Monday, October 22, 2012

Mdm Chai's Pig Trotter in Vinegar with Ginger (猪脚醋)

I specially dedicate this recipe to my girlfriend Ginnie Lu who's gonna give birth anytime by next week.


Pig Trotter in Vinegar with Ginger 猪脚醋 is an old traditional Cantonese recipe originally formulated for mothers after birth, to keep new mums warm during the first month after birth. In Malaysia, Cantonese families who has new baby will cook a shed load of this, together with some red coloured hard boiled eggs in their shells (红鸡蛋) and some chicken cooked in homemade rice wine (姜酒鸡), all these packed and given to relatives and friends, proudly announcing the arrival of a new baby. Singaporean's usually add hard boiled eggs in this dish and let it stew together. It's optional. You could add it in if you want.

Before anything else, let me share with you where I usually shop for my ingredients. This is my favorite dried sundries store that I usually visit whenever I wanted to buy chinese ingredients and condiments. It is located at the basement of Chinatown Wet Market. But of course, wet markets at other area do have such dried sundries store too. You just get those ingredients at your own convenience.


If you were to visit Chinatown wet market, you could get everything you want for this dish.

Butchery Stall : Pig Trotter
Dried Sundries Store : Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Old Ginger, Shao Xing Wine, Red dates, Sesame Oil.
Vegetable Stalls : Young Ginger

When it comes to vinegar, my mother is very strict. She told me to make sure I buy the right brand if I were to re-create her recipe. She insist to mix both sour and sweet vinegar together. Doggie brand sweet vinegar, and Zhe Jiang sour vinegar is the specific vinegar. No nonsense.


My mother emphasize on using both old and young ginger. She says that this dish need the hotness of the old-ginger, and the aroma of the young ginger. If you used only old-ginger, you might find there's certain gingery aroma is missing. Old ginger do gives gingery aroma too, but young ginger gives you another level of unexplicable fragrance. They are just different.

By the way, the Old-Ginger that I used is from Indonesia. It taste more gingery than Old-Ginger from China. If you could, try to get this instead of China one. Indonesian Old-Ginger definitely taste hotter and better. The top one is washed ginger, looks clean. The bottom one is unwashed ginger. But they are the same.


For Pig Trotter, people usually misunderstood the difference between front feet (猪手) and back feet (猪脚). I'm one of them too. I thought the bigger and meatier ones are the back feet! But it is not! Thanks to the friendly butcher clear my doubt. And here, this picture says it all...


In olden days, this dish originally cooked using back feet 猪脚. Yes! I know, less meaty. That is why in modern days, people prefer this dish to be more meaty. So, it is now usually cooked using front feet 猪手 instead. I can't live without both. I love the back feet, as it gives me lots of thick collagen and smooth trotter texture to chew on.. OMG! Salivating! But Max only appreciate the meaty part. So, both mix together makes perfect dish!

Usually, butcher will to cut pig trotter into pieces for you. You won't be able to do that at home. Your mighty chef knife won't work. Trust me.

Front Feet (猪手) at the left - S$6.00, and Back Feet (猪脚) at the right - S$3.50

.
Ingredient (Source: My mother - Mdm Chai)
  • 1.8kg - 2kg Pig Trotters (1 Front Feet + 1 Back Feet) 猪手 + 猪脚
  • 280g Old Ginger  老姜
  • 280g Young Ginger 子姜
  • 400ml Zhe Jiang Vinegar 浙醋 (长城牌)
  • 400ml Doggie Brand Sweet Vinegar 甜醋 (狗仔牌 - 双料添丁黑醋)
  • 120g Normal Brown Sugar (I used light Muscovado) 黄糖, or adjust to suit your own
  • 4 tbsp Dark Brown Sugar (I used Molasses) 黑糖
  • 10 tbsp Sesame Oil 麻油
  • 800ml - 1000ml Water 水
  • 1½ tbsp Salt 盐
  • 2 tbsp Shao Xing Wine 绍兴酒
  • 5pcs Red Dates 红枣
  • Hard Boiled Eggs (Optional)

Preparation
1. Slice and bruise both old and young ginger. Set aside
2. Blanch pig trotter, and then, rinse with pipe wate. Set aside. 
3. Red dates, seeds removed. Soak red dates with Shao Xing Wine in a bowl, clingwrap it. Set aside. Let it infused for at least 3 hours or even more if you have the time.

Usually, gingers are bruised for this stewed dish. But my family member won't eat bruised ginger. They are too big for them to chew. I don't mind chewing bruised ginger. I love it. But I can't finish all of them, and most of the bruised ginger will gone wasted. So, what I did here is partially bruised, and partially sliced them. So that they will eat the sliced ginger while they eat the pig trotter too. Easier to chew. But you can't slice all the ginger. Because your dish will looks really messy with all the sliced ginger all over. Haha.. Just a suggestion. You could just do it your way.

.
Blanch the pig trotter to remove the cloudy residue. This step is a MUST!

