Chinese sure does like to name their dishes in a unique way. Most of the time it’s a “literal” translation of what it visually looks like. This ants climbing a tree dish is one of the example. Fret not, there is no ants involved. This classic Szechuan dish is named as such because of how to the ground meat clings to the noodles. It resembles ants climbing a tree. Why not other bugs you would ask, why ants ? well, I honestly not sure about that part.
This ants climbing a tree is a noodle dish prepared with ground meat (usually pork, but feel free to use ground beef or even ground turkey) stir-fried in spicy chili bean paste. Super easy to prepare but really delicious. As one of the characteristic of Szechuan dish, this noodle dish is spicy, but you can tone it down if you need to. Next time if someone ask you “what are you cooking today?” You can tell them “ants climbing a tree” and let him/her think a little bit! Ha!
- 8 oz of dried bean thread noodles (soak in water until soft)
- 1½ cups of ground meat (can be pork, beef, or turkey)
- 3 stalks of spring onion (finely chopped)
- 2-inch slice of ginger (finely chopped)
- 1-2 Tbsp of chili bean paste (a bit more if you like it spicier, but tone down on the soy sauce because it is salty)
- 2 Tbsp of soy sauce or more to taste
- 1 Tbsp of sugar
- 2 cups of water
- 3 Tbsp of grape seed oil or oil of your choice
- Preheat a wok or large skillet. Add in oil. Add in the ground meat and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add in the chili bean paste and ginger and stir to mix everything. Add in the soy sauce, sugar, and water. Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat to let it simmer until the water is almost all evaporated. Remove and transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chopped spring onion. Serve immediately. You can cut the noodles into shorter length with kitchen shears for easier eating (especially for little kids)