owned the same unit that theirs were running at lower temperature than what the settings show. I tested mine then and unfortunately, found that mine also had the same issues. It was running nearly 30C lower than set temperatures. Hmmm, maybe that was why I only managed to get leather when trying to make roast pork with good crackling....
Kitchen Chef 5.5L Air Fryer

I then considered whether I wanted to get a replacement unit, and as luck would have it, there was a new larger unit that just came onto the market and the brand had good reviews from existing users. Better still, it was on special at about $100, so I bit the bullet and got the Kitchen Chef 5.5-litre unit.

So now I have 2 air fryers! Crazy! It was interesting comparing these units. The Kitchen Chef is so much more powerful than the Rank Arena, both in the fan power and the temperature.

The Kitchen Chef sits on my kitchen bench, and the Rank Arena is now stored in the laundry and only plugged in when I need to cook something very light that is likely to be sucked into the heating element of the Kitchen Chef with its more powerful fan. The good thing about the Rank Arena is that there is a grill that protects the heating element so nothing can fly into it. And with that very grill in place, it must be the reason why its fan is less powerful compared to other units - because the grill is blocking some of the air flow. But there is no excuse for its temperature settings being so inaccurate. Maybe it is time to dispose of it....

Here are just some of the things that I have cooked in both these air fryers, at least things that I actually remembered to take pictures of. As well as cooking, the one thing that an air fryer absolutely excels in is heating up stuff, especially deep fried stuff that's battered or crumbed, as the powerful fan actually 'removes' excess oil from the food as it heats/cooks the food. To heat quick snacks that usually needs an oven or deep-fryer, nothing can beat an air fryer. By the time an oven or a pot of oil take to heat up, the air fryer would have finished re-heating or cooking the snacks.