This is a popular Chinese confinement food. The Chinese believe that the body is “cold” after giving birth so we need to consume a lot of “heaty” food like ginger and sesame oil after childbirth. Since it is so tasty and appetising, many people enjoy this dish even though they are not going through confinement, even men!
The key to this dish is to use the best ingredients you can get. Ginger is traditionally known to dispel postpartum body ‘wind’, get rid of the ‘cold’ and improve blood circulation. If your body is not taken care of properly after birth, it may lead to rheumatism or inexplicable aches and pains in the future, that’s why ginger is consumed a lot during confinement. I used Bentong ginger, which I was told is the best type of ginger around. It is from Bukit Tinggi, Bentong, which is a town or district in the state of Pahang in Malaysia. It is apparently more pungent and gives a different flavour to the dish. The amount of ginger added in this dish depends on how spicy you want the dish to be. As for black vinegar, it is to help purify the blood and cleanse the arteries. The black vinegar in this dish helps to dissolve the calcium content in the pork bones, which results in a calcium-rich sauce.
Pork Knuckle in Sweetened Black Vinegar 猪脚醋
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hr
- 1 whole pork knuckle (about 2.2 kg) – chopped into chunks
- 2-3 tbs sesame oil
- 800 g ginger (I used Bentong ginger) – peeled and sliced
- 1 bulb garlic – peeled and crushed
- 4 cups sweetened black vinegar
- 1 tbs light soy sauce
- A few hard-boiled eggs – shelled (optional)
- Blanch pork belly. [Place pork into a pot, add enough water to cover. Bring to boil. Once water comes to a boil, remove from heat, drain and wash with cold water.]
- In a large pot, heat up sesame oil.
- Add ginger and fry until fragrant.
- Add garlic and fry until fragrant.
- Pour in all the vinegar and bring to boil then lower heat to simmer for about 30 mins.
- Add in pork knuckle, bring to boil then lower heat to simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs or until tender.
- Season to taste.
- If you are adding eggs, add in towards the last 10 mins of the cooking process.
- You can serve immediately with plain rice but it’s better to leave it and chill the stew overnight before eating. This way, you can skim away the fats and also helps the flavour.