I’ve raved about the Ninja Foodi, which combines two workhorses, pressure cookers and air fryers, in one cooker that crisps. I loved the results.
I learned about it from JL Fields, a vegan culinary instructor, cookbook author and vegan restaurant critic for The Gazette. She was one of several chefs invited by Ninja to test the device with their own recipes and provide feedback.
Fields caught the eye of another pressure cooker company, Mealthy, which was developing a device to give multifunction cooker owners the option of crisping foods. Mealthy asked Fields to check out its CrispLid, so I asked Fields for her thoughts.
She said the Mealthy CrispLid sits on top of that brand of multipot pressure cooker to crisp, broil or air-fry food.
“Best of all, it not only works with Mealthy Multipot, but also with 6-quart and 8-quart pressure cookers from other brands,” she said.
It sounds like a win-win for those of us who love the speed of cooking in multi- pots and the crispy fried food that comes from an air fryer without the calories and messiness of deep-fat frying. Plus, the CrispLid is much smaller than the Foodi and a fraction of the cost: $50 compared with about $200 for the Foodi. So I got myself a Mealthy CrispLid to compare the two.
For the test drive, I went to one of my favorite recipes in the Foodi cookbook, chicken Parmesan with penne and broccolini. While the pasta cooked in both pressure cookers, I breaded chicken breasts with egg wash and panko crumbs. The pasta takes just a couple of minutes to cook once the pressure is reached. I removed the lids and stirred marinara sauce and broccolini into both pots.
Metal trivets, which come with each device, were turned upside down in the pots. The trivets became a shelf above the pasta mixture. I placed the breaded chicken on the trivets and covered with the crisping lids. Each pot was set to 325 degrees for 15 minutes. When the chicken pieces were crispy, I placed slices of provolone cheese on top of them, closed the lids and set the timer for 5 minutes.
The results? Both appliances cooked the pasta and chicken at nearly the same speed. But the Foodie did a better job overall. It has a larger diameter pot, providing more space for the chicken breasts to be exposed to the heat. The better air-circulating system allowed the chicken to be evenly browned and crisped. Even the cheese was more evenly browned.
If I didn’t have a Foodi, the results from the Mealthy CrispLid would have been just fine too, especially for the price.
I checked with Fields to see if she had the same assessment.
“I agree 100 percent. The Ninja Foodi is the perfect, solid one device,” she said. “But if someone already has a 6- or 8-quart electric pressure cooker or multicooker, and they don’t plan on air-frying a large volume, the CrispLid is viable. It delivers and saves money.
“In a cooking class, I madefFrench fries using two large russets. They came out perfect with the CrispLid on a 6-quart Instant Pot.”
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