Ten Asian Dishes That Work Great in an Airfryer

A few weeks ago, I received an Optimum HealthyFry airfryer courtesy of Prestige Home Appliances, to test and review. Prior to that, I’d never crossed paths with an airfryer, let alone thought about what I could cook with it.

It took a bit of outside-the-box thinking but thankfully through my Twitch Live Asian Kitchen broadcasts, I received some very handy advice from one of my regular audience members, @icookibake, who happens to run her own food blog at www.icookandibake.blogspot.com.au

Just to back up a bit, since I’ve been asked a number of times during my Twitch livestreams, an airfryer functions by circulating hot air rapidly around the food in the basket, which allows it to crisp up without the use of a large amount of oil.

What sort of recipes lend themselves to being cooked in an airfryer? Most things you can cook in an oven (as long as they fit in the airfryer), and some things (not battered stuff) you would otherwise need to deep-fry.

The benefits of using an airfryer over traditional cooking methods – it cooks faster than an oven, and you use a ton less oil than if deep-frying.

Here’s my unordered list of ten Asian recipes that work great using an airfryer, with my notes and links to the recipe posts where relevant –

  1. Potatoes for Curry – we Malaysians like to add chunks of potato in our chicken curry, and traditionally you would simmer the potatoes in the curry itself. However, if you want to prevent your potatoes from overcooking and turning into mushy lumps, you fry them separately – which was what I used to do in my restaurant. Instead of deep-frying them, just brush with some oil and cook them in the airfryer for around 15-20 minutes (pausing to stir the potatoes halfway through).

Air-fried potatoes using Optimum HealthyFry 2. Crispy Kailan – I’d dreamed about this crispy kailan (Chinese broccoli) dish since I first had it at Wok Passion in Lane Cove years ago. It called for the leafy greens to be cut into thin strips, then deep-fried until crispy. Apparently doing so leaves a green tinge in your deep-fryer oil, so it falls into the can’t-be-bothered category for most home cooks. I found that @icookibake had successfully made this using an airfryer, so I followed suit and it works like a charm. Recipe here >> https://jackiem.com.au/2017/06/05/cook-crispy-kai-lan-airfryer-sambal-prawns-butter-prawns/3. Ikan Bilis – another one of those items that I used to deep-fry at my restaurant. It contaminates the oil and turns it gluggy, foggy and fishy very quickly. Now I just toss it with a small amount of oil, then air-fry it for about 10-15 minutes.

4. Sweet Potato Crisps – slice the sweet potatoes using a thin setting on your vegetable slicer, then air-fry at 125C (turning the slices at 5-minute intervals) until they start to crisp up. They’ll get crispier once cooled down. Season with salt and serve, or toss it in a wok with some sweet sambal for Indonesian-style chilli crisps. Recipe here >> https://jackiem.com.au/2017/03/29/make-sweet-potato-crisps-sweet-chilli-sauce/

5. Salmon Belly – I was always conflicted about how to use salmon belly – a common item at Asian fish shops – because I found them too fatty when cooked like regular fish. Now I season them with some white pepper and chicken powder, then air-fry them for up to 30 minutes. They’re irresistibly crispy and browned by that stage, but still gloriously silky soft in the middle. I then use them as a topping on noodle dishes or I just snack on them as finger food. (ps. pic below is from my first attempt cooking the salmon belly in the airfryer, when I cooked it for only 10-15 minutes. It’s much crispier when done for 30 minutes).

6. Curry Puffs – I make spiral curry puffs and often get asked by my customers if they can buy them frozen to keep in the freezer, so they have them on hand for dinner parties etc. Unfortunately most of my customers don’t have a deep-fryer. I’ve now tested them in an airfryer and they turn out just fine – not as light and flaky as when deep-fried, but still great. Just make sure you spray some oil on the pastry before you cook it. BTW I’d go out on a limb and say this would work for samosas and spring rolls – that sort of stuff – as well. Curry puff recipe here >> https://jackiem.com.au/2017/05/23/how-to-make-curry-puffs-air-fryer/

7. Asian Baked Cheese Tarts – this was a completely new recipe that I experimented with a couple of times Live on Twitch. One time I cooked these tarts in the airfryer, another time I did them in a regular oven. The airfryer did it much, much faster. Recipe here >> https://jackiem.com.au/2017/05/31/make-baked-asian-cheese-tarts/

picture of baked Asian cheese tart8. Cassava Cake (aka Kuih Bingka Ubi) – a popular but super-easy Malaysian kuih that would normally be baked, but I did mine in the airfryer instead, using the round baking tray that comes with the unit. Again, shorter cooking time because of the rapid heat circulating within a small space. Recipe here >> https://jackiem.com.au/2017/05/25/make-cassava-cake-fried-bananas/

9. Stuffed Eggplant (Yong Tau Foo) – I was deep-frying this Live on Air when @icookibake suggested finishing it off in the airfryer. Making stuffed eggplant has always been a bit tricky because the eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge. The airfryer made a huge difference with how they turned out – much less oily, and also more evenly browned. Recipe here >> https://jackiem.com.au/2017/05/24/cook-stingray-curry-stuffed-eggplant/

stuffed-eggplant-jackie-m-blog10. Chicken Crackling – this is the pièce de resistance for me and is alone worth the investment in an airfryer. I hate eating chicken skin unless it’s deep-fried, so I always used to throw it out. Now I peel it off the raw chicken pieces (eg. drumsticks), toss them with a bit of pepper and chicken powder, and air-fry them. When I cook chicken nowadays, it’s like getting a separate side dish of chicken crackling with hardly any work involved. Recipe here >> https://jackiem.com.au/2017/06/08/make-marmite-chicken-airfryer-chicken-crackling-sambal-belacan-tumis/

So there you have it, just some ideas to get you started on your own experiments with an airfryer. Let me know if you attempt anything noteworthy that deserves to be added to this list, and I’ll be sure to check it out.

11. Edit – How did I forget Satays? Make that ELEVEN Asian dishes that work great in an air fryer. Brush with a little oil, then cook on 200’C for 12 minutes.

Malaysian Satay

Visit www.prestigehomeappliances.com.au for more information about the Optimum HealthyFry airfryer.

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