Ants Climbing a Tree

This fried dish is made from mung bean noodles (also known as bean thread noodles or Chinese vermicelli). These thin noodles don't need to be boiled, just soaked in water, after which they become become soft and translucent. They make an interesting change from the usual wheat flour noodles. Now, about that name: the bits of minced meat are meant to stick to the noodle strands, and that, so they say, looks like ants crawling through the branches of a tree. Fanciful maybe, but easy to remember.

Serves 4 to 6

200g (7 oz) mung bean noodles
200g (7 oz) lean minced pork
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 – 2 tablespoons chilli sauce
1 teaspoon corn flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
3 stalks spring onions, sliced into small pieces
1/2 cup chicken stock
Garnish: cilantro or spring onions


Add soy sauce, rice wine, chilli sauce, and corn flour to a bowl. Mix in pork and marinate for 30 minutes.
Soak the noodles in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain.
Heat the wok, and add the oil. Cook the pork mixture over a high heat for 2 minutes. Add spring onions and cook until pork is browned.
Add chicken stock, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes, stirring well.
Add noodles to wok. Stir until noodles and sauce are blended well together and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Garnish and serve.

Complementary Wines: Beer, Cider, Riesling: Late Harvest, Sangiovese

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