.
Method
  1. Heat wok with 10 tbsp sesame oil. Fry both ginger together till fragrant.
  2. Add in blanched pig trotter, fry till fragrant.
  3. Add in brown sugar, stir well.
  4. Transfer the pig trotter to a pot and add 1L water into the pot. Bring to boil.
  5. Once it is boiling,  reduce to medium low fire, let it boil for 30 mins.
  6. Add salt, vinegar, dark brown sugar, red dates and wine. Adjust taste accordingly. If you want to add hard boiled eggs in, add them in at this time.
  7. Once the taste is right, let it continue to boil under low fire for another 30mins.
  8. After 30mins, heat off, leave it there for at least 3 hours (or more), to allow the flavour to infused into the pig trotter thoroughly. Reheat it before serving.
This stew is a labour of love and will take a long time to prepare. If you just want to rush it and eat within an hour or two, it won't be that nice. If you could, keep and consume the next day. I prepare mine in the morning, finished cooking by 1pm, and eave it there for 5 hours. We consume half portion at night, and keep the other half for next day for better flavour.


Step 3 : Add brown sugar into the pig troter.


Step 4 : Add 800ml Water (or more), just enough to cover the pig trotters. Not too much. You find it way too little water? Fret not! Read on...

.
My grandma use old style seasoned earthen claypot and cooked the dish with charcoal. She told me that this taste way more delicious than the one cooking on stove top using expensive stainless steel pot. I'm now cooking this dish using my grandma's method.


I love this pot. This pot is inherit from my Mother in law. She told me that she got this pot from her friend who had been using it for many years! And my mother in law kept this pot for more than 5 years. So, I think, this pot should be easily 10 years old.

You must be wondering why I named this dish as Mdm Chai's Pig Trotter in Ginger with Vinegar. When my mother told me that "This red dates and wine is the secret recipe!", I think my mother deserves the ownership of this recipe. She told me that this dish is taught by my grandma, and she twisted the recipe abit to suit her own. And throughout her many attempt, the idea of using red dates infused with wine idea popped out of her mind. She just blindly try it and it works really well, and from there, she sticked to this recipe and method for many years.


I used both light brown sugar and dark brown sugar. If you don't have dark brown sugar, use all light brown sugar then. It's okay. But dark brown sugar has heavier flavour, and it gives the gravy really thick dark consistency. So, if you could, try not to skip this. I used Muscovado and Molasses. But not necessary to follow. You could use normal dark and light brown sugar that you could get at the market. They are cheaper. Billington's brand is always more expensive.


Added vinegar in there, the amount of liquid for this dish is gonna be juuuuuust nice! Not too watery. Good thick consistency! You won't want a pot of soup instead of stew yea :)


It's done! I adore this sweet, sour and tasty pork and ginger since I was a kid. My grandma loves cooking this dish during rainy days. Eating a bowl of this vinegary pork trotter will keep us warm. Grandma told me that this dish is good for people who have cold feet too.


If you never had this bowl of goodness before, this bowl of deep brown looking soft and succulent pig trotter flavoured with a gingery sweet vinegar is really irresistably good. The ingredients are simple. Just massive amount of vinegar and ginger is used to prepare one pot of this.


I wouldn't able to resist this. Seriously!
It's soft, flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth piece of pig trotter!  

.
Look at the heavenly thick black gravy!



My grandma's way of cooking.


My mother's recipe...


Nostalgic!

45 comments:

  1. Annie, I am so bookmarking this recipe! No need to pregnant and give birth also I want to eat! Somehow confinement food is so delicious :) SO, you give away your mum's secret ingredient-red dates and wine. I think your front feet/left feet note is terbalik. Front feet is at left, right?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Phong Hong, you are so so so sharp! Hahaha.. Ok! Amended!

    ReplyDelete
  3. We Kampar ppl prefer to mix the vinegar.
    The shop here in KK, told me, JitKong vinegar not nice to cook chukeokchou and keep on asking me to use another one Hak Mai Chou.
    Got many types of vinegar I see also want to faint, hahah, still dunno much about them.
    I currently have Tim chou, hak mai chou and jit kong chou all in my pantry, LOL. Not forgetting balsamic vinegar and another dunno what gourmet vinegar given to me by a relative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, must mix the vinegar. No mix not nice. Hahaha...

      Delete
  4. I just happen to stumble on your site, and I love it! Thanks for sharing every details (brand, etc.). Must try this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Charrie, thanks for visiting my blog. Do try it and let me know if you like it ok? :)

      Delete
  5. Thanks for sharing and can definatley attest to the yummyness of this bazaar but yet delicious recipe. I'm an Asian new mom with rheumatoid arthritis and have also read that the ginger helps with inflammation.
    Check out www.mommywithra.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Isn't the doggie brand you showed already has both sweet and sour? Adding the other bottle of vinegar will make it too sour? Or did I missed something? Thankd

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Orcadrive, They are two different type of vinegar. They gives different flavor. When both mixed together, it makes perfect combination. And well, you never try, you never know :)

      Delete
  7. May I know where can I buy the Doggie brand sweet vinegar in Malaysia???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous, I'm not sure. But I think major supermart like Giant should have?

