Monday, 10 January 2011

Stewed Pork Trotters in Sweet Vinegar (猪脚醋)

I was just speaking of TCM in my previous post, and pork trotters in the post before that, so, voila! I thought of this Chinese pork trotter stew. It's favoured by all Chinese mothers during the confinement period because it's incredibly nourishing, and soooo yummy. I love this so much I once famously said "I don't mind being pregnant just to eat all these (confinement) food." Hey, but, it's really a great stew for the winter, not just post-pregnancy. And there are hardly any ingredients, and even fewer steps.

Stewed Pork Trotters in Sweet Black Vinegar (猪脚醋)
2 pork trotters (ask the butcher to chop them up)
1 large (about 500g) ginger (old ginger preferably), smashed
5 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 bottle Chinese black vinegar (yes the entire bottle, or at least 3/4 the whole bottle)
3/4 cup brown sugar (I use unrefined cane sugar. Oh, use less if you use a sweetened black vinegar)
some water
a few hard boiled eggs

1. Boil the pork trotters vigorously for 15 min, and discard the water with all the scum. Rinse.
2. Fry the pork trotters with the ginger and sesame oil till fragrant.
3. Add the black vinegar, brown sugar, and enough water to cover the pork trotters.
4. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 2 hours. (Or you can transfer to a slow cooker like I do, and then simmer on low for 4 hours. The best pot to use is the type that my mum uses-- big black clay pots, over a charcoal fire.)
5. Add the hard boiled eggs to the stew after the trotters are done.

You can eat immediately if you can't wait. But the stew is actually much better the next day. And much much better the day after. And the day after. The most amazing thing about this stew is that you don't have to refrigerate it, the ingredients used act as a form of preservative, I guess it works somewhat like a pickle? (and we know how healthy preserved/fermented foods are for our gut) Just bring it to the boil before eating. In fact, Chinese families will make a huge pot and eat throughout the week.

Here are the healing properties of the components according to TCM:
Black vinegar purifies blood and cleanses the arteries.
Old ginger gets rid of wind in the body, which invades the body especially after pregnancy.
Brown sugar gets rid of dampness in the body.
Sesame oil promotes blood circulation.
Pork trotters have plenty of collagen to strengthen the joints and ligaments, and the bones in them also provide calcium.
Eggs are seen as a complete source of nourishment.

The trotters are so melting soft, and the gravy/broth is sweet sour and savoury all at once, and thick and gelatinous. It makes you lick your sticky lips with satisfaction after that, and your tummy will feel nice and warm and happy. Proof of a powerful broth: look at how it gels after it has cooled!

This is an entry for Muhibbah Monday, and The Best Thing I Ever Ate hosted by more than burnt toast, because it simply is!


  1. Thank you very much for entering your dish in The Best Thing I Ever Ate (Recently) Event. Check back for the roundup on February 16th.

  2. Thanks again for joining MM. I have to admit I dont do trotters but the sauce sounds delicious.

  3. MMM looks delicious! I'm 5 mo pregnant and craving this food! Your description is killing me! I just can't find Koon Chun anywhere in Germany and I'm scared to use the other ones because of the additives.


  4. Thanks! Oh maybe you can bring a bottle (or 2) the next time you go back home, that's what I do for all the obscure, hard-to-find ingredients >< i hope you get to make this and congrats on your pregnancy (:

  5. oh my god Shu, this does look amazing but i'm not sure I have the guts to make it... I have to be brave!

  6. Go on, you can do it! Really, if you get the butcher to chop it up for you first, it doesn't even look like it came off the foot of a pig.

  7. We raised some pigs for meat last year, and I found your post while looking for inspiration on what to do with their trotters. I've got to say - yum! Not a lot of meat on them, but they were delicious!

    I substituted apple cider vinegar for the black vinegar - not quite the same, I'm sure, but still lovely.

    If you're interested, I just posted about it here:

    1. brilliant substitute darren! might not be the same, but it's that same sweet tartness you're looking for, and from what I see, you've done a delicious job (:

  8. For just 20+, You are amazing! you will be a gd wife and gd mum in the future! I will definately try your pork trotter receipe!

    1. thanks angie. haha i sure hope so, though I will only know many years down the road. let me know how the trotters turn out(: they're really simple to make but mum-approved and tested!

  9. Hi Shu, do you know how many pounds or grams would 2 pork trotters (without bones) be? because my local market sells them pre-cut up! would be making this delicious looking recipe soon! =D

    Thank you!

    1. Oh no I'm afraid I didn't check last time:( but, you really want pork trotters With bones!! They add to the richness if the stock:) how do you Devine trotters anyway, they're almost all bones!

  10. hahaha i have no idea what the butchers did! hmm, ok in that case i will just have to guess-timade! i used this recipe once, with lean meat, and i loved it! so this time, i am going to try using pig trotters. this dish is pretty common in Singapore, so thanks for posting this up for me to recreate it here in the States! =)

  11. Made your recipe this past winter and loved it! The sweet and sour balance, the ginger becomes delectable and the trotters...mmmmm. The beauty of trotters is the toothsome gelatinous texture they get when cooked, and this sauce is a wonderful complement! Yummy!

    1. yay! I agree that's the best part about trotters, how they get all gelatinous and sticky and melt-in-your mouth! thanks for letting me know how it went, I'm always very happyto hear from pple who have tried my recipes x

    2. would it be ok if I use ginger brown sugar dark soysauce and honey

    3. Would definitely taste yummy but different. Try the vinegar, it really adds a wonderful tangy balance that cuts the richness of the pork! Have not tried honey in this dish before, curious to see how that turns out myself, keep me posted x