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)
1. Slice and bruise both old and young ginger. Set aside2. 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.
Blanch the pig trotter to remove the cloudy residue. This step is a MUST!
- Heat wok with 10 tbsp sesame oil. Fry both ginger together till fragrant.
- Add in blanched pig trotter, fry till fragrant.
- Add in brown sugar, stir well.
- Transfer the pig trotter to a pot and add 1L water into the pot. Bring to boil.
- Once it is boiling, reduce to medium low fire, let it boil for 30 mins.
- 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.
- Once the taste is right, let it continue to boil under low fire for another 30mins.
- 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.
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...