Here's everything you need to know about using an air fryer - Air fryer Basics! How to prepare your air fryer before using it for the first time, how to pre-heat and clean an air fryer, and also the safety precautions while handling the appliance.
In the last post, we learnt about how an air fryer works, how to choose the right air fryer, recommendations of the best air fryers available in India, and the best and worst foods you can make in an air fryer.
Today we'll find out everything about operating one.
Air Fryer Basics
How to Use Air Fryer for the First Time
- Find the right place in your kitchen for the air fryer. Keep it in a level, heat-resistant countertop and make sure that it is at least five inches away from the wall.
- After you unbox the appliance packaging, it shall have a removable basket and a sieved tray. Wash and pat dry.
- Once done, assemble back and switch on the air fryer. Run the appliance for 8-10 minutes before you start cooking. This is to let off the gas. Not all brands may require this. But it is always good to perform this step. There shall be a chemical smell that'd waft through the kitchen. But it is perfectly okay and it is only a one-time thing.
- Air fryers are loud. You’ll hear whirring fans when it is running.
- Preheat the air fryer before cooking. This will ensure even cooking and will take only about 2 or 3 minutes. Turn the appliance on to a temperature you need and set the timer. When the timer goes off, the air-fryer is preheated, and just like a convection oven, you can add your food, set the timer again, and cook.
Safety Precautions While Using an Air Fryer
- Always have the grate inside the basket.
- Hold the air fryer basket only by the handle when the appliance is on or when you remove the basket after preheating.
- It is okay to pull out the basket during the cooking process. I was really worried as to how I could 'pause' and take a peek into the basket while the air fryer was running. This is especially useful when you want to turn the food over partway which most recipes call for. Without shutting off the machine, you may pull the basket and the machine shuts itself off.
Do's and Don'ts While Using Air Fryer
- Too much or too little oil. Some recipes need oil and some do not. I mostly use about 1-2 teaspoons of oil for most recipes and about 2 tablespoons for breaded recipes like chicken nuggets or fish fingers. Also spraying the veggies with little oil (about ½ tablespoon) will help in getting crunchy and not soggy vegetables.
Adding too much oil would result in oil dripping in the bottom tray and can even lead to burn or smoke.
- Do not overcrowd the basket. The outcome of packing the basket full of food is a soggy, undercooked meal. Give the food room to breathe as it helps in even and faster cooking. Do not succumb to the temptation of cooking more at a time.
- Turn over the food halfway through the cooking process. As I mentioned earlier, this is one of the best features of an air fryer. You can open the basket as many times as you want without interrupting the timing (for most brands, there could be exceptions. So please try it first). Just like you shallow fry on a skillet, flip the food for even browning.
- Do not invert the entire basket while still locked into the air fryer drawer for taking off the food. You'll end up dumping all the excess fat and grease onto your plate along with your air-fried food. Instead, use a tong or spatula to get the cooked food out.
- Clean the drawer and basket after every use. It may be tempting to leave the appliance uncleaned, but if you do not clean regularly, it might start smoking as the grease and excess fat gets collected on the drawer/tray and may also result in food contamination.
How to Clean an Air Fryer
Cleaning an air fryer is easy. But always make sure that the machine is completely cooled before cleaning. That is a safer way of handling it.
- Unplug the appliance and let it cool down completely.
- Remove the basket and tray from the main unit.
- Use warm water and a non-abrasive sponge to wipe down the inside of the basket. You may use dish soap or a mixture of baking soda and water for cleaning the dried food residue. Do not use metal scrubbers or utensils to clean it. Anything coarse will scratch the non-stick coating.
- Dry everything. Use a clean cloth to wipe and dry the basket and tray. You may also leave it to air-dry.
- For cleaning the main unit, use a damp cloth or microfibre cloth to wipe down the outside of the appliance.
Most models have the basket and tray that are dishwasher safe. Always check with the manual.
That's all for now!
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I hope you are now thorough with air fryer basics. See you soon with easy air fryer recipes.
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