We westerners have an ongoing love affair with Chinese food. Dishes such as Sweet and Sour Pork, Beef and Broccoli and Kung Pao Chicken have become firm favourites across the western world. The difficulty with this popularity is that the dishes tend to become westernised. The process of westernisation invariably takes the edge off the dish. Over time and repeated modification, to suit a jaded and flaccid western palate, it becomes a pale imitation of the original. Happily, we have not got around to ruining the delicious Sichuan dish called Ants Climbing a Tree. This is probably because we are put off by the name and have never taken it far enough to mess it up with bad cooking, fructose and preservatives.
This is a very simple and tasty dish and well worthy of its position on my Easy Oriental listing. To prepare it, you will need the following:
- 500 grammes of minced, good quality pork
- Four servings of vermicelli noodles
- 500 ml of chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of spicy bean paste
- A few slices of ginger, shredded
- 8 to 10 spring onions
- Lard or oil for frying
Side note on dish naming: This dish is supposed to resemble ants climbing up a tree, the pieces of minced pork being the ants and the sliced spring onions being the leaves of the noodle tree. A very simple, yet creative name. Most great creative is simple.
Chop the spring onions.
Soak the noodles in hot water to soften and drain. Heat some lard or oil in a wok. Add the ginger and stir until aromatic. Add the pork and brown it a bit. Add the paste and stir it in to the pork.
Next, add the soy sauce and then stir in the sliced spring onions. Then add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
This will finish cooking the pork and there will be a nice sauce to be absorbed by the noodles.
Stir everything to combine. Serve and enjoy with your friends or family.