Learn The Healthy Way to Fry
In 2008, a company in England invented the air fryer as an alternative to deep fat fryers. An air fryer is a stand-alone appliance that uses a fan to blow hot air on and around your food, cooking it rapidly, while a vent removes moisture and keeps the temperature inside the appliance constant. To
Hot oil conducts heat very well and cooks food quickly. When you put food into a deep-fat fryer, the water on the food’s surface instantly evaporates. Water from inside the food is released, which rapidly moves the oil around, causing the bubbling action of the oil. The food’s interior is cooked as the heat moves through the food. The crust starts to brown due to a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction, in which sugars and proteins on the crust break down and recombine to form compounds that look brown and taste great.
Hot air cooks food more slowly because it does not conduct heat as well as oil or water. To understand the difference, think of how you can put your hand into a 350°F oven for a few seconds, but you cannot put it into boiling water (212°F). To mimic deep-frying, but without all the unhealthy oil, an air fryer uses a fan to push the air around the food to dramatically speed the cooking process. So, just as in a deep-fat fryer, in an air fryer the surface of the food dehydrates, water is released, and the interior cooks in a few minutes. Foods cooked in an air fryer cook 25 percent faster than foods cooked in a conventional oven.
And because little or no oil is used, cooking with an air fryer is a much more versatile way to cook food than cooking with a deep fryer. You can bake, roast, grill, stir-fry, and even steam foods in an air fryer. So instead of just cooking alternatives to fried foods, use this appliance to make foods without those hundreds of added fat calories; it actually will help improve your health and well-being.
While other air fryer cookbooks offer recipes that are certainly healthier than their deep-fried counterparts, this article is the only one that offers truly healthy recipes. If you look at the nutrition content of all other air fryer cookbooks, you will see that the recipes are still very high in fat, sodium, and sugars. I developed the recipes in this article to be as low in fat, sodium, and sugars as possible, and high in vitamins and fiber.
AIR-FRYING: STEP BY STEP
You can think of an air fryer as a miniature convection oven. Inside the air fryer, a heater underneath the food heats the air. A slotted pan over the heater lets the superheated air move quickly around the food. A fan keeps the air circulating, and a vent pulls moisture and cooler air out of the appliance so the temperature inside stays high and constant.
Just as in deep-frying, a crust immediately forms on the food in the air fryer. This helps seal in moisture so the interior of the food can cook. The starches inside the food gelatinize, the proteins denature, and the fiber softens as the outside browns—all fancy terms meaning the food cooks as it heats.
Most recipes for air fryers are very similar to recipes cooked in ovens or deep-fried in oil. But there are some essential differences. Batter: Hot oil instantly solidifies a batter. But in an air fryer, the liquid runs off in the few seconds intakes for the air to heat it. Wet foods will not work in an air fryer.
Shape: Cut foods into similarly sized pieces so everything cooks evenly in your air fryer.
Coatings: Foods coated with bread crumbs, ground nuts, or grated cheeses should be moist enough to ensure those small particles stay on the food and do not drop off into the air fryer and burn.
Once the food is prepared according to the recipe, the air fryer is usually preheated following the instructions that came with your appliance. The food is placed in a basket and inserted into the air fryer before you start timing. In just a few minutes, outcomes perfectly cooked, hot, crisp food that is ready to eat.