Pig’s Feet with Ginger in Black Vinegar
Soup Name: Pig’s Feet with Ginger in Black Vinegar, Ginger and Vinegar Trotter Soup, Pig’s Feet and Ginger Soup
Traditional Chinese Name: 猪脚姜 (zhū jiǎo jiāng)
The ultimate traditional confinement food (or soup) in the Cantonese cuisine repertoire. This dish is so amazing that people eat it just for the taste and not for confinement. It is consumed by men and women alike because it is flavorful and delicious. The ingredients aren’t the easiest to obtain and it is not a remotely easy dish to make, but during confinement (when the mother can eat a bowl a day), it’s worth it to make a large pot and give to friends. Traditionally, families will make large pots of this dish and give it out to friends and family to let them know that there is a new baby. For more information on what confinement is and the Chinese ingredients associated with confinement, please see our Confinement Soups page.
Some things to note on the directions for this soup is that it’s more a guide, rather than a true recipe. Since my mom is a pro at this, she doesn’t really follow measurements and simply makes it according to personal taste – so I’ve tried to adapt this recipe to that style. Some prefer it more spicy (add more ginger), some prefer it more sour (add more black rice vinegar), some prefer it sweeter (add more sweet vinegar) or some prefer super hard boiled eggs (keep them boiling in the vinegar for at least 2 days). Regardless of how your taste ventures, make sure you have a bit of spare ingredients to adjust the taste to your preference.
1 whole pig’s feet, halved and cut into edible sections
10 large pieces of old fresh ginger (roughly 5000 grams)
2 large bottles of sweet vinegar (1000 mL)
1 large bottle of black rice vinegar (500 mL)
Preparing the ginger:
- Wash ginger and then leave to air dry for at least 1 day
- Peel skin off ginger and dry both skin and peeled ginger (the skin is often used for bathing and soaking feet during confinement)
- Cut ginger into edible pieces
- In a pan (or wok) on high heat with no oil, fry your ginger while stirring quickly for 5 minutes
- Take out of wok and set aside
Preparing the vinegar soup base:
- In a large clay pot, add your sweet vinegar and turn on high heat until boiling
- Add in prepared ginger
- Reduce heat to low and boil (with cover) for an hour (until ginger is cooked)
- Set aside until ready to add pig’s feet. I say this because during some confinements, people will have made the ginger-vinegar soup ahead of time in preparation for the birth of the baby.
Preparing the pig’s feet:
- To remove the hair from the pig’s feet, you can either burn it off over a gas grill (with a hot flame) or using a sharp knife, scrape it off
- Wash thoroughly in warm water
- Half and cut the pig’s feet into edible sizes
- Wash again in warm water (to remove the grits and bones)
- In a pot of boiling water, blanch your pig’s feet for 4-5 minutes
Finishing the soup:
- When ready to eat, scoop out as much ginger-vinegar soup as you’d like to prepare for your portion of pig’s feet (so that you can continue to use, add more or keep your soup base)
- Put into a smaller clay pot and apply medium heat until boiling. Add in blanched pig’s feet and black rice vinegar (to taste). The black rice vinegar will help soften the pig’s feet more. Add eggs if desired.
- Cover and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes (or until desired softness of feet).
- Serve and enjoy!
- Effective drink in removing “wind” from the body
- Helps warm the body
- The pig’s feet are an excellent source of Iron and Calcium (as the feet boils, the marrow comes out of the bones into the soup)
- The black vinegar helps purify the blood and clears the arteries of stale blood
- The “heatiness” of this soup may be too much for some people (especially those with naturally “warmer” bodies)
- This soup is not recommended for young children (as the soup may be too acidic for their sensitive stomachs)
- Be sure to cook this soup in a clay pot (as the vinegar will react with the stainless steel pots)
- When storing, transporting or giving this soup to friends and family, the best way to do so is in glass jars (for the vinegar) and plastic tubs (for the contents)
Pork Feet purchased from meat vendor. The meat is pinkish because we asked him to torch off the hairs.
Cut up ginger fried dry in a wok in preparation to add to vinegar soup
Prepared ginger in vinegar (in a traditional large clay pot), ready to add the pig’s feet and eggs.
While first time “Pig’s Feet with Ginger in Black Vinegar” makers may be frightened of this soup, there are certain short cuts you can take for one-off consumption. You don’t need to scoop our to a separate clay pot and you can make a large portion and just refrigerate (with pig’s feet) for simple reheating later. As well, if you find it too tart, add boiling water to tone down the intensity of the soup. The above, complete process is really for confinement and large-scale production where you plan to distribute this to your friends and family. Enjoy!