There was a time when the air fryer hype left me rolling my eyes. I thought, here we go, it’s the Somizi Mhlongo Smeg fanfare all over again.
Then I received an air fryer as a gift. Since then, all eye-rolling has ceased. And now I’m on several air fryer groups on Facebook.
Don’t judge. Seriously. It has been life-changing. And I keep trying to convince my family and friends to invest in one.
So for disbelievers – I used to be one, so no judgement – allow me to explain. I no longer have to subject myself to greasy food.
Also, with load shedding the new norm, like Covid-19, I can prepare my meals quickly and they are more healthy as no oil is used – other than a splash of Olive oil here and there.
Not too long ago, there was a launch for the Philips All-in-One Cooker and they had this year’s “MasterChef SA” contestant Udhir Harrinarain (aka Dr Harri), who is a dentist from KwaZulu-Natal, Zola Nene, Jenny Morris and several other influencers in attendance.
The media were treated to some of their dishes, made in the new appliance.
In a recent chat with Dr Harri, he commented on how this air fryer-obsessed era helps cooks.
He said: “As a chef – although not professionally trained – and a food blogger, a common misconception is that we don’t mind spending every moment in the kitchen.
“Don’t get me wrong, the kitchen is my happy place but with being a dentist full-time there are days when I come home after a long day and all I want is good food, fast and minimal clean up.
“This is how the air fryer and all-in-one cooker have changed the way I cook.”
Although he has only just become familiar with the all-in-one cooker, he can’t sing its praises enough.
He said: “The all-in-one cooker is my go-to. I mean, cooking a lamb curry in under 40 minutes is a dream.”
And it certainly helps give households the edge when it comes to load shedding.
“100%, it is invaluable. I can imagine the stress of parents that have to rush home after work, cook dinner for their family and try to be done before the lights switch off. It can save you time without compromising on taste.
“I mean, we all love takeout but eating it often isn’t always the healthiest and in today’s economic climate, it isn’t cheap,” Dr Harri said.
This also means that there is no excuse to not have fresh, healthy meals at home.
To date, he’s enjoyed cooking meat, dried beans and lentils in this appliance. And he has been inspired to get experimental in the kitchen.
Below are a few recipes to try out in the all-in-one cooker:
Dhal Gosht by Dr Harri
1.5kg lamb, of which 0.5kg is stewing lamb, and 1kg lamb leg chops
1 cup of lentils
2 cups of pea dhal
2 tbs of ginger and garlic paste
4 tbs butter
2 tbs cumin seeds
½ cup of chopped coriander
1 stem of curry leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
3 birds-eye chillies
3 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cardamom pods
4 tbs fennel seeds
2 tbs masala
1 tbs turmeric
1 tbs chilli powder
On the chef mode on your All-in-One Cooker, you can heat your oil, onions, and all the whole spices including thyme, curry leaves, and birds-eye chillies.
Fry until onions start to brown.
Add in the ginger and garlic paste, and cook for 1 minute.
Add in your masala, turmeric, and chilli powder, allow to bloom for 1 minute and then add in meat and allow all the spices to coat it and fry.
Add in the remainder of your ingredients, saving the coriander for the end.
Top with 2 cups of water and cook on 70kp for 40 minutes.
If the gravy is too thin then you can use the gravy thickening function and cook for a few minutes until the gravy is to your desired consistency.
Top with coriander and serve with Durban-style naan bread.
Mediterranean Bredie by Jenny Morris
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled
5 celery sticks
8 skinless chicken thighs, bone in
10 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
8cm piece of fresh ginger
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
2 tsp oregano
Salt & ground white pepper to taste
400g brown mushrooms
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
¾ cup tomato purée
1 cup home-made chicken stock
Italian parsley, roughly chopped
Keep the lid open and select the sauté cooking function.
Heat the olive oil in the pot, add the onions and celery sticks to sauté for 5 minutes and then add a little chicken stock.
If it looks like it is sticking, don’t add more oil; there is enough natural fat in the chicken.
Add the chicken, garlic and ginger, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme with salt and pepper to taste.
Sauté while stirring for 5 minutes then add the mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato purée and the rest of the chicken stock into the pot and stir.
Simmer until the chicken has cooked through.
Select the slow cook high function to start cooking, or your chosen cooking function for lamb. The default cooking times are displayed on the screen of your All-in-One Cooker.
Set the timer to 25 minutes. It automatically switches to keep your dish warm after the cooking process is finished. You can unlock and open the top lid.
Select the slow cooking function in standby mode and set the desired cooking time to reduce your sauce. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, then stir in the parsley and serve with steamed brown rice or steamed bulgur wheat.
Read the latest IOL Food magazine here.