SWEET AND SOUR PIG'S FEET
4 lbs. pig's feet
Water to blanch
2 oz. or 4 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, peeled & cut into medium-size chunks
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 1/2 c. black rice vinegar
1/4 c. white vinegar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
8 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed
Ask butcher to split pig's feet in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces. Blanch pig's feet in large pot by pouring boiling water over them for 1 minute. Brown pig's feet with the oil in a large pot, then add all the other ingredients except the eggs. Boil ginger over medium heat in another pot for 20 minutes. Drain and discard liquid. Add ginger to pig's feet, cover and cook over medium- low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until pig's feet are tender. Stir occasionally. Immerse eggs in sauce and let everything stand for a day. Reheat, using low heat before serving.
COMMENTARY: This dish was supposed to be prepared by a mother-in-law for her daughter-in-law after the birth of a grandchild. This was to restore the new mother's strength and was to be eaten between meals, two small bowls a day for a month.
The vinegar draws out the bone marrow. The eggs, representing birth, turns dark and the ginger becomes sweet and milk. The sauce is the essence the new mother had to drink. No one ever refuses sweet and sour pig's feet, for it is sweet, vinegary, gingery and savory. The cooked pig's feet also provides ample amounts of calcium for one's health.
When browning pig's feet, the pig's feet may be browned with 3 tablespoons of black bean sauce and 2 to 3 cloves of crushed garlic.
Boiling ginger over medium heat in another pot for 20 minutes may be eliminated if one prefers a stronger ginger flavor.