      Delete
  8. Hi

    Just wondering if there is a typo-error here when u stated 1.5 tablespoon of salt? Is it too much 1.5 tbsp?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi anonymous, Yes. It might be typo error. Thanks for highlighting. But again, saltiness depends on individual. Just add little by little until it reaches your preferred saltiness.

      Delete
    2. Dear Annie

      Thank you for your reply. Will add half tsp at a time first to be on the safe side.

      Delete
  9. Another question... is ur shao xing's wine the same as shao xing hua tiao wine? I cld only find the pagoda shao xing hua tiao wine in NTUC. Is Shao Xing (without the hua tiao words on the bottle) wine available?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous, Shao Xing Wine and Hua Tiao Wine is the same. The name "Shao Xing" is named after a famous wine making city of the same name in China. The name "Hua Tiao" describes the flowery carved pottery that stored the Shao Xing Wine anciently, but the bottle has been mass produced commercially with simpler design in handy bottle, like what we see it at supermart nowadays. However, modern people still recognize them as "Hua Tiao". So, this probably the reason why they still remain the wine's name as both Shao Xing and Hua Tiao :)

      Delete
    2. Dear Annie

      Thank you for your clarification. Will try this dish over the weekend

      Delete
    3. Dear Annie

      I tried your receipe over the weekend. I must say.... this dish is really good. I normally will try recipes fr blogs, but they don't normally turn out as well as what people claimed to be. I'm surprised that yours turned out very well! The whole family loves it. Thank you very much!

      Delete
    4. Hello Anonymous,I'm glad that you liked it. Keep it up! Continue to cook delicious food for your family :D

      Delete
  10. Thnx so much for sharing...I love this dish eversince the arrival of my daughter..

    ReplyDelete
  11. My goodness! This sounds awesomely delicious!! I have just given birth and I would love to have this prescribed to me for my health! :) What a wonderful culture to have such yummy dishes given to new mums! Bookmarking this...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi ChichaJo, Thanks for visiting my blog. And I'm glad that you like it. Do give it a try at home :)

      Delete
  12. Thanks for the recipe. But please be noted that you should not serve the vinegar in a iron bowl.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous, thank you for the info. But that's enamel coated bowl that I'm using :)

      Delete
  13. Hi Annie, thanks for sharing this. My MIL just cooked her version and told me how it was done - it is uncannily similar to yours - down to the type of vinegar, the mix, the sugar and cooking method!

    I am going to try how it goes with the wine and red dates!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cookie, I'm glad that you like it. Do remember, cooking is about individual preference. How sweet you want? How sour you want? That's pretty individual. However, the cooking method is there :)

      Delete
  14. Wonderful recipe.usually cook them Australian style and when cooked after some bourses put them in the refrigerator with all liquid until and eat them next day when all the liquid has turned to jelly.will now make your recipe.yum!!! Jenny Shaw

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer, go ahead and try. This is one of the recipe that I feels really proud of my mom. No doubt :)

      Delete
  15. Hi Annie,

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My hubby and girlfriends love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carol, good things supposed to be shared. I'm glad that your hubby and girlfriends like it.

      Delete
  16. Hi Annie, really enjoyed reading your blog, the photos and instructional are just wonderful! Can I use this dish as confinement food?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Feilong, thanks for visiting my blog. Yes! you can. This is infact one of the confinement dish :)

      Delete
  17. Hi! Love this recipe! Was wondering if there is a way to save it if there's already too much liquid? Like anything that I can add to make it slightly thicker?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi! Love this recipe! I tried making this but I got ahead of myself and then realized there was too much liquid. Is there a way that I can make it thicker? Or should I just let it boil longer? Thank you for your help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The water you add should be just enough to cover the pig trotters. Not too much. I did mentioned. Because you might end up having a pot of soup. Try again. It will be better :)

      Delete
  19. I have been looking for a good recipe for Soo long! Can I use other meat or other cut of pork? I don't like the leg with the skin and all...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melissa, Leg and Skin gives collagen and makes this dish a success :)

      Delete
  20. Hi Annie

    Please tell me if I can cook this in a big enamel pot? Thanks in advance.
    Rgds Valerie



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Valerie, It would be highly advisable for you to cook using earthen pot to achieve better result :)

      Delete
  21. Hi Annie, This is the first time I have cooked this dish, and it was a success. And only because your recipe and instructions are so detailed and helpful, one of the most comprehensive around. Thank you so much for so generously sharing your recipes with us, including the "secrets". You are a true teacher!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Weekend Cook, If i wanna share, i will share all. It makes no sense to share when I intend to keep some untold knowledge right? I'm glad that you like it. Keep it up! :)

      Delete
  22. Thanks Annie for your wonderful recipe reminds me of my granny's cooking.
    Thumbs up !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad that you like it. Keep it up! It's a good dish during rainy days :)

      Delete
  23. Thank you for sharing. My first attempt in cooking this dish, whole family including my parents love it.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...