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Air-Fried Zai Er

This is a 5-minute recipe for air-fried vegetarian soya bean curd skin (not made from scratch). You may know it better as “zai er” or 齋鹅 (vegetarian mock goose). Call me biased, but I do think that it is the single most delicious item on the vegetarian bee hoon stall menu. Since I always can’t have enough of it, I like buying a whole packet of zai er just to snack on. But they are quite oily since they are deep-fried.

See Also:
Air-Fried Prawn Paste Chicken Recipe

It is only very recently, through Singapore Home Cooks (a popular local facebook cooking sharing group) that I learnt from contributer Christina Kwan that it is possible to air fry the zai er, instead of deep frying, and it only takes 5 minutes! The air-fried zai er is as crispy as the deep-fried version, and not as oily. This is a much healthier and fuss-free option (no oil needed at all). Now I can have zai er at home any time I have craving for it (which is quite often). Thank you for sharing, Christina :)

Vegetarian Zai Er (Mock Goose)

A – The packet of zai er I used, from Giant supermaket (frozen section). Normal price S$5.95. It’s labelled crispy sweet soya.
B – Arrange zai er one layer on the fryer basket (minimize overlapping too much) or else the parts unexposed to the heat will be uncooked.
C – Optional: If you want to cook more at one go, you can add a wire rack inside the air fryer basket to cook a second layer of zai er at the same time, but note that the ones on the upper rack will brown faster (you may take them out a minute earlier, if preferred).

Air-fried Vegetarian Zai Er Recipe

9 comments on “Air-Fried Zai Er”

  1. My kids and I love eating crispy zai er, didn’t know it can be bought at Giant. Thanks for sharing and will try air-frying it!

  2. Zai Er is the dish I must order if I eat vegetarian mee hoon, yummy.

  3. Can I use oven to bake instead since I doesn’t have a air fryer?

    • I have not tried but I am pretty sure it can be done. The baking time in the oven probably need to be longer (e.g. 10 minutes; just bake until colour is right). Do let me know if you try it in the oven :)

  4. Which air fryer did u use? I’ve been toying with the idea of getting 1 but not sure which brand is the best.

  5. Does the zai-er fly around in the airfryer during frying? I know light items do fly around and will get stuck to the heater at the top and burn.

    • I was actually expecting them to fly around as I heard that they will, but it didn’t happen to me. If that happened to you, next time place the wire rack over the zai-er, but do not put a second layer of zai er on the wire rack. If you click the credit link, you can see this set up.

  6. I try to fry Zai er using air fryer but it got stuck to the heating element think it’s too light causing white smoke, I did not even overlap.

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