Recuing Snack Time with Healthy Cooking in an Air Fryer
When Rahul heard his son was running the risk of being overweight, it hurt him a lot. He felt responsible as a parent for being negligent of his son’s health. Rahul had been an athlete all through his school and college days. Even now, he maintained his health by eating sensibly and playing tennis every day.
Rahul didn’t believe in curbing his son’s love for food, nor did he want to force him into a sport. He loved preparing his son’s favourite snacks, be it jalebi, french fries, chicken nuggets, cutlets, or bun-samosa. Something had to be done, so, he announced a ban on fried food, and asked his son to play every evening for couple of hours.
However, the rule didn’t last longer than a week. After which, Rahul gave in and fried a batch of french fries, he felt so bad watching his son looking dejectedly at the katori of diet chivda set before him after his play-time. As Rahul watched his son scarf down his fries, his heart sank, because he knew the risks that would pile up over time if he kept giving in to these fried-food cravings.
Fried Foods – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.
The Good was the taste, no debate there. Rahul knew he couldn’t counter the lure of that flavour with any amount of diet snacks.
The Bad was that the oil used for deep frying is high in saturated fat that causes weight gain, and increases the bad cholesterol count, leading to clogged arteries. Deep frying requires the food to be completely immersed in oil. Which means the food absorbs a large quantity of the oil that increases the fat content and calories. Excess calories, especially from unhealthy fats, carbohydrates and sugar, led to obesity – a health problem amongst children and adults worldwide.
The Ugly, was the reuse and disposing of the used oil. Among the messiest tasks in the kitchen there was.
When he returned home from work the next day, he found a box that read ‘Havells Digi-Air fryer‘ and a note from Anjali (his wife) that said, “Wait for me. Will explain when I return from work.” Rahul thought it was meant to be gifted to someone for an occasion around the corner.
When Anjali said the air-fryer was for them to cook healthy, ‘fried’ food, minus the guilt, for their son, Rahul was super sceptical…
All he needed was a tablespoon of oil? Insane! Rahul was sure they’d end up with stiff cardboard-like chips. There was no way this appliance could turn out French fries with just a tablespoon of oil, and taste as good as the deep-fried version.
Anjali had anticipated her husband’s disbelief, and had come armed to explain how air fryers worked to him. So, she got to it without wasting much time. She clarified that an air fryer works by rapidly blowing hot air at high speed over the ingredients in the cooking basket. As the basket rotates continuously inside the air fryer, the tablespoon of oil coats the food. And as the hot air came in contact with the oil-coated surface, it fried the food. Which meant, the food would turn golden and crispy on the outside, while moist and fluffy inside.
She then narrated another interesting fact about this cooking method. The technique also used the oil or fat already present in the food. So, meat cooks in its own fat – this way, the original fat content of the food is reduced, making it healthier when cooked.
Anjali also showed Rahul some statistics and YouTube videos that compared air-fried and deep-fried French Fries, and other foods – including Indian snacks. She knew he would be impressed with the purchase.
Good to Know
That night, as Rahul placed the potato fingers in the aluminium non-stick coated food basket that came with the Air Fryer, he struck a deal with his son. If he wanted to continue enjoying fried food, he would have to play for couple of hours every day.
Reluctant at first, his son readily agreed after wolfing down the air-fried French fries. “Dad, I’ll play 1 hour of badminton, and cycle about with my friends daily, if you’ll promise me snacks as awesome as this when I come back! Deal?” Rahul smiled inwardly as he agreed, “Deal!”