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Air fryers, instant pots — two countertop appliances that have changed the way we cook

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air fryers, instant pots

 

Air fryers. Instant pots.

Meal time has never been the same since this duo of countertop kitchen appliances made their mark on the culinary landscape.

While both have changed the way many of us cook our food, there are differences in how the appliances can (or can’t) work for your specific culinary needs.

The air fryer uses hot air circulation and a very small amount of oil to “fry” food, which can reduce the amount of fat and calories you’ll be consuming. Food is cooked evenly (for the most part; adhere to specific air fryer recipe cooking times) and things like fries, chicken and some varieties of fish fillets turn out properly crispy. But don’t necessarily equate less fat with healthier eating. Because air fryers make it easier to cook some of our favorite comfort foods (like fries), there are still calories to contend with. A lot depends, for example, on the breading used (avoid a wet batter/coating) and the quantity of the finished product consumed. Moderation and portion control are key (even for those breaded veggies you’re frying up).

One upside is you do control the amount of oil and salt (and sugar) added. You can also roast and bake in an air fryer. You’ll skip having to preheat an oven, and with summer ahead, your kitchen won’t turn into a sauna from the heat associated with oven use.

An instant pot is an electric, self-contained multicooker/pressure cooker for the countertop (not the stovetop) that uses water (or broth) to build up steam pressure used to cook foods quickly. You can cook everything from beef and chicken to soups and stews and even cakes in an instant pot. You can sear, steam, saute, brown, bake, make yogurt, cook rice and more with many models of instant pot.

Once your seal is shut, it’s shut tight; there is no evaporation of any liquids to contend with, so flavors are more concentrated. And it’s a faster cooker than say, conventional oven roasting. Some, but not all, models of instant pots will do both slow cooking and pressure cooking (check model labels/packaging carefully).

Foods will cook faster than conventional methods because it’s the pressure in that pot that’s driving the time, not heat. Again, you control the amount of salt, as well as all other flavorings/spices you add to your recipes.

Which to buy: air fryer or instant pot? You’ll have to decide which appliance will best serve your needs, and how much you want to spend. Both air fryers and instant pots can run the gamut when it comes to prices, from mid-double digits to several hundred dollars depending on the size (6 quart vs. 8 quart) and other assorted “bells and whistles.”

We turned to the experts at America’s Test Kitchen for tried-and-true recipes for air fryers and instant pots. Enjoy!

INSTANT POT RECIPES

All recipes courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen

Spiced Rice Pilaf with Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate

Serves: 4 to 6

Total time: 45 minutes

Why This Recipe Works

The Instant Pot is a foolproof way to avoid mushy, blown-out rice and instead yield fluffy individual grains. This pilaf gets its vibrant color (and subtle spice) from a healthy dose of turmeric, coriander, and cayenne. We bloomed the spices right in the pot, then stirred in chicken broth, rice, and sweet potato. After just a few minutes under pressure, the firm sweet potato transformed into fudgy little chunks dispersed among perfectly cooked rice. For textural contrast, we deployed some finishing sprinkles — pomegranate seeds for bright little pops of color and sweetness, and savory, crunchy pistachios to counter the tender sweet potato. We think the fragrant and floral notes of preserved lemon are an important addition to this dish, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute 1 tablespoon lemon zest.

 

 

Spiced Rice Pilaf with Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate

 

 

 

Spiced Rice Pilaf with Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate

Daniel J. van Ackere

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1½ cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 12 ounces sweet potato, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced ½ inch thick
  • ½ preserved lemon, pulp and white pith removed, rind rinsed and minced (2 tablespoons)
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds

DIRECTIONS

1. Using highest sauté function, heat oil in Instant Pot until shimmering. Add onion and salt and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, turmeric, coriander, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, rice, and sweet potato.

2. Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 4 minutes. Turn off Instant Pot and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.

3. Add preserved lemon and gently fluff rice with fork to combine. Lay clean dish towel over pot, replace lid, and let sit for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with pistachios, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds. Serve.

