Till I was about 10-11 years old, Ramadan was all about the samosas, agar puddings and porridges for iftar. We never went to the mosque except for Taraweeh and the ramadan ambience is something I always looked forward to after iftar.
Still, it was mostly about the food.
Of course, the beauty and tranquility of Ramadan, the significance of Ibadah during this sacred time was understood as I grew up. Now we cook good food for the sake of Allah and to reap rewards while maintaining and promoting a sense of family time at the iftar table. I fondly remember my little brother at barely a year old, happily on his mint green baby walker as he, though toothless, nibbled on orange baby rusks, as the rest of us devoured my mom’s spring rolls, fruit custards, and the remaining of her never ending menu.
As many of us are now in a healthy eating mode, Ramadan can be a testing time. While we try to lean towards fruits, fresh fruit juices, more protein and just enough carbs to keep our energy up during the fasting hours in the scorching heat, we do end up craving for a fried item or two during the special month. With the hype happening about airfryer in the market in the last couple of years, is it worth the money and kitchen counter space? Read on!
I own the Digital Philips Airfryer with a capacity of 1.8 lbs
Less than three weeks to go for the onset of Ramadan, we weigh the pros and cons of owning an airfryer that can push us a little toward healthier eating at a time when temptations are on the rise.
1) It can bake, fry, and reheat.
Move away convection oven, microwave oven, and frying pans.
I’ve tried making French fries, buttermilk biscuits, and small batches of cookies. It’s also a good apparatus to reheat rice, grilled chicken, etc, that don’t do so well on the stove. I have also baked puff pastries and I love that they don’t get sticky and messy as they do when baked in convection oven.
You may ask, I could easily bake my fries, chicken, or shortest. Why do I need an airfryer?
2) Well, for one, airfryer heats much more evenly. I have tried baking in the oven samosas and spring rolls, and I have had a hard time turning them around as they tend to stick to the pan even when greased right. The lower side tends to remain undercooked and gets sticky. This doesn’t happen into the airfryer. The underside does get cooked, and I turn it around only to get an even golden brown color. So no sticky, tearing mess.
3) Also, it’s a lot faster than baking in an electric oven. You can see the difference and compare the time taken to cook an item in the recipe below.
4) It takes half the space of a decent oven. My countertop space is fairly limited, so my oven is usually packed away when I don’t need it. The compactness of an airfryer makes it readily available for my baking and frying needs, and I don’t give myself the excuse not to turn to stove-top frying in oil.
5) Your stovetop space is saved (to make chai). At iftar time, the busy-ness of making juice, cutting up fruits, pouring water, laying the table, all at once makes me go crazy. The last thing I want is to stand by the stove watching with hawk eyes over shorteats frying at the right temp for the right amount of time. The possibility of overfrying, burning food and worst of all, ending up with a smokey home is the last thing I want. I love feeling free of one task off the stove, and letting the airfryer do the work with a timer. Less tension.
1) Not suitable to make large batches of food.
If you have iftar parties, you may have to reconsider airfrying your patties and puff pastries. Since you can do only few at a time, this is more suited for small families of four or maximum six, as by the time u make 20-25 for the crowd, you guests would be restless. And hangry. That’s a word.
2) Not suitable for spicy fried food.
We south Indians load up our fried fish and chicken with chilli powder and pepper marinades. When deep fried, the masalas tend to get cooked well and has a different outcome compared to when airfried, they end up being super spicy with a raw chilli powder smell. If surveying is preferred, the fish and chicken should have a super thin coat of the marinade, possible with some plain, rice, or corn flour to balance the spiciness. Even then, kids wouldn’t enjoy it.
3) Slightly dry result, esp food coated with breadcrumbs and corn flour. The oily juiciness will be missed, but you’ll get used to it.
4) You can’t airfry pakodays, medhu vadas, and drippy batter fried food. You may give it a try, by placing spoonfuls on greased aluminium foil or cupcake liners, but the results yielded were not satisfactory for my family.
Come back, you ovens and pans.
1) Always coat the items to be fried with an even film of oil. Toss it in a few tbsp of melted butter or olive or coconut oil that are healthier options to refined oil.
2) Before coating with oil, dry the food item. Strain out the water retained after washing, even dab with a tissue or lay them on a plate lined with tissue. This will help retain the crispiness when air-fried.
3) Start with a medium high temp to cook the food thoroughly, most items require around 165-180 degrees, and then turn it up by cooking on high at 190-200 degrees to get it to crisp up.
So there you go. The decision whether to buy one or not depends on your needs and personal priorities. I hope we made your decision making slightly easier. Personally, I love it, Alhamdulillah!
Here’s a quick, super simple recipe shared by a sister in Islam, Mrs Haseena Akhther. A Singaporean mom of a boy and a newborn girl, she shares her quick recipes in a private fb group of our common friend, that I often try and fall in love with, and find myself coming back to when I need quick fixes for family and friends. She was nice enough to share her buttermilk biscuits recipe that I tried in the airfryer and with great result. Simply said, they were savored by the kids and gone before husband came home. He had no idea I tried something new that day. 😂
The savory, addictive, buttery biscuits you get to eat at popeyes’/texas chicken!
2 1/2 Cups of self raising flour
1/2 cup frozen butter
1 cup buttermilk
1) Grate the frozen butter in to the self raising flour & chill the mixture for 10 mins
2) make a well in the middle of the mixture & pour in the buttermilk
3) stir the mixture 15 times, and knead enough to bring it all together.
4) sprinkle some flour generously on counter top/rolling board & place mixture on top & using a rolling pin, gently roll into a square
5) fold the square four times to get desired thickness
6) flour ur biscuit cutter & cut out the shape from the “squared” mixture
Instructions to bake in airfryer
7) place the biscuits on the greased tray, and brush the top with melted butter/ghee
8) Air-fry at 175 degrees for 9 mins
Instructions to bake in convection oven
7) place the biscuits on baking tray (baking tray should either have baking paper laid out or greased with a little bit of butter/ghee)
8) bake in oven at 250 degrees celcius for about 20 – 25 mins
9) brush biscuits with melted butter
Yenjoy makkaley ( makkaley is the kanyakumarian slang for dear/darling/peeps, etc.)