Ants climbing a tree –cellophane noodles stir fried with minced beef (蚂蚁上树) is a famous dish from Sichuan cuisine. The basic ingredient mung bean cellophane noodle (粉丝) is made from mung bean starch. The name can be translated as bean thread noodles. Cellophane noodle is a big group in China and you may find it called as saifun outside China. In addition to this mung bean cellophane noodles, we also have cellophane noodles made from yams like sweet potato cellophane noodle. Sometimes, you may find they are named as glass noodles as they will become transparent after cooking.
It has finally cooled down in my city and I am quite excited about that after around 6 months of high temperature. So So So, I cook this ants climbing a tree to warm up slightly. This is a very easy recipe with common ingredients in China.
Let’s start with the interesting story about the name.In Guan Hanqing’s Dou E’s Injustice, the heroine’s mother in law was old and sick, lying on bed all the day long. Dou E shouldered the responsibility of taking care of her. Although they were very poor, Dou E still wanted to cook delicious dishes for her mother in law with the wish of helping her recovery. One day, she did not have enough money to buy pork but only for a small piece. Backing home, Dou E minced the small piece of pork and stir fried with Chinese vermicelli. When serving this dish, the old lady asked why there were so many ants on it. The ants actually were the minced pork. After explanation, the old lady gave the dish a name as Ants climbing a tree. Nowadays, it has become quite popular in restaurants and daily kitchen.
Please ignore my claypot, it is just a container. You do not need one to make this dish at home.
- 2 brunches of mung bean vermicelli
- 1 cup minced beef or pork
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon Doubanjiang
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon shallot white (white part and green part minced separately)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups water or chicken stock
- Marinade the minced beef or pork with pinch of salt. Soak Chinese vermicelli in warm water until soft around 10 minutes Move out and drain.
- Heat up oil in wok and fry the ground pork until aroma. Transfer out.
- Add doubanjiang, minced garlic, sliced ginger and chopped shallot in wok and stir-fry over medium fire until the oil becomes red and you can smell the aroma. Return pork and add soy sauce. Mix well.
- Pour 2 cup of clean water (or chicken stock is much better ) and bring everything to boil. Add soaked vermicelli and sugar; give a big stir-fry to mix everything well. (There is no need to cook off all the liquid as the vermicelli continues to adsorb liquid after transferring out)
- Sprinkle chopped green onions and serve hot.