Thursday, February 5, 2009

Black Vinegar Pork Trotter (猪脚醋)

This is a classic confinement food in Asia which is served to woman who has just given birth. Every ingredient used in this dish has it's specific value:

  • old ginger will expel the "wind" in new-mummy's tummy,

  • vinegar purifies blood and cleanses the arteries of stale blood, at the same time, it "dissolves" the calcium in trotter's bone, which in turn makes it easier for the mother to absorb into her body.

  • brown sugar puts a check on "dampness".

  • pig trotter (knuckle) is rich in collagen which help to strength joints (and reduces wrinkle... but that's another story.)

  • sesame seed oil promote blood circulation

  • egg to nourish the body
Back in my hometown in Malaysia, this dish is often distributed to the fellow "villager" during the confinement period.

I had this every day (and every meal) for a straight 40 days post-natal. Now I wonder why I didn't grow sick of it then. Anyway, I was missing this yummy dish the other day and ordered 1 when we were having dim sum at Ah Yat. It was ok but lack oomph. So I decided to make my own. This recipe is a combination from my MIL & my mom.

It is more complex but I think the end result makes up for the extra work.

Black Vinegar Trotter
1 pig trotter
1 bottle (375 ml) black rice (sweet) vinegar
1 bottle (375ml) sour black vinegar
400g old ginger - lightly bruised.
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 cup boiling water [may use more water if you like]
brown sugar to taste
3 hard-boiled eggs [optional] - shelled
  1. Clean & remove hair from the pig's trotters. Cut into serving pieces. Leave in a pot with cold water and bring to boil on low fire. By then you can see the skimish stuff and what knots floating on the surface. Remove and drain. Clean off any debris on the trotter if any.
  2. Lightly bruised old ginger. Leave it under strong sun for full day. Or take a short cut like me - spread out in a baking tray and leave it in the oven 100C for an hour. This step will add aroma and hotness which in turn intensify the dish. If you ain't keen, just skip this step.
  3. Heat Sesame Seed Oil. Fry ginger until fragrant.
  4. Add the cleansed pig trotters and stir-fried well for 5 minutes. Add both types of vinegar, water, brown sugar and bring to boil.
  5. When boiled, pour everything into the claypot (I used crocker pot). Simmer for about 2 hours or until pig trotters become soft and tender. (I turn my crocker pot to AUTO and leave it to cook overnight.
  6. When cooled, refrigerate for 2 hours or until it jellified. This process enables me to skim off the fat on top. Again, this step is optional.
  7. Add shelled hard-boiled eggs 1/2 and hour before serving. Do not simmer the egg for too long or it will shrink and harden.
  • The favour improves upon standing for days! I made a big pot though I am the only person eating this at home. At every end of day, I bring it to boil so as to make sure it does not turn bad.
  • When buying trotter, use only front hock cos the hind is very oily.
  • Sweet vinegar is avail at NTUC supermarket. The brand is Singlong. If can't get, can just use the sour vinegar but my MIL says using 2 different vinegar will add layers of flavours.

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