In Taiwan, this is a very popular dish. Taiwanese would usually eat Pork Knuckle Noodles for Lunar New Year and birthdays, but as well as when you have misfortune and need to get some good fortune back. Pork Knuckle Noodles is the symbol of ironing out bad luck and bringing good fortune.
This dish also has many healthy benefits such as the abundance of collagen in those trotters! In Asia, it is very common to have ‘anti-wrinkle meals’ containing collagen rich dishes such as pork knuckles and chicken feet. Pork knuckles are especially beneficial to women who have just given birth, because they hold lots of vitamin B and protein that helps them produce breast milk. For post birth, during the confinement month, pig’s trotters in black vinegar (猪脚醋) is a very popular dish.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2 Pork Knuckles (pig’s trotters)
- Rice Vermicelli 375g (you can also use rice noodles or egg noodles if you prefer)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 100ml Oyster Sauce
- Sesame oil
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp Chinese vinegar
- 3 dried chillies
- 2 cloves of garlic (squashed)
- 1 fresh chilli
- 1 ginger (2x3cm) crushed
- 2 cinnamons
- 5 cloves
- Pak Choy
- Ground black pepper
- Spring onion (julienne)
- Coriander to garnish
First, clean the pork knuckles. The best way is to wash them then put them into boiling water to blanch. This makes it easier to remove the bristles and dirt. Chop each knuckle into half and then each half into three.
In a wok with a tablespoon of oil, fry the ginger and garlic until golden brown. Add cinnamon, cloves, dried chillies. Fry for a further minute. Now add the sugar and let it caramelise.
Once the sugar has caramelised, add in the pork knuckles and brown them. This will take about 5 minutes. Add in oyster sauce, soy sauce, Chinese vinegar. Bring to a boil then simmer on medium heat for a further 20 minutes. During this time, turn the knuckles over and make sure the knuckles are well coated in the sauce.
On a low heat, braise the knuckles for a further 90 minutes, longer if you can and it will only add to the taste.
For the rice vermicelli, soak them in water until soft which is usually about 30 minutes. It will only take 2 – 3 minutes to cook the noodles. Blanch the Pak Choy for 3 minutes to keep the crunchiness.
Portion the vermicelli noodles into 4 bowls, pour the sauce from the braised knuckles over the noodles, and one half of the pork knuckle and some Pak Choy into each bowl. Add the ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with spring onions and coriander.
Enjoy this delicacy and may it bring you good luck!
Note for those who have not had pig’s trotters: it will be unlikely that you find these in a traditional English butchers, they wouldn’t put them on display as they are not traditionally used. They will be found however, in Chinese supermarkets. The gelatinous ‘meat’ is found in a layer close to the bone and will take some work to get to it, you can either do it the Chinese way of picking up in the fingers and using your teeth, or just carefully carve off chunks with a fork and sharp knife.