There’s been community projects to make meals for those in need and social initiatives to help senior hawkers kickstart deliveries. Restaurants and bars have circumvented dining-in bans by taking their orders online. Covid-19 has also made some of us amateur chefs and bakers — myself included.
Pre-pandemic, I’d only eat at home a handful of times a week, thoughtlessly feeding myself leftovers from big lunches and dinners the day before. To wit, I’m not particularly fond of cooking. It feels like a science experiment and I was never good at chemistry, or biology, for that matter. In the last year, however, my weekend routine includes a grocery run and meal prepping for the week ahead. I have 50-odd one-pan/one-pot recipes saved on my Pinterest food board. My spice shelf is more diverse than ever. And there’s always something in the freezer that can be reheated for a quick meal.
It hasn’t been all fun and games in the kitchen, but a recent addition has made cooking a little less daunting and unpredictable. Enter the Ninja Foodi Multi Cooker, a do-all appliance that can pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, steam, bake, roast, grill and air-fry. It also features TenderCrisp technology, which combines pressure cooking and air-frying so you get crispy skins and juicy insides. Since coming into possession of this wonderful multi-tasker, my oven and stove top had unfortunately been collecting dust (and will be for the foreseeable future). Anything I can muster, the Foodie yielded mostly great results despite my culinary ineptitude.
Even better, this nifty contraption is also an excellent time saver. Rice is done in two minutes. Soups are ready in 10 and taste like it’s been simmering all day. Whole fresh chicken takes 40 minutes with the pressure and air crisp functions. Broccoli and potatoes? Six minutes. My lamb racks from Grand Hyatt Marketplace, which totalled 30 minutes in cooking time, were — dare I say — restaurant-worthy. Leftover pizza slices were almost as good as when it first arrived.
But, of course, there are some downsides. It’s a monster of a machine, heavier and bulkier than other multi-cookers and air-fryers. To cater to all of its uses, the Foodi has a large six-litre pot with a 3.2-litre removable frying basket, a grilling rack and two lids. The one for pressure and slow cooking is fitted with a vent and is a separate component, while the other lid (for grilling and everything else) is attached via a hinge. It does look somewhat weird at first to have the grilling lid upright while the pressure cooker lid is used, but the cooker works fantastically regardless.
With this much going on, there’s some getting used to the Foodi’s many functionalities. If you, like me, have trouble remembering how to properly use its features, stick the cooking sheet on your refrigerator door for easy referral. The little recipe book that comes with the Foodi is also a handy guide for temperatures, timings, methods and the like. Or you can always consult Professor Google and YouTube.
Cons aside, cooking with the Foodi is pretty much fool-proof — the controls are all clearly labelled, straightforward and intuitive. You just need to know what you’re doing and have some top-notch ingredients to work with for an amazing stay-home dish.
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