Ants Climbing a Tree (ma yi shang shu – 蚂蚁上树) is a classic Sichuan dish consisting of glass noodles in a delicious sauce with ground pork. It has a weird and not-all-that-appetizing name, and the person who gave the dish that name was definitely an impressionist with a sense of humor.
They saw the glass noodles as tree branches, the chopped scallion as tree leaves, and the little bits of ground meat as the ants. I’m not sure I see the same image, but I’m grateful for this dish. It’s so easy to make, and it tastes absolutely fantastic.
One thing to remember when cooking Ants Climbing a Tree is that the glass noodles will soak up the sauce very quickly. If you like having more sauce, you can increase the amount of chicken stock by up to 1 cup. The dish is usually pretty saucy at restaurants, but I personally like it a little bit “dry,” wherein the noodles have soaked up most of the sauce, and they maintain a slightly chewy texture. Feel free to increase the amount of stock according to your own preferences!
Oh, and one last point in case you are new to our site and weren’t aware, Sichuan cuisine (also spelled as Szechuan cuisine) is spicy hot!
Ants Climbing a Tree: Recipe Instructions
Soak the dry vermicelli/glass noodles in cold water for 10 minutes. Rinse, drain and set aside. In a wok over medium heat, add the oil and minced ginger. Cook the ginger for about a minute, and add the spicy fermented bean sauce/paste.
Let that cook for another minute, and then add the ground pork (or chicken). Stir-fry until the meat is cooked through.
Add the chicken stock, sugar, dark soy sauce, and light soy sauce.
Bring everything to boil. Once boiling, add the glass noodles and scallions.
Quickly stir everything together for 1-2 minutes. Serve alone, or with steamed rice!
Seriously. How easy was that?
Other spicy recipes from the Sichuan region include Chongqing Chicken, Sichuan Three Pepper Chicken, and Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans.