Ants Climbing a tree, also called Ants Climbing Up a Tree or Ants Climb Tree, is a Sichuan dish consisting of ground meat that is cooked in a sauce and served over bean thread noodles. The Chinese dish gets its name by the bits of pork stuck to the noodles which resemble the appearance of ants climbing up a twig.
Ingredients and Preparation
Ground pork, bean thread noodles, rice wine vinegar, vegetable oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, scallions and chili paste are the ingredients typically used to make the dish. Mushrooms, corn starch, granulated sugar, and chili sauce or red chili pepper are also included in many recipes.
To make the dish, rice wine, soy sauce, hot bean paste and corn starch are mixed together, and the ground pork is marinated in this mixture. The noodles are soaked in hot water so that they soften. If dried mushrooms such as shiitake mushrooms are used, they too are pre-soaked in water and the mushroom soaking liquid is included as an ingredient in the sauce later on. The pork mixture is cooked over high heat with onions, garlic, ginger and mushrooms by stir frying. After this chicken stock is added, and the contents are cooked by simmering for some time and then softened noodles are added in, stirring till the noodles and sauce blend well and the cooking liquid is absorbed by the noodles.
Ants Climbing a Tree is served hot, with a garnish of spring onions or cilantro. It can be served as a quick one-dish meal.
Many variations to the basic noodle dish exist. Some people use soba noodles or other forms of noodles instead of transparent bean thread noodles. Different types of additional vegetables can also be included.
Ants Climbing a Log, Ants Climbing a Hill and Ants Creeping up a Tree are other names for Ants Climbing a Tree.