Saturday, 10 April 2010

Ants Climbing on Trees

Ants Climbing on Trees - Easter Dinner

I've been absolutely fascinated by this dish ever since I saw it in my sister's copy of The Food of China by Murdoch Books (I love cookery books with lots of photographs, the more the better). The dish itself is pretty simple ... fried noodles with mince but it's the imagination behind it that I love. The noodles being the spindly branches of a tree, red ants with their fiery bite represented by the mince coated in stinging chili bean paste and I even added foliage to my tree with the addition of slices choy sum.

Ants Climbing on Trees - Easter Dinner

Ants Climbing on Trees
Serves 2

250g mung bean thread noodles, soaked and ready to cook
100g minced pork
small bundle of choy sum, sliced
heaped dessert spoonful of chili bean paste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely sliced
a small handful of coriander, finely sliced
splash of oil
splash of soy sauce
splash of oyster sauce
light drizzle of sesame oil
  • Heat a wok (large pan) over a medium meat. Add the oil and allow it to heat until it smokes (or thereabouts). Add the mince to the wok/pan in small batches to allow even browning. If too much liquid is released from the meat whilst cooking and like me you get too impatient for it to cook off, tip the meat and liquid into a strainer. Once the most of the liquid has been strained, return the meat to the wok/pan and let it sizzle to a nice light golden brown colour.
  • Add the garlic to the meat. Allow the garlic to work it's magic in the heat - once there's a delicious aroma of cooking garlic (mind you burnt garlic is not an enticing smell), add the choy sum. Stalks first followed by the more tender leaves. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili bean paste and sesame oil. Toss to mix evenly. If it looks a little too dry, add a little water.
  • Once the vegetables have wilted slightly, add the noodles to the wok/pan. Give it a good toss to ensure the noodles are mixed in properly. Taste - add more soy sauce/oyster sauce/sesame oil/chili bean paste if you think it necessary.
  • Serve with a sprinkling of spring onion and coriander.

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