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)
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!