Pig’s Feet with Ginger in Black Vinegar
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)
This is 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 brown sugar) 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.
Prep time: 60 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins (for the soup)
Total time: 2 hours 30 mins
Serves: 10 bowls
- 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)
- hard-boiled eggs
Preparing the Ginger
Ginger is the highlight of this dish. That’s what makes it so potent, effective (to drive away the wind from the body), and gives it that little bit of spicy kick.
This part needs a good 1-2 days after you’ve purchased your ginger in bulk. Usually, when I see people buying ginger at the wet marts in bulk, we all know what’s cooking!
For this soup, the ginger pieces are kept rather large in chunks with their skin off. Once you peel the skin, don’t throw it out! For confinement, it is the perfect foot soak (or bathe if you’d like) for post partum.
Ginger preparation instructions:
- 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 large 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
- Be sure to use a clay or ceramic pot for these types of soups. Traditionally, that’s all they had back then and it does keep the flavour of the soup quite pure and can be stored in the pot and re-boiled as often as needed. In Hong Kong, the pre-made vinegar and even the soup itself are served, stored, and sold in clay pots. It becomes quite the workout to lug these things around!
- 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
- There are also 2 parts to the preparation of raw pig’s feet. The first is to ensure the protein itself is clean and suitable for consumption. That means removing the hairs, the tougher parts of the skin, and the nails. The second part is to blanch it in boiling water. Interacting with the boiling water will immediately release all the insoluble protein, blood, bone bits, and fat, rendering it ready for soup production.
- 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 5-7 mins
Preparing 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 hard boiled eggs if desired.
- Cover and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes (or until desired softness of feet).
- Serve and enjoy!
A selection of confinement Chinese Soups
What is confinement and confinement stories
Baby 5 & 6 Confinement story
Some confinement foods for your tummy!
The DO's and DON'T's of confinement
love love love this recipe. can’t wait to have a taste of this one. how many does this serve? this is a good idea for our family potluck. how about you check on this recipe? it’s another chinese recipe using the forbidden black rice (one upon a time in china): http://www.blackrice.com/recipes/2/
When you say 1 whole pig feet, can you please advise how many grams/kgs that would be as my butcher does not sell 1 whole feet.
i am not living in Asia.
Thanks before hand
Can you find the sweet vinegar and the black rice vinegar in any Chinese supermarket? What are their names in Chinese?
Yes – you can definitely find these 2 ingredients in Chinese supermarkets. Black vinegar is literally 黑醋. Sweet vinegar is 甜醋. I hope this helps. I will cross check with my mom on whether these 2 are correct. The one thing in HK is that you can actually buy the pre-made sauce for this recipe, as many people use it for confinement. They come in big glass jars! Lisa
This soup is delicious. My mother-in-law made it for me when I had my three children.
You can use only use black vinegar. For some sweetness just add palm sugar “黑糖＂ to taste.
In Asian shops look for “bull dog” brand black vinegar (狗子牌双料).
For the eggs don’t forget to hard boil it and de-shell it before placing into the pot!
How long can you keep this in the fridge? Does anyone know?
Hi Anne, I’m going through another batch now (because of sister-in-law’s birth) and you can keep this stuff for quite awhile. A few ways to preserve it – freeze, for up to 6 months I’d say is still OK. Second is to keep it in the fridge and take it out to re-boil or re-heat (until boiling point) for up to 4 weeks. As long as you’re only taking out as much as you’d like to eat with a clean spoon and keeping the bigger batch clean, it can last quite a while. The best way is to separate the sauce from the stuff as that you can always re-boil many times over! Hope this helps! Lisa
Thanks for the tips Lisa! =)
Hi there 🙂
I’m sorry, I need clarification – It’s not a typo for the ginger right?
5000 grams = 5 kgs
I need 5 kgs of fresh ginger for 1 pig leg?
Yes, it really is that much. With this amount, you can easily make 2 large (Chinese) pots worth. As well, the ginger skin is used for bathing, so by the time you peel it and cut off the ends, it’s a healthy amount. If you want to make it with less, half it, but 500g is too little for confinement in this recipe. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions!
So glad to have found your website! Its given me many recipes to make this winter season! Regarding this recipe, when do we put in the eggs? Also, can I have it when I’m pregnant?
Dear Kaman, yes you can put eggs, in fact, that is one of the best parts for me! Some people put eggs in really early so they become quite rubbery, but I choose to put them in quite late. You have to pre-boil them first, remove the shells and then put them into vinegar to absorb the taste. You can eat this during pregnancy, it’s OK. Hope this helps and thanks for your support! Lisa
May I know if Black Glutinous Rice Vinegar (黑糯米醋) is the same as Black Vinegar (黑糯米醋). If I only want to cook it as a winter meal and not for confinement, can I just use 3 pigs’ feet (instead of leg) and maybe 1kg of ginger? Thanks for help! So glad to find your website.
