It is thought a poet bestowed this Szechuan dish with its name after observing that when the noodles are held up with chopsticks, the bits of meat clinging to it appear like ants climbing up a tree. Pork mince and vermicelli (mung bean) noodles are flavoured with chilli bean sauce, Chinese rice wine and ginger.
- 250 g minced pork
- 2½ tbsp salt-reduced soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp Chinese rice wine (see Note)
- 1½ tbsp chilli bean sauce (toban djan) (see Note)
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
- 150 g vermicelli (mung bean) noodles (see Note)
- 2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 cm piece ginger, grated
- shredded spring onions, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 20 minutes
Drink 2011 Best’s Great Western Riesling, $25.
Combine pork, 1½ tbsp soy, 2 tsp rice wine, chilli bean sauce and cornflour. Using your hands, knead pork mixture for 5 minutes until a smooth paste. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Combine remaining 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp rice wine, sugar, sesame oil and stock in a bowl. Soak noodles in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes or until softened. Drain well.
Heat peanut oil in a wok over medium–high heat. Add garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add pork mixture and brown, breaking up lumps, for 2 minutes. Add noodles and soy mixture, and stir for 2 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Scatter with spring onions to serve.
• Shaoxing is from selected supermarkets and Asian food shops. Substitute dry sherry
• Chilli bean sauce (toban djan) is from selected supermarkets and Asian food shops
• Vermicelli (mung bean) noodles are also known as cellophane or bean thread noodles.
Photography by Brett Stevens.
As seen in Feast magazine, Jan 2012, Issue 5.