MODERN ERA OF COOKING
Epicure Magazine|June - July 2021
Epicure takes a closer look at the science behind healthier, modern day cooking methods that claim to maximise the nutritional content of food.
PRIYANKA ELHENCE

Unless you’re on a raw diet, there’s no denying the fact that heat and water combined alter the way nutrients behave in food. A reduction of nutrients is unavoidable upon cooking, with some foods losing up to 40 percent or more of their healthy assets when cooked. Nutrient depletion or alteration typically occurs when foods are cooked at high temperatures for an extended period of time, especially in a moist environment like a pot of boiling water or a deep fryer. Comparatively, cooking methods that expose foods to heat and water for shorter amounts of time are believed to offer maximum nutrient retention, as minerals and antioxidants are less at risk of being degraded.

Air frying, slow cooking, dehydrating and pressure cooking are becoming increasingly popular alternatives in addition to the usual steaming, sautéing, grilling, roasting and baking cooking methods, as they offer less nutrient loss with minimal amount of fat. Hence it’s not surprising to see an increasing number of revolutionary, all-inone cooking appliances that offer home cooks the option of preparing healthier meals. For instance, new to the Singapore market are three innovative Ninja air fryers developed by SharkNinja USA, a pioneer in nutri-extracting and food processing solutions for busy lifestyles. Ninja’s unique selling point is to provide revolutionary kitchen appliances with multiple functions in one machine, saving kitchen space, time and money for home cooks. Multi-functionality in one machine certainly has its advantages, as consumers don’t have to invest in multiple gadgets for different cooking methods.

We take a closer look at these different alternative cooking methods and the science propelling their benefits and nutritional advantages.

DID YOU KNOW

Nutrient retention with alternative cooking methods is possible as long as the food is protected from direct heat contact. Because the modern air fryer keeps the surface of the food dry and cooks it with circulating hot air, this process ensures food retains more of its key nutrients as it cooks food in a faster, healthier way all while using a tablespoon of oil at most.

DID YOU KNOW

Contrary to popular belief, using an air fryer isn’t carte blanche to eating larger quantities of foods typically deep fried. While an air fryer has its benefits and certainly use less fats for cooking, it cannot replace everything such baking and broiling, which are still healthier options. Healthy eating starts with good quality fruits, vegetables and lean meats and choosing a sensible cooking method.

AIR FRYING

The eternal question – are air fryers really the answer to healthy, fried food without adverse health side effects? Potentially, yes. There have often been similarities drawn regular baking and air frying, but they are two distinctly different cooking methods. Conventional ovens work by producing heat from an element (either gas or electric), where the heat is slowly dispersed through the oven over time. In the case of convection ovens, that time is sped up by the use of a fan, similar to the one in a compact air fryer. Air fryers use rapid air technology instead of an element to create heat, achieving much higher temperatures in a shorter period of time.

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