Thursday, February 5, 2015

Recipe: Pork knuckle/trotters with black vinegar 猪脚醋

Pork knuckle /pig trotters are popular ingredients used during Chinese New Year (CNY). When I was dining at a Chinese restaurant last month, I was flipping through their CNY promotion booklet and saw a pork knuckle dish. I asked the waitress why pork knuckle is served during CNY and she told me that it's because it symbolises a hand clawing in more "gold and money" for the coming year. Chinese sure loves ingredients with prosperous sounding homonyms and symbolism.

The Hokkiens, including my family usually serve pork knuckle with sea cucumber (recipe here) during CNY. I read in an article last week that Hakka households serve pork knuckle cooked with black vinegar 猪脚醋 during reunion dinners, which in the dialect means "soaring high". Though I've never had it before during CNY, this was one of my favorite things to eat during confinement (confinement is the 30-day period an Asian woman undergoes after giving birth).

Pork knuckle / trotters with black vinegar 猪脚醋

To cook this dish, you can use either pork knuckle or pig's trotters (I love pig trotters, as they're more gelatinous- yummy!), which is simmered with water, old ginger, gula melaka (palm sugar) and vinegar. How long you cook it depends on how you like the texture - for us, we like the pork trotters to be soft with a slight bite and melting layers of gelatinous fat within. It is best to set it aside for 4-5 hours for the flavours to develop before serving. You can always cook a big pot, and eat it over a few meals - the flavours just get better and better!

I simply love the combination of sweet and tangy flavours of the braising sauce (yup, you can drink it all) - so appetizing! I'm so happy that my mum taught me how to cook this chu kiok cho 猪脚醋 dish. Thanks mum!

Pork knuckle/trotters with black vinegar 猪脚醋
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves 4

1kg pork knuckle or trotters
320g old ginger, sliced and bruised
900ml water
400ml spiced vinegar (cuka hitam)
150g gula melaka (palm sugar)
1/2 tsp salt

1. In a large pot over medium heat, place the water, old ginger and gula melaka and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

We use Yuen Chun Cap Datuk spiced vinegar (cuka hitam) when we make this dish.

2. In a separate pot, bring a pot of water to the boil, then blanch the pork for about 5 minutes. This is to remove any impurities from the pork.

3. Add the pork and salt to the pot (from Step 1) and simmer over low heat for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from heat and set aside for 4-5 hours for flavours to develop/infuse.

4. Before serving, heat over medium low heat for about 30 minutes.

Note: Use old ginger for this dish as it tastes better with a strong gingery taste.

If you enjoyed reading my posts, LIKE me on Facebook! You can also follow me on Instagram (@babysumo) for more photo updates or subscribe to our YouTube channel. Thanks :)


  1. This is also one of my favourite dish. I like the vinegar more than the pig trotters and I like to add in hard boile eggs too.

  2. Hi Yen,
    Oh it reminds me the confinement food.
    I've seen this dish added to CNY menu in some restaurants and "Ze Char" stalls too.
    Your bowl of pig trotters with black vinegar looks delicious !

  3. Ooooo...I love this!!! Will end up having a second bowl of rice!

  4. delicious-looking ... and i never knew about the background of pork trotters clawing for gold! :D

  5. Hi Yen, one of my favorite dishes but I don't cook this during CNY cos' I have to cook other dishes specified by my MIL at her place during CNY. The QQ trotter skin is the part I enjoyed most and the gravy,hmmmm....

  6. This is one of my favorite dishes. But not easy to find the nice one outside.
    Maybe I need to learn how to cook, hehe.

  7. Hi Yen,
    Wow, your chi kiok chuo looks so delicious! My favourite! Have not cooked this for ages!

  8. Hi Yen, I love the idea of this dish but I cannot tahan the vinegar. Isn't that strange? All the women around me LOVE this except for me. :(

  9. Thanks for the recipe. I love this

  10. Hi Yen,

    You are really good in cooking this traditional dish... but please pardon me for not a big fan of pig trotters :p

    Unlike Diana, I love love love vinegar but cannot tahan pig trotter :p



Please drop any comments or questions you may have here. Thank you so much for reading!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...