In Sweden where it's not common to hire help after giving birth, I had to do my own confinement in my own way. What I discovered from many Chinese friends is that there are different ways how confinement is being done, and this dish is certainly more unique to South East Asian Chinese or the Hokkiens. I got a slow cooker or crock pot for my birthday from my in-laws (nice huh!) and used it to cook this for myself. It's a very simple recipe but the key thing is to use the correct vinegar - which is the sweet vinegar, identified by its name or one of the brand, Ba Zhen as shown in the picture. Contrary to belief, this dish can be eaten by anyone and is one of my Dad's favourite too.
1 pig trotter
1 large piece of ginger, about 200g
2-3 tablespoons of sesame seed oil
1 bottle of sweet vinegar
1-2 blocks of gula melaka
Hard boiled eggs (optional)
- The night before cooking, prepare the vinegar solution by crushing the ginger with a cleaver and place in a pot to fry without oil until dry before adding the sesame seed oil and fry until fragrant. Add the whole bottle of vinegar and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Let it cool overnight.
- The next day, scald the pig trotters in a pot of boiling water, rinse and drain. Heat up the pot with some cooking oil and brown the scaled trotters slightly.
- Place the trotters, gula melaka and the vinegar solution together in the crock pot and let it cook on low heat for four hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Add in the peeled hard boiled eggs half an hour before serving. Serve with rice.