Philips Avance XL Airfryer: Bigger, Better and Faster!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

I have to admit that I love fried stuff, and my idea of comfort food is a plate of golden deep-fried calamari rings dipped in mustard-mayo sauce. Not exactly the healthiest of dishes, but there's nothing that a bit of crunch couldn't fix. Lately, however, I have realised that deep-fried foods tend to make me queasy and leave my stomach uncomfortably bloated. I have been told that it is due to a lower metabolism as we age, coupled with the fact that the body's system isn't as 'efficient' in breaking down oil and fats when we are older. I, of course, refuse to believe that (yes - the age part!!) but it's really becoming increasingly difficult to stay in the self denial mode.

When Philips first introduced the Viva Airfryer in April 2011, I was admittedly sceptical. Frying stuff without oil just doesn't seem 'believable' to me. Where would the crunch and crispness come from? Would there be any flavour without the usage of oil? As its name suggests, it's like conjuring up a plate of fried stuff out of thin air!

The Airfryer really got me intrigued. I wanted to get one, but I was fearful that it will end up a white elephant in the kitchen because the resulting food items will not sit too well with the family. After all, we know that healthy alternatives very rarely measure up to the real deal. Meanwhile, friends who have the Airfryer have nothing but good things to say about it, save for a few die-hard 'fast food fries' lovers.

Then they've gone and made the Airfryer bigger. And better.

The Mookid is not a huge fan of fried stuff, and neither does he like fried snacks much. His only weakness is french fries, so I thought that if I could serve him up a plate of fries with the benefit of up to 80% less oil, it will be a great alternative to the usual oil soaked limp ones that are served in many fast food places (depending on your luck, and crowd).

So!... Let me introduce you to my new kitchen helper: The Philips Avance XL Airfryer.



It's darn difficult to take a pic of the fryer without a reflection of myself on the surface, can?!

With a 50% increase in capacity and 30% faster cooking time as compared to the Viva, the Avance Airfryer makes cooking for the entire family a breeze. The improved model also boasts a 1.2 kg cooking capacity (up from 800g) which fits more, enabling you to feed a family of 5 easily and saving you a lot of time! As a working Mum, I know how challenging it is to whip up a simple meal after a day at work and battling peak hour madness to get home. Anything which helps me cut a lot of preparation and cooking time is a winner in my books.

The new improved Avance model also fits an 18 cm oven-proof dish within its nifty basket, and this makes baking and gratinating so convenient. You can even air-roast a whole chicken inside!

The Rapid Air Technology within the Philips Airfryer allows you to fry, bake, grill, gratinate and roast snacks and meals with up to 80% less fat than a conventional deep fryer unit. The grill element within the Philips Airfryer heats up air within the unit, where the starfish design helps propel the heat, guaranteeing a fast and even cooking session, The Rapid Air Technology allows one to fry food without the use of oil, and hence, reducing the smell of oil in the kitchen.

'Starfish' sounds more whimsical than calling it rotor blades or turbine, I suppose.
Even though the unit is pretty heavy at 7kg, it has a non slip base which ensures that accidents are prevented. It also has a 'Smart Preset Button' feature which allows you to save the settings used for a favourite dish, so that the next time round you make the dish, there is no need to manually set the temperature and time! Furthermore, its removable non stick coated drawer and food basket are not only easy to clean, it is also dishwasher safe.

Using the Airfryer kinda makes me feel like Sabrina in Bewitched, except that maybe the twitch of the nose is replaced by a tap on the digital touchscreen. The control allows you to increase or decrease temperatures to the degree, and this is especially useful when baking at specific temperatures.

I've always dreamt of doing the touch button thing to make (people) disappear. Or teleport. Or time travel! I suppose this is the closest I can get to it.
The unit needs no assembly at all. I LIKE! The food basket and non stick 'drawer' fits nicely into place without having to look for grooves or clasps, and easily glides in and out of the main fryer unit. There is no danger of tugging the drawer out and accidentally pulling the entire thing out either - it stops at a maximum distance. You would need to lift it up and off the unit to separate it.

