First off, I ain’t no chef. I do survival cooking — whatever a guy needs to do to have a decent enough meal without having to overdo it. Sometimes I’d want to treat myself to a meal with aesthetically nice “plating,” but more often than not I just want to eat something, period.
And that’s how I’m a-gonna be evaluating the Philips Low Fat AirFryer.
First of all, let me just say that the Philips AirFryer is a pleasant-looking machine that can make for a moderate conversation piece on your kitchen counter.
“Is that a rice cooker? A steamer? WHAT THE HELL IS IT?”
Good question. What the hell is an “air fryer” anyway?
Well, here’s how Philips describes it:
Okay, so basically you have a heating element and you have a fan. I have a suspicion that this is just a glorified turbo broiler. But let’s see.
The Philips AirFryer is fairly simple enough in design. You get a temperature dial on top, a timer-power dial up front, and you have the drawer where you put your food in to nuke.
The idea behind the AirFryer is that you now have in your hands a deep fryer … without the need for a bucket of oil. Yes, you can “deep fry” foods using air. At least that’s the marketing spin behind this product. Because of the thermal dynamics going on inside, you can whip up guilt-free “fried” foods to your heart’s content. And your heart will thank you for it.
Open the AirFryer’s drawer and this is what it looks like:
Yep, it really does look like a deep fryer, complete with the pull-out basket.
The compartment pulls out completely, allowing for proper cleaning and for ease of stuffing foods into it.
Plus, the basket pops out with the press of a button:
Below, here’s what the compartment/dripping tray looks like. What I like is that it has a thick non-stick coating, making cleaning very much an easy affair.
And what it looks like from the inside. Aha, there’s the heating element, which is simply like an electric stove, and the fan must be somewhere behind it.
The temperature knob goes up to 200 degrees Celsius.
And look! A nicely retractable power cord! Nice touch for you fussy homemakers out there. Yes, they hand you the adapter gratis.
Okay, so it’s a great looking machine. But can it cook or what?
I thought you’d never ask.
Whenever Philips pushes the AirFryer, it always uses potato fries as its example. Why? Because to make your own home-cooked french fries, you do have to dump them in a barrel of oil, and we know how pricey oil can be these days… and how cloggy they can get for your arteries.
So for my very first AirFryer experiment, I did go the potato route. Starting with two potatoes…
…which I then manually Julienned (note: I just wanted to name-drop the Julienne cut to pretend that I know a little something about cooking). I kept the skin on because (a) potato skin is supposed to be nutritious, and (b) it trumpets the fact that the taters are the real thing. Of course, after scrubbing them obsessively beforehand.
As per directions, I warmed up the AirFryer for two to three minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, I mixed the taters in a tablespoon of olive oil. And that’s the only oil you’ll be needing to “deep fry” a couple of potatoes.
I then tossed the potato cuts into the fryer and cooked for about 20 minutes, taking them occasionally to give them a shake or so. And the result is…
I’m actually impressed because they do look like a decent batch of fries.
And how was the texture? Well, let’s just say that some were crunchier than the others, but that’s just what happens when not all the wedges get their time in the heat “spotlight.” But generally the fries were great, with texture that feels more homey than your average fast food fries.
Now if only I remembered to season it with salt.
Fine. So the fryer does potatoes decently. But can it do decent meals?
I love my mom’s fried chicken. She shipped me a batch of pre-cooked and pre-seasoned drumsticks, and all I had to do was to fry them up to a crisp.
So I toss them into the AirFryer. Note how the fryer comes with a removable partition, in case you want to segregate food stuff:
And here’s what they look like after cooking. I guess you really can’t tell the difference just by looking at ‘em, but let me assure you that they were crispier than when they first started.
Not crunchy-crispy though. I had them cook for twenty minutes. Perhaps if I cooked them for more than that, then they would have been much crunchier. I’m still learning the ropes. But yes, crunchy foods are really possible. Just give them enough space and time on the fryer compartment (that sounded like a physics experiment).
Lastly, as a grand finale, I decided to try cooking up some potato chips. Just because. And here they are:
Again, with enough space and time, the chips can get really crunchy like store-bought chips, without the gallons of oil. Now if only I remembered to first season it with salt. Again.
What it can’t do: bacon. Or any too-fatty foods. Philips doesn’t recommend it. Why? Because the fat may get superheated and it can destroy the essence of the food. Something like that. Just don’t. Sad-face.
While part of me still suspects that the Philips Low Fat AirFryer is simply a glorified turbo broiler, it nevertheless delivers on its promise of cooking up deep fried foods without the deep vats of oil. You really can cook with superheated air. And the results can impress.
Which brings us back to our original premise. I ain’t a chef. I only do survival cooking. Will the AirFryer have a place in my life, or will it just be yet another one of those kitchen gadgets that you buy on impulse and then just lie there unused for years, like my sandwich maker. Or my milkshake frother. Or my stovetop grill…
Surprisingly, the answer is that I have been using it quite regularly. It probably helps that it’s so big that you can’t just ignore it. More seriously though, the AirFryer is so easy to use that I have ended up cooking all sorts of things on it on impulse, without needing recipes or the like. I’ve cooked daing na bangus on it, and the result was terrific, without me having to do battle with splattering skin-burning oil ever again.
And I’ve basically made it my lazy-man’s cooking companion. Ooh, I have sausages in the freezer. Pop it into the AirFryer. Twist knob for twenty minutes. And there you go. Basically, I can cook practically anything in it and the result is almost always great.
Translation: it’s cooked and edible. And that’s all that matters to survival eaters like me. Because the truth is that, while it’s marketed as an “air fryer,” the AirFryer is an all-around cooking device that essentially fries, bakes and roasts. Something like that.
And unlike an oven where you really don’t know what to do, temperature and time-wise, the AirFryer almost always assures you that you’re really cooking something thoroughly. I’m happy with it. I just keep the temperature at 180 degrees and dial the timer knob and I can leave it alone to do other things while the food is getting cooked.
Well, what about the price?
Ow. Here goes.
The SRP for the Philips Low Fat AirFryer is about twenty thousand pesos and change.
It is on sale right now for half the price. At a sale price of Php 10,275. Which you can get at zero-percent installment.
It’s still an arm and a leg for an air fryer. And if you still feel that it’s just a glorified turbo broiler, then maybe you’ll pass on it.
Or maybe, like me, you will suck up the premise that this can be your ticket to a whole healthier lifestyle. Which is really the case if you ever found yourself buying cooking oil by the gallon. My cooking oil stock has barely budged ever since I got the AirFryer. And no, it’s not about the savings that you will get from no longer buying buckets of oil (because, heck, it will still take years before your oil savings makes up for the cost of the fryer), but more about the fact that all that oil is no longer going into your bloodstream.
I’d say that, for that alone, the Philips AirFryer is worth it.
PHILIPS LOW FAT AIRFRYER
Promo Price: Php 10,275.00
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