Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ants Climbing a Tree (螞蟻上樹)

Wow, i can't believe we're already on to the Tiger year! Sheesh, time sure does fly... To me, this only means that i'll be leaping onto my 3rd round of Rabbit year very very soon (24 years old: that's when my mom gave birth to my brother, eeek!). So anyways, it's been 5 years since I've properly spent my CNY. By properly, i mean: visiting the whole family tree, screaming baby cousins, hot pots, new year snacks, fireworks, and of course, Hong Baos (red envolopes). And even with a short description of my own CNY experience, i'm sure you can probably figure what a big deal CNY is for us. It's the equivalent of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New years added together. We've got tons of food like Thanksgiving, family reunions and gifts [aka money] like Christmas, and countdowns + fireworks like New years. It's an all-in-one celebration, really-- appropriately reflecting the cheapo, 怕麻煩 (hassle-phobic), yet generous Asian spirit, hahaha. Oh, how i miss it!

So this brings me to today's recipe: Ants Climbing a Tree. In simple food terms, it's cellophane noodles cooked with ground pork. People thought the tangled meat between the noddles looked like ants on a tree bark, so that's how it got its fancy name. This recipe is so easy that, seriously, nothing can go wrong. All you need is a jar of black bean sauce and you've got yourself an instant magic-maker. So for those who still haven't set up a Chinese New Year menu yet, i'm sure this will make a lovely addition to your dinner table. Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Ants Climbing a Tree (螞蟻上樹)
4 servings
  • 150 grams dried cellophane noodles (aka bean thread noodles, glass noodles, crystal noodles, Chinese vermicelli) (4 portions)
  • 400 grams ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • Red chilis, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black bean sauce (豆辦醬)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons spring onions, chopped
  1. Soak the cellophane noodles in warm water until soft, about 10 minutes. Cut the noodles in half or quarters with a pair of scissors for shorter length [picture 1]. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a wok over high heat, then add the ground pork and stir-fry until it has changed color and nearly cooked.
  3. Add in the ginger, garlic, red chilis (optional), and black bean sauce [picture 2]. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the water, soy sauce, and sugar. Cook until it comes to a boil [picture 3].
  5. Once the sauce is boiling, add in the noodles and turn down the heat to low [picture 4]. Continue to stir-fry until all the liquid has been absorbed by the noodles. The noodles should look thick, clear, and glossy.
  6. Add in the spring onions and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and give it a good toss.
  7. Garnish with more spring onions right before serving.

Ants Climbing a Tree (螞蟻上樹)


  1. That sounds VERY yummy. I love cellophane noodles more than any noodle in the noodle family. But then again, I'm a big rice fan so my mom likes to, ever so fondly, call me a rice bucket. BOO!

    Anyway. HAPPPPYYY LUNAR NEW YEAR TO YOU! :) I hope this year will be even better than the last with good luck with happy thoughts floating around :)

    Gong Xi Fa Cai!

  2. Happy New Year to you! And thank you for once again introducing me to a recipe I didn't know about! Btw, don't worry: 24 isn't so bad - 25 was kind of a shocker for me, though. :-)

  3. Both recipes (Ant climbing a tree and Chinese chive box) are awesome! I`m so glad I`ve found your Blog! Happy Tiger year! (is that what you say?)

  4. Oh this is awesome! I always order the ants climbing a tree when I see it ona menu - now I can make it at home. thanks so much for this one!!

  5. Happy New Year!! Gong Xi Fa Chai. Sorry for the late wish :D Wish you a happy, healthy and lots and lots of new recipes for this year.

  6. @hfng: long time no see! thanks for the new years and 100th post wishes. May you also have a prosperous year with your photography!

  7. Yeah it has been awhile! Will try to drop by more often and to check your mouth watering recipes:D Boy, I wish I can just print your photos and eat them. Thanks for the wishes!

  8. wow yummy

    This is truly amazing I like the work that you have done

  9. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I look forward to trying it out...
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