Vinegar Pork Trotters is a traditional Chinese dish. It’s one of my favorite dishes from home (Malaysia).
It’s a gelatinous, collagen-rich dish of trotters that have been simmered into submission until the meat just melts off. It’s sweet, tangy, and savory.
This dish is actually cooked as a confinement food (good for pregnant women apparently) and is typically simmered in an earthenware pot. (You don’t need an earthenware pot.)
It’s pretty easy to make—everything goes into one pot—you just need a bit of time.
2 pork trotters
500g of pork butt 梅花肉
200g of ginger (old ginger, not young ginger)
6 cloves of garlic
150g of palm sugar (brown sugar to substitute)
400ml of black vinegar
100ml of sweet black vinegar
500ml of water
4 tablespoons of light soya sauce
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
You’d need a large stockpot to fit it all.
Enough for 8 servings, maybe more.
Note: The original/traditional recipe doesn’t call for garlic, but I like it garlicky. Usually only pork trotters are used, but more meat is always good.
1. Pork trotters should be cut into roughly 6-8 pieces each. (If you’re buying from the wet market, you can ask them to cleave them.) The pork butt should be cut into large triangles—you’re going to cook them low and slow, and you don’t want them disappearing into the broth.
2. Boil water in your stockpot, enough for the trotters to be submerged. Throw in a teaspoon of salt. Add in trotters and boil for 5 minutes to remove impurities. Remove the trotters and set aside in a bowl.
3. Peel off skins from ginger and slice into thin pieces, about 2mm thick. You don’t need to be precise. Peel garlic gloves, no dicing necessary.
4. In your clean stockpot, add in sesame oil and fry ginger and garlic until golden.
5. Add in trotters and fry on high for a few minutes. Then add in the pork butt and fry for a few minutes.
6. Pour in vinegars and add soya sauce. Add in palm sugar and water. Give it a good stir then bring it to a boil and let it boil for a few minutes.
7. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours. Check on it and give it a stir a couple times. Add a bit of water if you think it is too dry. Once the trotters are jelly-soft, it’s ready! You can also let it simmer on low/keep it warm, to extract more of the gelatinous goodness from the trotters and for it to absorb more flavor.
Note: The measurements for vinegar are what I consider as the minimum required amount. You could add more if you’d like, just not too much. The amount of water should equal the amount of vinegar.
Additions: You can add hard-boiled eggs into the finished stew, also a traditional accompaniment. Peel them first—duh.