Greek-Style Chicken and Rice

 

 

Greek-Style Chicken and Rice

 

 

 

Greek-Style Chicken and Rice

Daniel J. van Ackere

 

Serves: 4

Total time: 1 hour

Why This Recipe Works

A steaming bowl of oregano-scented rice studded with sweet peas and briny capers, and served alongside juicy chicken breasts, is our idea of a feel-good meal. Bone-in chicken breasts ensured the meat stayed moist, and browning the breasts before cooking them with the rice added depth to the whole dish. The key to avoiding gluey rice? We simply fluffed the rice with a fork to combine it with peas and capers instead of stirring.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 (12-ounce) bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1½ cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 teaspoons capers, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

DIRECTIONS

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Using highest sauté function, heat oil in Instant Pot for 5 minutes (or until just smoking). Place chicken skin side down in pot and cook until well browned on 1 side, about 5 minutes; transfer to plate.

2. Add onion, celery, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt to fat left in pot and cook, using highest sauté function, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, rice, and bay leaves, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle chicken skin side up into rice and add any accumulated juices. Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 4 minutes.

3. Turn off Instant Pot and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you. Transfer chicken to cutting board and discard skin, if desired. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest while finishing rice.

4. Discard bay leaves. Add peas and capers and gently fluff rice with fork to combine. Lay clean dish towel over pot, replace lid, and let sit for 5 minutes. Gently fold in oregano. Carve chicken from bones and slice ½ inch thick. Serve with rice.

AIR FRYER RECIPES

All recipes courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen

 

 

Air-Fried Brussels Sprouts

 

 

 

Air-Fried Brussels Sprouts

Daniel J. van Ackere

 

Air-Fried Brussels Sprouts

Serves: 4

Cook time: 25 minutes

Why This Recipe Works

Fried brussels sprouts have become a menu staple — and for good reason. The tiny cabbages caramelize and crisp while maintaining enough structure to work as a dipping vessel. Of course, deep-frying them is something of a project and doesn’t yield the healthiest results. We wanted to see if we could use the air fryer to make “fried” brussels sprouts that kept their virtuous qualities but tasted as decadent as their deep-fried counterparts. Our first attempts were promising but not perfect. Since we usually achieve crispiness (when not frying) by using a very hot oven, we tossed the brussels sprouts in a little oil and roasted them in the air fryer at 400 degrees. They crisped up quickly but tasted raw inside: The air fryer was doing too good a job at browning. We tried adding a splash of water before cooking the sprouts, hoping the resulting steam might soften them faster, but no luck. The solution turned out to be more obvious: Lowering the heat to 350 degrees gave the sprouts time to soften on the inside while the outside crisped. The results mimicked the deep-fried sprouts so well that we were inspired to create a version with another beloved fried vegetable: crispy shallots.

The brussels sprouts are delicious with just a squeeze of lemon, but irresistible with Lemon-Chive Dipping Sauce (recipe follows). If you are buying loose brussels sprouts, select those that are about 1½ inches long. Quarter brussels sprouts longer than 2½ inches.

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon wedges

1. Toss brussels sprouts with oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper in bowl.

2. Transfer to air-fryer basket. Place basket in air fryer and set temperature to 350 degrees.

3. Cook brussels sprouts until tender, well browned, and crispy, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.

Moroccan Spiced Halibut with Chickpea Salad

 

 

 

 

 

Moroccan Spiced Halibut with Chickpea Salad

Daniel J. van Ackere

 

Serves: 2

Cook time: 12 minutes

Why This Recipe Works

For an adventurous twist on a fish dinner, we turned to the flavors of North Africa. Rubbing halibut fillets with coriander, cumin, ginger and cinnamon gave them a warm, fragrant flavor and aroma, and the air fryer cooked them gently and evenly, producing moist and tender fillets. Meanwhile, we made a quick Moroccan chickpea and carrot salad. Warming the chickpeas helped their skins break down and absorb more dressing, avoiding a lackluster salad. A touch of honey complemented the carrots’ sweetness, harissa added heat and complexity, and a sprinkling of mint offered a cooling note and pretty splash of green.

You can substitute cod or haddock for the halibut. If harissa is unavailable, it can be omitted.