Hello! I stumbled across your blog while looking for this recipe. It’s one of my favourite soups, but there are only so many people I know that are having babies! I love that you sisters are trying to learn all the different traditional soup recipes, I’m trying to do the same but with all foods. I’m trying to start a community kitchen project in Vancouver, Canada that involves engaging Chinese seniors by getting them to teach young Chinese Born Canadians who want to learn traditional Chinese food. Anyway, I’ve added you to my blogroll so others can find your soup recipes too. Happy cooking! =)
Stumbled upon your web site. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I have one question. Can I or how should I use a slow cooking crock pot for this recipe?
Dear Philip, yes you can use a slow cooking crock pot for this recipe. To use it, just add all the ingredients together and have it simmer slowly on even heat for a long time if you can’t watch it, or have it boil for a good few hours (which is not so easy to do). Definitely be sure to use “non-metal” pots for this recipe though. Hope this helps and thanks for your support! Lisa
I was shocked that the recipe called for 10-lbs. of ginger. I measured what I needed by eye and actually cut up 7-cups of sliced ginger. I added 6 to the pot but as it boiled down, I added the remaining cup of ginger. The juice from the ginger, the steam from cooking, and the bone marrow from the pig feet, will enrich the vinegar broth. The flavor was outstanding! However, I did not dry-fry the ginger. As soon as I blanched the pig feet and allowed it to cool, I used a kitchen shear to remove the skin with hair and then carefully rinsed with warm water to remove grit and dirt. I heated up the vinegar(s) and then added the ginger. I brought that to a second boil, and then gently added the pig feet. I returned it to a boil, and then reduced heat to simmer for 60-70 mins. until tender. Boiled my eggs between that time, remove their shell, and added to pot when pig feet was tender. Continued simmering for another 30-mins. after adding eggs. I used an aluminum pot as I do not have a huge claypot to cook with. Preparing the ginger was labor-intensive but well worth the time and effort. Thanks for providing the basic recipe.
I know this is supposed to be consumed after the 13th day post partum about the time when the bleeding stops. As well they often serve this at dim sum and people eat it all the time if they just want a warm heaty treat. Anyway I’ve got a month to go before I give birth, but I ate a giant bowl today at dim sum because I saw it and totally craved it. My mother in law was like, um are you sure you’re ok to eat it. And I figured yah sure why not. Anyway was it ok? But I probably shouldn’t do that anymore…
Dear MommaTang, Yah it’s totally OK to eat this! It’s a heaty food, the worst you’ll get is a nose bleed! 🙂 But it’s perfectly OK and safe for you and your baby! You’ll probably get lots of chances to eat it after the birth too! Lisa
I just returned home from a trip to HK and miss home-made soup already! I’m so happy I found your website. I also love this recipe and order it at dim sum every time I go to HK. I am curious though, because I like the ginger and egg more than the pigs feet, can the pigs feet be substituted with any other part of the pig? If possible, I would prefer something with less fat and skin.
Thanks and warm regards,
Dear Jen, actually, I am exactly the same in that I barely touch the pig’s feet. The one thing it does give the soup is a thick, sticky texture (because of the melted collagen and pig feet parts). I actually use ribs as well. If you’re OK to have the soup thinner in consistency, use ribs. To be creative, you can also use chicken’s feet instead 🙂 Hope this helps and all the best! Thanks for your support and kind words! Lisa
The ingredients for this recipe is simple but has the best taste — made it 3X and everyone loved it — just the right sweetness and vinegar. I got lazy and didn’t pan fry the ginger though, but, I tweezed the excess hair off the pig feet (why burn and leave the follicles inside skin?). I know we can’t use a stainless steel pot to cook. I bought a 20-qt. aluminum pot to brine my turkey with, but it’s a little too big to stew the 5-6 pounds of pig feet. Can I use a non-stick pot or will the vinegar cause a reaction to the non-stick layer? Thanks in advance for your advice.
Dear Marion, glad to hear that it’s been a smashing hit! I love that people take the base recipe and tweak it to fit their tastes and lifestyles! You can use a metal pot to heat it up, but the Chinese use clay & glass pots to keep it for an extended period. The reason is exactly as you said, in that it will cause the vinegar to react to the metal and shouldn’t be kept long term. Try to avoid metal pots in storing and boiling too long, but for short periods, I do that as well. I hope this answers your question and let me know how else I can help! Thank you for your continued support! Lisa
I will be delivering any day and want to try this recipe. Is there another meat that I can substitute for the pork, as I do not eat any pork? Thanks
Thank you so much for the blogs, I learned so much!
