Monday, February 14, 2011

Ants Climbing Trees

Not what you expected to see on Valentine's Day, right?  Perhaps you were thinking there would be some lavish meal made for sweethearts, something made with love...decadent and sweet.  But alas, no.  Most of my meals are made with love, so that would be no different on Valentine's Day.  Although..., there is the occasional cursing going through my head, not at a person, but rather the process or my own grandiose ideas.  Chris' Valentine's gift to me is that he is not here.  That came out wrong.  I mean, we have never been big celebrators of this particular holiday.  So, the fact that he is on a romantic golf trip with 3 other guys, only makes my cooking life a lot easier.  No pressure to come up with that 'special' meal.  Just another day in the kitchen.


I thought I'd try something new today. Ants Climbing Trees is supposed to be a spicy Szechuan dish named such for its resemblance to ants (the ground pork) climbing on trees (the bean thread noodles).  However, with my kids' sensitivity to spicy foods, mine will not be as spicy as I would like.  Know that the recipe below is how spicy I'd like the dish to be and that I only actually added a fraction of the chili.


6 oz ground pork
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp rice wine
3/4 tsp sesame oil
6 oz bean thread noodles
1.5 tbsp oil
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1.5 tsp chili bean paste
2 scallions finely chopped for garnish


Combine for cooking sauce:
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1.5 cups chicken stock


Soak bean thread in hot water for 10 minutes until soft.  Drain and cut into long pieces.
Combine pork, soy, wine and sesame oil.


Heat wok over high heat, add oil and stir fry the ground pork, separating it as it cooks until it browns.  Push pork to the side of the wok and add scallions, ginger, garlic and chili paste and fry for a few seconds until fragrant.  Return the pork to the center of the pan and add the sauce mixture and toss to combine.  Add noodles and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium high and cook until almost all liquid is evaporated.  Serve sprinkled with chopped scallions.  

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