I’ve been on a “kitchen gadgets shopping spree” lately.
I’ve got myself the TM31 Thermomix (cost me RM5888) and a Philips Soymaker. Then GRAYNS Malaysia gave me a GRAYNS rice cooker (it removes the starch from rice grains so your rice becomes low carb! Review –> HERE.)
This Tefal unit is a loan unit for me to test it out for a few weeks.
I don’t usually write reviews for a LOAN unit but I’ve been seriously considering getting an air fryer since I’m a health and fitness freak so air-frying (no oil) is just the thing for me.
After all, you don’t get abs if you eat junk right?
After all that I’ve heard from “the other brand ” of air fryer I must admit I was pretty hyped up.
The first thing I did was to throw in some blended cauliflower for my Fit Fab Kitchen meal prep. We usually fry (without oil) about 10 kgs of cauliflower per week for our HCG/Low Carb High Protein meal orders.
The ActiFry was only able to handle about 600 gram of blended cauliflower and that’s fine because I understand that it is not build for commercial kitchens.
But I found out soon enough that the machine is quite unsuitable for ingredients that are small in size because the rotating paddle does a bad job of stirring it around the pot.
In the case of the cauliflower rice most got stuck to the centre and burn since the paddle couldn’t spread out the cauliflower properly.
Smaller batches of food do not cook well either. My single serving of flat vegetables just got pushed around by the paddle instead of rotating to cook all sides.
I tried it next with a dish that requires a bit of gravy.
It turned out alright but I did have to stop the machine a few times to check. The unit comes with a timer that counts down (to the timing of X minutes you set) and beeps when time is up.
However, it does NOT turn off the machine. The beep is not very loud, so please pay close attention else your food WILL be overcooked, or in my case BURNT.
Yes I left it to cook and went to shower and came out to find my dried anchovies burnt to ciders.
There is a bit of a learning curve required on using the ActiFry.
Different food/ingredients require different cooking time and the machine only cooks the food at ONE temperature (no, there isn’t an option to adjust temperature) so the first time is always an exercise in a trial and error.
So what you have to do is to stand by the machine and watch it cook. I KID YOU NOT.
Almost every dish will require an eye, estimation of cooking time, and attention. It’s not a machine that you can set and disappear to do your laundry, work, etc.
If the timing is not right, you will end up with your dish overcooked, if you’re lucky – just right, and usually – undercooked. Timing is everything.
The good news is; once you have done it once, note down the time is took to cook and you can refer to these timings for the next round.
Here’s what I did after the first few attempts.
Another plus point; the transparent lid helped a lot in this sense as you can see the food as it cooks.
I need a lot (and I mean A LOT) of freshly roasted nuts for my bakes, homemade nut butters and for my healthy granolas.
After a while the team decided that 500g is a good weight to air fry these nuts evenly. Yes, the key word is EVENLY.
Hazelnuts – 500g / 10mins.
Cashew – 500g / 10mins.
Walnuts = 250g / 7mins.
Peanuts = 400g / 20mins.
Now the nuts are all ready to be used to make spreads or use for baking. Couldn’t resist popping a few in my mouth.. hehehe! 😀
We make our own hummus for sale as well. So here we go – acti- frying the sesame seeds to prepare our tahini paste.
White sesame – 150g / 10mins.
It didn’t turn out as even as I would have liked (remember what I said about small size ingredients?) but since hummus primarily uses chickpeas we decided it was alright.
Sunflower seeds for our granola bars – 350g / 10mins.
Rolled oats – 500g / 15mins.
Next, the one reason most people buy a fryer like this – to cook their fries minus the oil (and obviously to lessen the guilt).
Spicy Herbs Fries – 200g / 30mins.
If you use frozen ones, thawing isn’t necessary. For fresh ones please ensure that it is dry before cooking it in the Tefal ActiFry. I added a coating of paprika & herbs plus a tbsp of oil.
It was delicious!
Perfectly crispy and stayed crispy at room temperature for hours.
We decided to attempt lunch one day and decided on Fish and Chips.
The Tefal ActiFry came with a basket and based on the manual owners of the unit are advised to use this basket if “delicate” ingredients are used; case in example fish.
Since Sutchi is cheap (in case it turned out disastrous we can throw it away without feeling like smashing the fryer) we coated a few pieces with seasoned powder and lay it on the basket.
A quick check after 15 mins showed that the other side wasn’t getting much love, so we turned it over.
In total cooking time was – 300g sutchi for 25mins.
It did taste very good and was perfect with the fries.
Next was Prawn Paste Chicken.
We used the sambal heebee (dried shrimp chilli paste) to coat the chicken instead of the usual breadcrumbs.
For 2 drumsticks, it took about 25-30mins. We cut it up since smaller pieces cook more evenly.
Once you get the timing right (since you can’t do much with the temperature), most food will turn out alright.
Then we made a mistake of following a recipe from the Tefal ActiFry recipe book.
The Pumpkin Pengat was a disaster. It was too sweet, the sago wasn’t cooked although we followed the timing stated in the recipe and the pumpkin cubes were still too firm at the end of the cooking time.
We cooked it longer but the end result wasn’t too impressive.
Needless to say, no one ate it.
Price: Tefal #ActiFry – RM999.
In a nutshell:
The Tefal ActiFry is a counter-top appliance whose major selling point is its ability to cook traditionally greasy food in a low-fat/healthier manner.
The golden question of whether the Tefal #ActiFry works better than the “other brand” on the market remains unanswered as I have not used any other oilless frying device before.
From what I know, the other brand is able to bake as well but this ActiFry certainly isn’t equipped to bake.
The transparent top is god-send especially since you would need to monitor the food and the fact that the timer only works to tell you how much time has passed but it doesn’t stop the machine.
I HATE cleaning/washing up so I did appreciate the fact that the parts come apart easily for cleaning and are dishwasher-safe. A measuring spoon for oil is included.
And since not much grease is used during cooking, it was much more pleasant to wash.
The cooking process can be stopped at anytime should you need to add seasonings, sauce, etc and the cooking will resume once you close the lid.
The exterior of the machine stays cool to touch during the cooking process thus lowering the chances of anyone burning themselves while the machines is in use, but the lid does get heated up.
All in all, the ActiFry does perform as advertised for fries and stir-frys.
However, do weight the pro and cons as I have listed above before putting down your money for one.
So, anyone else used an oil-less cooking device before? How does this Tefal compares? 🙂