Cooking up some hot stuff in clay pots
Updated: 2013-01-05 10:14
"An ideal clay-pot dish cannot be created without a good pot, which helps retain the food's temperature and infuse it with aroma," says chef Wu from Marriott City Centre.
"We Chinese chefs usually use the term guo qi - which literally means the smell of the clay pot - to describe the subtle relationship between food and pot."
Wu explains that the pot, if 100-percent clay, will release a distinctive scent during the heating process. Food inside the pot absorbs this and acquires a caramel-like flavor.
Clay-pot menus launched by Shanghai five-star hotels illustrate current trends. Presentation has gone back to classics, favoring simple-shaped traditional matt pots. However, the food they contain has become more creative, with multicultural character.
Chefs try to add some Sichuan and East Asian flavors to Cantonese pot through Sichuan and Thai chillies, fish sauce and a diversity of spices.
"The chillies give the pot a spicier flavor, while the spices and fragrances create more aftertaste," Wu says.
Here are some highlights of bao zai cai menus available this winter at Shanghai hotels.