myFresha-licious: Pork Knuckles in Sweetened Black Vinegar : A Post-Partum Dish

Pork Knuckles in Sweetened Black Vinegar : A Post-Partum Dish

Happy lunar new year to all!!!  May this year of the dragon bring more love, peace, joy and prosperity to all of us.
My boss, Esther, and I were chatting about anything under Sundat’s roof when she noticed that I am gaining weight and that my pimples are worsening.   Esther asked me:  you didn’t have pimples before.  How come now?  I actually didn’t know how to answer her, I just shrugged my shoulders and said “I don’t know” because in reality, I really don’t know what’s going on inside me .  So we chatted more until we came to the topic of losing weight and detoxifying after the Chinese new year binging.  She mentioned about a Chinese dish that is good for detoxification as well as a dish highly recommended for women who have just given birth.  I got interested in it since it involves pork knuckles.  Detox and pork?  I’m not sure about it.   What is important is that this is also a nutritious post-partum dish aside from “it’s belly trimming effect” (as according to Esther).
Anything about conception, pregnancy, post-partum care, and baby care interest me and of course weight loss, A LOT.  So when I learned of this I quickly checked the internet about it and I chance upon this recipe, Pork knuckles in sweetened black vinegar posted by Ann and Jeff in their blog
As for pregnancy and post partum care, I believe that the first 1 or 2 months after a woman has given birth is very important as important as the months prior to conception as well as during her pregnancy period.  A new mother needs the best nutrition as well as optimal rest in order to recover fast.  Filipinos like Chinese believe in the same thing.  My mother will not allow my siblings to do house chores nor go outdoors, nor be exposed to cold  water nor wind, they can’t bath in cold water nor drink cold water, during the first month after they gave birth.  You call it pamahiin and most may claim that it is lacking with scientific evidence but I don’t care.  When it comes to health, people like me knows how to draw the line.  And as long as I don’t put myself nor my child nor any of my family in danger pamahiin, scientific, or not, nothing really matters.  I can use them both or totally not use them at all J.

As per Chinese beliefs, new mothers need to eat plenty of fish soup, chicken soup, and pig knuckle soup due to the nutrition, maybe protein, that it can provide. For the  pig knuckle soup, the pig knuckles are boiled for a long time with ingredients such as a lot of ginger (800 g.???), eggs, in plenty of sweet black vinegar.  Chinese people believe that this soup provides the much needed protein and can compensate for the loss of calcium and other nutrients needed by the body.  And oh, salty food should not be eaten at it will hinder in the production of breast milk.

Below is Ann and Jeff’s recipe.  Please check this link for their original recipe :  Pork Knuckle in Sweetened Black Vinegar 猪脚醋



 © Fresha-licious  (27January2012)

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Pork Knuckle in Sweetened Black Vinegar 猪脚醋

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!
Pork Knuckle in Sweetened Black Vinegar 猪脚醋

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.

  • 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.