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 (8-ounce) skinless halibut fillets, 1¼ inches thick
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 1 teaspoon harissa
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

DIRECTIONS

1. Make foil sling for air-fryer basket by folding 1 long sheet of aluminum foil so it is 4 inches wide. Lay sheet of foil widthwise across basket, pressing foil into and up sides of basket. Fold excess foil as needed so that edges of foil are flush with top of basket. Lightly spray foil and basket with vegetable oil spray.

2. Combine coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Pat halibut dry with paper towels, rub with 1 teaspoon oil, and sprinkle all over with spice mixture. Arrange fillets skinned side down on sling in prepared basket, spaced evenly apart. Place basket in air fryer and set temperature to 300 degrees. Cook until halibut flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife and registers 140 degrees, 12 to 16 minutes, using sling to rotate fillets halfway through cooking.

3. Meanwhile, microwave chickpeas in medium bowl until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, harissa, honey, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Add carrots and 1 tablespoon mint and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Using sling, carefully remove halibut from air fryer and transfer to individual plates. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon mint and drizzle with extra oil to taste. Serve with salad and lemon wedges.

Roasted Boneless Short Ribs with Red Pepper Relish

 

 

 

 

 

Boneless short ribs with pepper relilsh

Steve Klise

 

Serves: 4

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Why This Recipe Works

In Argentina, short ribs are often cooked over hardwood coals until tender, smoky, and rosy within. To replicate this in our air fryer, we started with boneless short ribs, “slow-roasting” them at 250 degrees until evenly cooked (in reality, this took only 18 minutes). As they roasted, the wire basket allowed excess fat to drip away. A spice rub of smoked paprika, brown sugar, and cumin gave our ribs a smoky flavor reminiscent of grilling. To cut the richness, we prepared a piquant red pepper relish. To avoid using the stovetop, we microwaved red bell pepper with minced shallot, olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of cayenne until the bell pepper was softened. Cilantro and lemon juice brought freshness and balanced the acidity.

The thickness and marbling of boneless short ribs can vary; look for lean ribs cut from the chuck. Do not substitute bone-in English-style short ribs. Because they are cooked gently and not seared, the short ribs will be rosy throughout. The test kitchen’s favorite ground cumin is Simply Organic Ground Cumin.

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1½ pounds boneless short ribs, 1½ to 2 inches thick and 4 to 5 inches long, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

1. Combine paprika, sugar, cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in bowl. Pat short ribs dry with paper towels, rub with 2 teaspoons oil, and sprinkle evenly with spice mixture. Arrange short ribs in air-fryer basket, spaced evenly apart. Place basket in air fryer and set temperature to 250 degrees. Cook until beef registers 130 to 135 degrees (for medium), 18 to 24 minutes, flipping and rotating short ribs halfway through cooking. Transfer short ribs to cutting board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest while preparing relish.

2. Microwave bell pepper, shallot, garlic, cayenne, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in bowl, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly, then stir in cilantro and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice short ribs thin against grain and serve with relish.

All recipes courtesy America’s Test Kitchen.

 

 

America’s Test Kitchen’s “Air Fryer Perfection” is one guide to cooking almost anything in the countertop appliance.

 

 

 

America’s Test Kitchen’s “Air Fryer Perfection” is one guide to cooking almost anything in the countertop appliance.

Courtesy America’s Test Kitchen

 

Source * news.google.com – * https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMidWh0dHBzOi8vY2hpY2Fnby5zdW50aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMS80LzE0LzIyMzUxNDYxL2Fpci1mcnllcnMtaW5zdGFudC1wb3RzLWNvdW50ZXJ0b3AtYXBwbGlhbmNlcy1jaGFuZ2VkLXRoZS13YXktd2UtY29va9IBggFodHRwczovL2NoaWNhZ28uc3VudGltZXMuY29tL3BsYXRmb3JtL2FtcC8yMDIxLzQvMTQvMjIzNTE0NjEvYWlyLWZyeWVycy1pbnN0YW50LXBvdHMtY291bnRlcnRvcC1hcHBsaWFuY2VzLWNoYW5nZWQtdGhlLXdheS13ZS1jb29r?oc=5

 

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