After a rather long hiatus I decided it was time to get the chip fryer out again. Unfortunately for me, upon retrieving the fryer from a cupboard it became clear that the clean up job that was required before I could use it would just be too much to bear (yes, I stupidly stored it for about 3 years with oil in it!). Massively contrary to by best intentions I decided that the only course of action would be to replace the fryer! So the search for a fryer began.
1 - I wanted a fryer that was big enough to cope with four portions of chips
2 - I wanted a fryer that I could cook fish in
3 - It needed to be easy to clean
4 - I wanted a variable temperature control
5 - I wanted some kind of odour control
6 - I needed to feel that the product was safe
It seemed, since last looking for such a product, fryers seem to have shrunk! Most fryers that we came across had tiny capacities or very narrow baskets. The main exception to this were the industrial-style fryers but these don't have lids that can be used whilst cooking and, with a youngster in the house, I wasn't keen on that idea. I also discounted the fryers such as the Tefal Actifry which supposedly cook with very little oil. Research suggested that these were not as successful as the manufacturer would have us believe and further a portion of chips took an age to cook. We were left with just a couple of choices none of which were really ideal.
The Moulinex Supralys was the closest fit to our brief.
CAPACITY : The fryer can cope with up to 1200g of fresh chips (although best results, they say, are obtained with up to 600g). If using frozen chips the fryer will take up to 900g. Up to 2.2l of oil is used (I tend to just use 2l as this is a bottle size!).
THE BASKET : Hand in hand with capacity is the shape and size of the basket. These varied enormously and size of the fryer was by no means indicative of the size of the basket. The Moulinex basket is round, and one of the deeper baskets on the. It is wide and occupies most of the fryer's width. In comparison to the other models available this was one of the largest baskets. This basket is capable of holding chips for four, two pieces of fish (so long as they are not long!) or two chicken legs.
THE BOWL : If you have ever tried to clean a deep fat fryer, you will appreciate my next concern. Fryers are heavy and not easy to empty. Manufacturers have assisted here and have come up with a number of alternative methods for changing the oil. One of the most common seems to be to have a draining pipe. I wasn't too keen on this idea as the pipe is situated (necessarily) at the bottom of the bowl. It is invariably made of rubber. I was worried that this could be a safety issue as boiling oil and rubber to me spells potential disaster and I was concerned that this could be an area for leakage if the rubber perished.
My previous fryer had a removable bowl to aid the process of changing the oil. Unfortunately the Moulinex has nothing. Thankfully the lid of the fryer is removable and the fryer itself is not too heavy, even when full. It does mean that washing the bowl is a bit of an issue but so long as it's done frequently it's not too bad.
TEMPERATURE CONTROL : As I wanted to cook a variety of things in the fryer a variable temperature control was a must. The fryer has a temperature dial which can be set to the desired temperature from 150 degrees Centigrade up to 190 degrees Centigrade. In practice, the fryer is generally used at about 180 degrees but I have had reason to lower the temperature and the thermostat would appear to be accurate.
FILTERS : The fryer has a built in odour filtration system and the lid means that the smells of cooking are, to a greater extent, kept inside the fryer. This is not such an important feature as you might think, however, as you still have to open the lid to get the food out! There is also a gap between the lid and the basket handle which remains open at all times.
SAFETY : The fryer is not a "cool wall" fryer, but on the whole I would say that the fryer is safe. The handle that is used to lift the basket out is fixed (unlike some which clip on) and this gives a degree of confidence when lifting the basket. The lid to the fryer has a button release and it opens slowly so there is little risk of you scalding yourself on the steam. On a couple of occasions, however, I have found that the lid release has required a little force to raise the lid. The basket itself can be raised and lowered with the lid shut which protects from splashing although there is a bit of a knack to doing this and it's by no means as easy as on my previous fryer.
EASE OF USE : The fryer really is easy to use. Having filled it with oil, you simply plug it in and wait for the temperature indicator light to go out to show that the oil has reached temperature. The food to be cooked can then be placed carefully into the raised basket and then, once the lid is shut, the basket can be lowered into the oil and the food cooked for the required time. Do not panic if the temperature light comes on again, rather like an iron, this light is thermostatically controlled and responds to slight changes in temperature.
NEGATIVE POINTS : If I had any complaints they would be the following:
1 - The chrome exterior is very hard to keep shiny.
2 - There is a viewing window supposedly so that you can watch the food cook. In reality this just gets a load of condensation on it and you can't see a thing!
3 - As you open the fryer you do sometimes get condensation running down from the lid which could be very hot.
4 - The walls of the fryer do get quite hot.
5 - There is no cord storage facility.
6 - As with all fryers you do get a lot of steam escaping from the vent.
Overall I would recommend this fryer based on what's available in the market today. It's not my perfect fryer but is, I think, the one of the best of the bunch.
Short name: Moulinex AKG531