I dream of a huge kitchen with long, never-ending worktops and loads of space for all my gadgets…but until that happens, I’ll have to make do with my small west London flat. I love my appliances, and I’m the proud owner of an air fryer, a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, multiple grills and various other bits and bobs that I’d rather just not mention.
Cupboard and countertop space is definitely an issue for me, so when I first heard about the Ninja multi cooker, my initial thought was, do I really need another appliance? Or more accurately, does my kitchen need another appliance?
Have you ever used a multi cooker before? If not, what are you most excited to try out?
Before the Ninja, I’d never used one before. Straightaway though, it definitely sounded like it had the potential to replace some of my beloved gadgets. There were so many different settings that I couldn’t wait to have a play with, but I was probably the most excited to make yoghurt…sounds crazy, right?
Can you talk us through the first recipe that you tried out? What steps did you take and how did it turn out?
I started with air frying. Now I’ve tried making kale chips so many times, but somehow I always fail. I started by washing and drying the kale with a kitchen towel, before massaging on a tablespoon of olive oil. I then popped the leaves into the basket and selected the Air Fry setting. I set the temperature to 190°C, and the timer to 4 minutes. When they came out, I sprinkled on some seasoning (sea salt, garlic powder, chilli flakes), and the result? The best kale chips ever. They were perfectly crispy, had a nice crunch and stayed a heavenly-deep green colour.
What did you try next?
My second dish was sticky BBQ wings. Normally, they take 40 minutes in the oven, and the sauce comes together on the hob. What made this more of a challenge, was that I prepared both the chicken and the sauce in the multi cooker.
I started with the Pressure setting. The cooker comes with two lids, and one is fitted with a special valve specifically for pressure cooking. (If you use the wrong lid, don’t worry, it’ll let you know). Anyway, it began by par-cooking and tenderising the chicken wings in an impressive five minutes. I then set it to Air Fry again for 13 minutes at 200°C, for that lovely crispy finish. And that was it, they were done.
I made the spicy sauce with the Sear/Sautee setting. I used equal parts ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, hot sauce and water. Within a couple of minutes, I had a sticky mixture bubbling away and I must admit, I was surprised at how quickly it all came together.
Finally, I tossed the wings in the homemade sauce and dug in. They were easily some of the most delicious chicken wings I’d ever tasted.
Our mouths are watering! What was your third dish?
I tried the Grill setting next. I marinated salmon fillets in some soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil, and whacked them in the cooker. After 12 minutes had passed, I had perfectly cooked fish – crispy and glazed on the outside, juicy and pink on the inside.
I then steamed some vegetables to go with it. I peeled the carrots and brussels sprouts, placed them inside and out they came again in a few minutes – so tender and not at all soggy. I’d never used a steamer before so I was concerned about timings, but luckily the multi cooker came with a helpful guide and a recipe book.
Go on then, your fourth and final recipe?
The last setting I tried was the Dehydrate one. I was really keen to try it out because it was definitely the most foreign one to me. I’ve never dehydrated anything before, but I set out to make plantain chips. I peeled and sliced the plantain and arranged them neatly on the rack, set the temperature to 70°C and then forgot about them for eight hours. The end result was marvellous - sweet, crispy and guilt-free.
Do you think it’s earned its place in your kitchen, then?
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sceptical about this challenge before starting, and I’ll admit that I didn’t even really know what a multi cooker was. However the results are in, and not only is it extremely versatile, but in the last week I’ve steamed, dehydrated, sautéed, pressure cooked, fried and seared all in one pot. So yes! I’ve already decluttered my kitchen and gotten rid of unnecessary appliances – goodbye dear air fryer, so long slow cooker…
Any final thoughts?
As far as kitchen appliances go, the Ninja multi cooker is a great tool to have. It comes with 9 different settings to help you create loads of recipes quickly, looks stylish, is easy to use and has a whopping 7.5 litre capacity for when you’re hosting family and friends. Honestly, what’s not to love?