Get a taste of earthy Chinese food at The Clay Pot Festival

The clay pot is one of the most important utensils in rural China. “Peasants worked as they cooked their meals in these clay pots. It used to take more time than regular cooking methods, but the food would be more nutritious and would taste better,” says Joseph Chen, the manager of the Mandarin Trial restaurant that is offering a host of delicacies specially cooked in a clay pot.

We start with a portion of the chicken Manchow soup, a moderately spiced soup with ginger added to it. The soup has a hint of sourness with a soya sauce base, and was a good start to the meal.

The chef said, “The soup is a very important part of the Chinese meal. Most of the base items used in the soups are made from leftovers from the meals, such as chicken bones that are used to create stock etc. It is part of an ancient Chinese tradition that frowns upon wastage of food.”

We check out samples of the stir fried pork with Kimchi and chilli bean sauce and the Beijing chicken served with Hakka noodles and steamed rice. The pork is soft and tastes excellent. The sauce brings out a slight sweet and sour taste.

The chicken is the best on the list. Moderately spiced, with a sprinkling of red chillies and capsicum, it is the clear winner in both taste and presentation. The soya sauce adds to the taste and it goes well with the Hakka noodles.

The chef points out, “Most of our food is very low on spice. In India, we have to cook according to the tastes of the Indian palette. If you eat these foods in China you will find it very bland.” Another dish that deserves mention is the rather sweet prawns with stow mushrooms. The prawns are massive, fried and taste excellent. All these preparations are low on oil and hence fairly nutritious.

The fresh fruit mojitos make great companions for the food. The clay pot festival is on till August 15. Mandarin Trail is located at third floor, Mantri Mall, Malleswaram. Call 22667351.

Keywords: Chinese cuisine