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Ants Climbing A Tree

  • Yield: 2 to 3 servings


  • 4 ounces bean threads (glass noodles)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork butt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
  • 6 to 8 tablespoon thin cut green and white scallion rings
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons Chinese chili sauce
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup tiny fresh carrot cubes
  • Dash of Chinese Sesame oil


  • Remove the outer wrapper from the noodles, but leave the rubber hands or string binding them intact. Soak in warm or hot tap water, until rubber-band fits firmly. Once pliable, cut through the loop ends of the skin with scissors to cut the noodles into manageable lengths, then cut and discard the rubber bands or strings. Do not oversoak the noodles. Drain well. The noodles may be refrigerated covered with cool water or sealed in an airtight container. Blend the soy, wine, and cornstarch until smooth in the food processor fitted with the steel knife. Distribute the pork around the blade, then pulse several times to blend. Alternatively, stir the marinade ingredients until smooth, then combine with the pork by hand, stirring in one direction until blended. Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate until use, or overnight if desired. Bring to room temperature before stir-frying. Put the ginger, scallion, and chili sauce on a plate. Combine the stock and soy, taste and season with salt if required.
  • About 10 to 15 minutes before serving, arrange all the ingredients within easy reach of your stovetop, and put a serving platter of contrasting color in a low oven to warm. Heat a wok or a large, heavy skillet over high heat until hot enough to evaporate a bead of water on contact. Add the vegetable oil, and swirl to glaze the pan. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle one bit of ginger, add the scallion, ginger, and chili sauce, and stir until fragrant, about 10 seconds, adjusting the heat so the mixture foams without browning. Add the pork and stir briskly, tossing and chopping the meat to break it into tiny bits. Adjust the heat to maintain a sizzle, and dribble in a bit more oil from the side of the pan if the meat is sticking. When the pork is gray, add the stock mixture and bring the mixxture to a boil, stirring often. Add the noodles, stir gently to coat, then add the carrots and stir to mix. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cover the pan. Simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes, then remove the cover and turn off the heat. Stir the contents of the pan once or twice, sprinkle with sesame oil, and stir to mix. Remove the mixture to the heated platter and serve at once, while the noodles are steaming, slippery, and fragrant.