My wife and I have considered buying a deep fat fryer for some time, but we have been put off by the thought that we may not use it enough to make using that much oil worth while. I don’t know how long oil keeps, but I’m assuming it needs to be changed every-so-often. We also wanted something which would not release quite as much odour as a deep-fat fryer.
For some time, I have considered buying a health fryer instead, such as the Breville Halo, the Tefal ActiFry or the Philips Airfryer. Having spent some time looking into these options, I was always put off by a number of aspects:
These kitchen gadgets are significantly more expensive than a basic fryer. Can the cost be justified, particularly with regard to the capabilities of the machine. As a machine just for making chips, it seems a little on the expensive side.
The device itself is surprisingly large. I have seen the equivalent machines made by Tefal before so expected something along those lines, but this has an additional unit which extends out the back, making it rather large.
Generally, these types of machine are advertised as alternatives for making chips, promising to significantly reduce both their calory count and the fat content. Beyond making chips, these devices are also capable of cooking other foods. The Breville Halo comes with a removable rotator so that a metal tray can be placed inside the bowl. It means chicken can be cooked. The recipe book itself contains quite a long list of possible meals which can be cooked in the fryer. It’s good to know that these devices are flexible, but my primary reason for buying one was to be able to cook chips. All of the other recipes could easily be cooked either on the hob, in the oven or under the grill.
The fryer consists of a metal non-stick bowl which sits under the halogen heating element (and a fan). The bowl rotates along with a removable ‘stirrer’ which is responsible for rotating the contents to ensure an even cook. The rotation of the bowl is not particularly noisey – quieter than a microwave, for example. It is louder than a fan oven though.
The smell of cooking was noticable – for a day-or-so after the chips were made. The smell really did not compare to that of a deep-fat-fryer though. it was not something which was in any way over-powering. More noticable when entering the house, for example.
This is sadly where I feel this machine struggles. As an (expensive) alternative to a deep fat fryer, one would hope that the quality of the chips produced would come close to those that come from a deep-fat-fryer. Sadly, this has not been my experience. Despite following the instructions provided to the letter, I found that only around one quarter of the total chips chipped up. The rest remained a not-quite-cooked soggy potato. This, despite a 50 minute cook. Further, the rotation of the bowl and stirrer resulted in quite a number of the chips being broken up. Based on my experiences cooking chips and my disappointment therein, I actually returned my halo fryer for a refund.