Why do people love fried food? (Yours truly included.) You know, like fried chicken, french fries, tempura, etc. Even tofu tastes better fried. It’s a little more complicated than just fat tasting good. There are a few things that happen when you cook food by frying them in oil (or fat.) The result is deliciousness that we find hard to resist.
There is a Little Chemistry
Maillard reaction… no, it’s not a condition to be avoided. It is something that you strive to achieve when cooking food. When the heat applied to food becomes high enough, a chemical reaction happens with the amino acids and sugar in the food. It produces lots of rich, savory flavor compounds and appetizing aromas. It also causes the food to turn brown which is big part of the process that we call browning. (Now I know that browning is more than just making food look more appetizing!)
Not just any cooking method can produce Maillard reaction, which starts at around 250 degrees F. It cannot be a moist heat cooking method that involves using water to transfer heat, like steaming, boiling or poaching. Water temperature can only reach 212° F, which is its boiling point. Not high enough to start a good Maillard reaction. You need a dry heat cooking method, such as cooking with air, oil/fat or metal. (Yes, cooking with oil is considered dry heat because it does not involve water.) All these methods can reach temperature much, much higher than water. And that’s when… MAGIC begins!
Choosing Frying Over Other Cooking Methods?
Some would consider frying a method more superior than others. Any food cooked in hot oil/fat is considered fried. Stir-fry, sauté, shallow frying, deep frying, etc. Did I mention that fat tastes good? Using a good oil to cook food is also adding flavor to the food. If by any chance that you are not convinced that fat is flavorful, there are scientific findings indicating that our tastebuds do find fat to taste good.
Oil can reach very high temperature, usually 350°F to 375°F for frying. When food is added to hot oil the moisture on the surface quickly evaporates. This allows the food surface to reach the temperature for Maillard reaction very fast, adding rich flavors to the food. The surface also forms a crispy crust very quickly, effectively preventing more moisture from escaping the interior of the food. The high cooking temperature of the oil also means heat gets transferred into the food quicker, shorten cooking time. The result of frying? Food that is golden crispy outside, tender and moist inside, packed with lots of flavors. What’s not to like?
So, now we know why fried food is so irresistible. Frying in fat/oil makes food scrumptious, with great texture and flavors. Unfortunately, not all fat is good for you. And too much fat can dramatically increase your calorie intake. That’s just not healthy for you, either. Too much fat in food can also increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and stroke, just to name a few. Sorry. I know it’s DEPRESSING!
What if I tell you that you can get perfectly golden fried food and still minimize the fat content? Introducing Airfryer, an innovative cooking equipment developed by Philips. With Airfryer you can cut up to 70% of the fat used in cooking and still get delicious fried food!
How does it work? Airfryer uses Rapid Air Technology to quickly circulates hot air, enveloping the food from all directions. It’s quite similar to immersing food in hot oil, heat reaches every nooks and crannies on the food surface. Air can also reach a very high temperature like oil. (Actually, air temperature can be infinitely higher.) So food can be browned quickly on the outside, creating that crispiness and flavor, and seal in the moisture inside. Sounds like oil frying, doesn’t it?
Airfryer delivers heat at a consistent temperature from beginning to the end, giving you evenly cooked food. It also cuts down the cooking time, making it extremely energy efficient. All these advantages without the guilt and hassle of cooking with oil. What’s not to like? Oh yeah, about using fat/oil with Airfryer, basically you just need to coat the ingredients with enough oil to add flavor and to brown the surface. No more excess fat! In fact, you can try skipping oil with ingredients that already have higher fat content, like bacon and sausages.
Check out the recipes on Philips’ website. You will see that Airfryer can do more than just frying. You can also use it to bake, grill and roast. A multi-talented machine!