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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ants climbing a tree (Ma Yi Shang Shu) (Chinese)

A classic Sichuan dish (which means you can expect it to be quite spicy), ants climbing a tree really has a funny name. It allegedly comes from the ground pork meat which coats the long noodles in the dish, resembling ants slowly creeping on logs. Actually, the translation of the Chinese name of the dish (Ma Yi Shang Shu) can vary between multiple forms, including "ants creeping up a tree". :)

This quick and pretty easy to make dish is perfect even for busy weeknights, and if you make it yourself it will definitely be healthier and more delicious than take-out versions. Actually, even though ants in a tree is many people's takeout favorite, it is also among the easiest Chinese take ou dishes to make at home, so you should really consider saving yourself the money (and food additives) and just make it yourself. It won't take you much longer than waiting for the food delivery, I promise (especially if you use pre-cut veggies, either frozen or from the jar).

I love this dish mainly because of the glass noodles (which I'd have with almost anything), and usually, alternate between this traditional pork version and a chicken version. Enjoy the recipe. 
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: Radish, smoked salmon and orange salad (raw).
Two years ago: Asparagus, mint and lemon risotto
Three years ago: Elder-flower-rum cream tartelettes with raspberries.
Four years ago: Salmon Smorrebrod (Danish)Upside-down banana cake with raisins and walnuts and Chinese-style pork sesame balls.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 200 g glass noodles (mung bean noodles)
  • 300 g ground pork meat
  • 1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
  • 50 g white cabbage, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 white onion, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons rice oil
  • a thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoons chili paste
  • salt and Sichuan pepper to taste

Place the noodles in boiling water and let sit until they soften.

Heat canola oil in a  wok over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook it until browned, 5–7 minutes.

Add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add paste, light soy, wine, and stock; bring to a boil. Add noodles; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, 8–10 minutes more, and stir in the soy sauce. Transfer to serving plates and it's done, dig in!

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