I have a question about making a big pot of any herbal soup (not only this particular one) to keep for a few days. I live alone and work long hours, so, I like to make a big batch to save me from cooking daily.
For chinese herbal soups, is it still ok to cool down the extra soup, keep in the fridge and reheat the next day or 2 days after? Will it reduce the nutrients or make the soup less potent?
Thanks in advance for you answer!
My extremely picky mother-in-law loved this recipe. She even bragged to her friends that her daughter-in-law (that’s me) can make anything. Wow … huge compliments THANKS to “The Chinese Soup Lady.” I posted earlier but wanted to add that instead of burning off the hair, I actually spent the time tweezing it out. It only took me about 20-mins. to do that instead of the mess in burning it off over the stove (and the danger of getting burned too). Plus, the top hair is burned off, but, what about the hair folicle underneath? Tweezing made sense to me but it is a labor of love. Finally, burning it off only works for those with gas range as electric ranges don’t have flames. Hope this helps.
Dear Marion, thank you so much for your comments! I’m so glad that someone’s used the recipe and improved it even more! Your suggestions are great and will definitely let my mom know about the tweezing the next time we have a confinement! Thank you! Lisa
My sister will be delivering soon and I am so glad I came across your recipe.
One question about storing, I am planning on preparing the ginger soup two weeks prior to her due date, in case her baby arrives early. Does the soup have to be stored in the fridge, or can we just place it on the counter and scoop & cook with pork as needed.
Dear Theresa, storing in the fridge is good for about 2-3 days. I would store separate (one bowl each or similar portion) in the freezer. Definitely don’t keep it on the counter. The opening and closing of the pot and the introduction of the scoop will bring bacteria in which can fester. Ideally, if you do keep it on the counter, re-boil it for about 5 minutes before serving (just in case). I would do freezer as first choice. Hope this helps. Pressure cookers help too, it keeps the soup at a temperature where bacteria can’t grow – but again, not for two weeks 🙂 G’luck! Lisa
I’ve tried to make this soup a few times with different recipes but all failed. The pig feet were not tender at all but as hard as rock that I couldn’t enjoy. Also, the taste of vinegar didn’t taste good either, I used both sweet vinegar and black glutinous rice vinegar already. I gave up since then. Please help! Thanks.
Here’s a tip for peeling ginger: use a small spoon. Don’t use a knife or potato peeler – with all the tight spaces and curves in ginger, it’s way too cumbersome. Because ginger skin is so thin, a small spoon gives enough pressure and you can peel extremely quickly without having to worry about cutting yourself.
A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
I believe that you should write more about this subject matter, it may not
be a taboo subject but typically folks don’t discuss these
subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!
My web-site :: modernsensefurniture
Hi Lady Tong
I plan to make this for myself.
What could be the ingredient measurement for me?
Dear Cindy, you can try to quarter the portions. Although making more is completely OK to freeze for up to 6 months. I do this in little one-portion containers and simply reheat in the microwave when I feel like eating it. Hope this helps! Lisa
Do not use aluminum pot when cooking this kind of dishes. Use glass,clay,or stainless steel to prevent reactions to the acids.
Did I read this correctly in that there is no water used in the soup? Just vinegar?
Also, my butcher does not sell a whole pigs leg. How many lbs of pork would you estimate is one leg (in the picture you have two legs)
What is the best brand of sweet vinegar and black rice vinegar do you recommend?
Hi Jennifer! Ah, there’s actually one that’s highly popular in HK, who does deliveries. It’s called “Pat Chun” and they sell it in giant vats for those who want to make tonnes and tonnes! http://www.patchun.com/shop/index.php?id_product=300105&controller=product&id_lang=1 – here’s a link to their product. I’m not sure you can find this outside of Hong Kong, but check it out. Congrats and good luck! Lisa
Pat Chun’s sweetened black vinegar can be purchased in certain Asian supermarkets in California. 99 Ranch Market is one of them.
Hi Lady Tong
Thanks for your recipe.
May I know if we need to add water and black sugar for this recipe which is to be taken during confinement?
Dear Doris, actually the sweet vinegar already has sugar, but you can always add if you prefer it sweeter, this is really personal taste. However, it’s usually not commonly added. As for water, also not necessary, but some people find it’s too sticky, so can water down a bit. While the recipe is a guideline, please adjust according to your personal taste and preference. You may need to experiment a bit to find what’s best for you. Hope this helps! Lisa