Slide in, slide out.

Wire basket big enough to put a spring chicken inside. Or a rack of lamb. Or half a slab of ribs.
There's also no need to worry about extra wide counter space to accommodate the fryer. I like how it floats!

STOP looking for my reflection on the airfryer!!
Ok... now that the technicalities are done - Let's get down to business. It's time to see if the Airfryer is all that it claims to be!

I'll start with a simple dish (and because I totally forgot to buy chicken!!) and I'd be lying if I wasn't half expecting the Airfryer to cough up a failed attempt at breaded zucchini. Zucchini is (all that I had which could go with breadcrumbs in the fridge) notoriously difficult to deep fry so that it is crispy on the outside and still crunchy soft on the inside... even with a litre of oil, sometimes the resulting product is limp, soggy and oil laden.

Here goes nothing.

ZUCCHINI DORATE | Breaded Zucchini

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min with the Philips Avance XL Airfryer
Serves: 12 slices

Ingredients

  • 1 nos Zucchini (the fatter, the better)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 300 gr of breadcrumbs
  • 100 gr parmesan cheese
  • 50 gr dried Italian herbs (you can use those premixed ones in a bottle, I won't tell!)

Method

1. Start by cutting zucchini into 1cm thick slices.

This reminds me of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Don't ask why.
2. To get rid of the sap, rub each piece against the end knob, which you aren't going to use anyway.

Yes, I need a manicure. Now concentrate on the said zucchini!!
3. Dry each piece with a kitchen towel thoroughly. Don't skip this step... it makes a difference!

Pat dry. Do not squeeze the living juices out of the zucchini!
4. Mix breadcrumbs with dried Italian herbs (Marjoram, Basil, Red Bell Peppers, Rosemary, Oregano, Parsley, Thyme) or just use this. I cheated and used this instead!

I won't tell if you don't!
5. Mix freshly grated parmesan cheese into breadcrumb mix. Only use freshly grated - none of those powdered stuff, please! If you can't find fresh cheese, just use a little salt instead. It's much better than using powdered cheese.


6. Dip the zucchini slices in the egg mixture, and coat it evenly with the breadcrumbs.

Not very even, but it was almost 2am!
7. Place it in the Airfryer basket, and slide the drawer in.

I was actually quite excited at this point. Come on, Airy Fairy! Do your magic!
8. Set temperature to 180 deg C, and fry for 15 minutes.


I was rather surprised at how it turned out. Crisp and crunchy coating on a juicy zucchini. And I didn't have to wipe my hands as I arranged the slices onto a plate. No oily dribble down my chin, too!

I'm just about convinced. I'm going to try out a few more items over the next few weeks. For now, I'm rather impressed. Could Air be the new oil, after all?

***

Now YOU too can 'Cook with Air' today! 

Quote [MUMMYMOO] and buy the Viva Digital Airfryer at $399 (Usual price: $459), FREE $50 SHOPPING VOUCHER and Avance XL Airfryer at $479 (Usual price: $539), FREE $50 SHOPPING VOUCHER only at the PHILIPS EXPERIENCE SHOWROOM.* 

*This promotion is valid from 1st December 2013 till 31st January 2014.
Limited to 1 Airfryer per person. I/C must be produced.

PHILIPS EXPERIENCE SHOWROOM

Address: 620A Lorong 1 Toa Payoh Building TP4 Level 1 Singapore 319762
Tel: 6882 5800

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm 
Saturday: 9.00 am – 1.00 pm. 
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

The Viva Digital Airfryer and Avance XL Airfryer are also available at regular prices in leading electronics stores, department stores and supermarkets island-wide.
DISCLAIMER: This review post is part of a series of sponsored conversations between PHILIPS Singapore and MummyMoo.

I have been compensated for this review, and a Philips Avance XL Airfryer has been given to me so that I will be able to present a first hand user experience. All cooking skills, content and opinions are, however, my own.

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