A funny named dish with a delicious sauce, ground pork and noodles to soak it all up.
By The Woks of Life
Ants Climbing a Tree (ma yi shang shu) is a classic Sichuan dish consisting of glass noodles in a delicious sauce with ground pork. It has a weird and not-all-that-appetizing name, and the person who gave the dish that name was definitely an impressionist with a sense of humor.
They saw the glass noodles as tree branches, the chopped scallion as tree leaves, and the little bits of ground meat as the ants. I’m not sure I see the same image, but I’m grateful for this dish. It’s so easy to make, and it tastes absolutely fantastic.
One thing to remember when cooking Ants Climbing a Tree is that the glass noodles will soak up the sauce very quickly. If you like having more sauce, you can increase the amount of chicken stock by up to 1 cup. The dish is usually pretty saucy at restaurants, but I personally like it a little bit “dry,” wherein the noodles have soaked up most of the sauce, and they maintain a slightly chewy texture. Feel free to increase the amount of stock according to your own preferences!
Serve alone, or with steamed rice!
Seriously. It is so easy.
- 4 oz. dry vermicelli/glass noodles
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon spicy fermented bean sauce/paste
- 4 oz. ground pork (or chicken)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- ¼ cup chopped scallion
- Soak the dry noodles in cold water for 10 minutes. Rinse, drain and set aside. In a wok over medium heat, add the oil and minced ginger. Cook the ginger for about a minute, and add the spicy bean sauce. Let that cook for another minute, and then add the ground pork (or chicken). Stir-fry until the meat is cooked through.
- Add the chicken stock, sugar, dark soy sauce, and light soy sauce. Bring everything to boil. Once boiling, add the glass noodles and scallions. Quickly stir everything together for 1-2 minutes. Serve alone, or with steamed rice!