Black Vinegar Pork Trotter is a traditional confinement food for the Cantonese. Chinese believed that the dish would boost post natal immunity to the body and heat’s up the body of the women. It has a pungent vinegar smell and usually served with eggs and pig trotters It will also aids in milk lactation for feeding the baby.
As I am not a Cantonese, I never came across this dish until my wife gave birth to my first girl. During her confinement period, one of the relatives cooked her this dish and that is the first time I try out this dish.
To be frank, I like it because it’s full of ginger aroma, sweet and sour and for a carnivore like me, I appreciate the pork trotter more than the vinegar.(From this point onwards, pork knuckles and pork trotters were used interchangeably).
When we moved to the current house, my neighbour cooked this dish rather often, She would give us a bowl and that ‘s how I learn to prepare and appreciate the dish. I have to caution readers that the version stated here is not for the confinement ladies but more as a common dish to be enjoyed among the family members.
The main differences between the two versions:
1) Sugar – For confinement, brown sugars were used whereas for normal consumption, rock sugar or normal castor sugars were used. Rock sugar are cooling to the body whereas brown sugar will “heat” up the body.
2) Ginger – Depending on individuals, for home consumption, only adequate quantity ginger to give the ginger taste will be used. But for confinement use, a large quantity of ginger need to be used (possibly more than 1 kilogram of ginger in a meal). Ginger will heat up the body and Chinese believed it will “chase” away winds.
3) Cooking method – shorter cooking is acceptable for home consumption whereas for confinement, crockpot method were used to extract out all the herbal properties of ginger for the sake of confinement ladies.
4) Sesame oil – For normal home consumption, you can use normal cooking oil or less sesame oil to cook the dish. Sesame oil is another ingredients that has the role of warming up confinement ladies’ bodies.
5) Black vinegar – Less black vinegar will be used as compared to confinement version. For home illustration I have used the ratio of vinegar to water 1:1 whereas for confinement, the required ratio is about 1.5:1, meaning 3 parts of vinegar to 2 parts of water.
This illustration is for normal home consumption. There is not much secret about the recipe as all have been written in the bottle’s instruction. As there are many brands, it is best to follow the instructions as stated in the bottle. That is how I learned to prepare this dish. I hope that this illustration will help those readers who do not understand Mandarin as for most brands, the instructions were written in Mandarin.
I have used pressure cooker for the illustration, as such the timing of preparation is only about half an hour cooking time yet the meat falls of the bone and the broth is very concentrated. I have also list out the timing required if you cook using the normal pot.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 6-8 adults or more
1.2 kg of pork knuckles cut into big chunks
1 bottle (750 ml per bottle) of black sweet rice vinegar – [2 bottles]
1 bottle (750 ml) of plain water [1 bottle]
0.5 kg of ginger, de-skinned and light pounded [1.2 kg]
0.5 kg of rock or castor sugar [yellow or brown sugar]
1.5 tablespoons of salt
1 tablespoons of sesame oil [6 tablespoon of sesame oil]
2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
12 hardboiled eggs
The measurements for confinement version were indicated in [ xxx] for references. Depending on your preference, you can alter the ingredients quantities to suit your taste buds. However, for non confinement purposes, it is advisable to use the normal version as it will be too heaty to our body. For my international readers who are now in Winter months, you can try the confinement version to heat up your body.
If you are using the whole bottle of vinegar, do not measure using measuring cups or weighing scales. Just use the bottle to measure. It will save you the time. Error tolerances of this dish is rather high, you can always adjust the taste at the later stage of cooking.
STEPS OF PREPARATION
In a hot pot of boiling water, lightly blanch your ginger. Drain and set aside. Use the same hot water to blanch the pork trotters. Drain and set aside. Throw away the dirty water. The purpose of blanching is to clean the meat of unwanted dirt and unseen particles or bacteria. In addition, it will wash away some of the fats. If you prefer, after blanching, you can wash these pork trotters with cold water.
In a hot pot, heat the sesame oil and/or cooking oil using medium heat.
Shallow fry the ginger using low to medium heat until the aroma of the ginger lingers the house. Add in drained pork knuckles, Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the pork trotters were well coated with the sesame oil.
Transfer the pork knuckles to the pressure cooker. Add in the eggs, plain water, vinegars and brown or yellow sugars. Select the meat function in the pressure cooker. For my pressure cooker, my meat function will require about 30-45 minutes. Please refer to your individual pressure cookers cooking instructions.
If you have the time, let it rest for 1 hour before serving because though the heat is off, it will continue to heat the dish let the broth to sip into the cooked meat. Best served hot with white rice and part of a full course Chinese meals.
USING THE LEFT OVER BROTH
If you have leftover broth, eggs, knuckles and you can consider to prepare this noodle dish using the left over broth.
Branch the noodles (rice vermicelli or yellow noodles or both). Add in some fish cakes, blanched bean sprouts, eggs and pork trotters meat (without bones).
In another pot, dilute the broth in the ratio of 1:1 meaning 1 part of broth with 1 part of water. Bring to boil, add in some dark soya sauces, seasonings to taste such as salt and sugar. When it boils, crack two eggs, beat the eggs and slowly add in the hot broth. Use a spoon to stir the broth as far as possible. Add in some corn starch solution, stir and bring to boil. Once boiled. pour the soup over the noodles. Best serve hot with sambal chilli or meshed garlics. You may want to refer HERE on how to prepare the egg flower broth for noodles dishes.
If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can use a normal pot to cook this. If you are using normal pot, bring the plain water, vinegar, sugar and ginger to boil and let it simmer for one hour. After one hour, add in the pork knuckles and eggs and simmer for another 1 to 1.5 hours or until the meat are soft and tender.
WHEN DEALING WITH PRESSURE COOKER, PLEASE TAKE EXTRA CARE. ENSURE THAT ALL THE GASES WERE RELEASED BEFORE OPEN THE TOP. PLEASE REFER TO YOUR PRESSURE COOKER INSTRUCTIONS.
The dish is rather easy to prepare and Chinese believed this will be beneficial to your body. You have the choice of cooking the confinement version or for normal house consumption. If you have left over broth, just add some starch and egg drops and make a bowl of black vinegar pork knuckle noodles.
Hope you like the post today. cheers and have a nice day.
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