Malaysians take food very seriously. In 2016, we spent 13.4% of our household budget on restaurants and hotels. This is in addition to the 18% spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages consumed at home.
Not only is eating out bad for the bank balance, it can also be bad for your health. When you eat out, it’s hard to know for sure the amount of oil, salt, sugar and MSG that are added to your food, the freshness and quality of the raw ingredients, as well as the food safety practices of the restaurant. The good news is, if you cook more at home, you’ll definitely cut down on the amount spent on eating out.
Here are 3 tested and proven kitchen helpers to assist you in creating flavourful, healthy meals for the family without breaking a sweat.
1. Air Fryer — Fry With Less Oil
Who’s It For: Health-conscious fried food lovers.
What Does It Cook: Basically, almost anything you deep fry, you can fry with the air fryer. The air fryer uses rapid hot air to fry, bake, grill, roast, toast and grill with just a tablespoon of oil or none at all. It cooks quite fast, too–frozen chicken wings are air-fried to perfection in 15 to 20 minutes, grilled chicken chop in 12 to 15 minutes, salmon in 15 minutes, frozen french fries in 8 to 12 minutes, cookies in 10 minutes and garlic bread in 5 minutes.
In terms of taste, we would say it’s close to 80-90% to that of deep-fried dishes. With just very little oil used, that’s a really good compromise because you can eat fried food every day without the guilt.
Serving Size: A typical-sized air fryer is suitable for 1 to 2 people. If you have more hungry mouths to feed, you’ll just have to cook in batches.
2. Electric Pressure Cooker – Cook Instant Healthy Food
Who’s It For: Busy mums who have no time to slave for hours at the kitchen stove.
What Does It Cook: This one-pot wonder can make soup, stew, porridge, steamed food, curries, fried rice and noodles and even bake cakes in a jiffy. Food that used to take hours to cook, such as beef rendang, can now be served within 35 minutes. Rice and porridge are ready within 8 to 15 minutes, and red bean soup can be enjoyed within 40 minutes without needing to soak the beans overnight.
The food is cooked at high pressure, not by heat, which preserves its nutritional value and delicious flavour. It doesn’t require expensive cuts of meat to produce great stew either. This is truly the best and most economical way to prepare fast healthy food that also tastes amazingly delicious.
Serving Size: Pressure cookers typically come in sizes of 4L to 6L, which is suitable for a family of 2 to 8.
3. Tiered Food Steamer – Use The Wonders Of Steam
Who’s It For: Steamed food aficionados.
What Does It Cook: The food steamer is one of the simplest and healthiest ways to cook food as it does not use oil, which is bad for the waistline and heart health, nor does it require high heat, which causes food nutrient loss. The tiered version of the steamer is a great way to prepare a complete meal as you can steam vegetables, chicken, fish, bean curd, egg custard and rice at the same time. Just be sure to put the fastest cooking dish at the very top so that you can easily remove it when the time comes.
Note that while cooking at a steam heat of 100 Celsius is great for most raw ingredients, it may not be enough for tougher cuts of beef, pork or lamb.
Serving size: The tiered food steamer is good for one person right up to a whole family of 8, depending on how many tiers it has.
With any of these three gadgets, you can easily recreate your favourite restaurant meals at home and not feel guilty about enjoying them. You may even have one of these appliances lying unused in your cupboard. If you do, it’s time to dust it off and put it into action. Your family’s tummies and bank balance will thank you.
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