If you enjoy cooking with a Wok here’s an authentic Szechuan dish that you’ll want to try. This dish is known by several names Ants Climbing a Hill, Ants Climbing a Log, Ants Creeping up a Tree or Ants Climbing a Tree. We’re going to go with Ants Climbing a Tree.
Ants Climbing a Tree
- 4 ounces transparent bean thread noodles (also known also vermicelli or glass noodles)
- 5 dried Shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Pinch of cornstarch
- 1 small red chili pepper and 1 teaspoon chili sauce, or 1 tablespoon chili sauce
- 2 slices ginger
- 2 green onions
- Without removing the string wrapping around the transparent noodles, soak in hot water until they are pliable (about 5 minutes). Drain well.
- Cut the noodles into shorter lengths and then remove the string wrapping.
- Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water to soften. Reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid, straining it if necessary to remove any grit.
- Cut the mushrooms into thin slices.
- (Note: if you don’t want to use mushroom soaking liquid, substitute 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth).
- Add the marinade ingredients to the ground pork, adding the cornstarch last. Marinate the pork for 15 minutes.
- If using the chili pepper, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and chop coarsely.
- Finely chop the ginger.
- Cut the green onion on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.
- Heat the wok over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the heated wok.
- Add the marinated pork. Stir-fry until the pork has changed color and is nearly cooked through.
- Remove from the wok. Clean out the wok. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the wok.
- Add the chili pepper and ginger. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic.
- Add the dried mushrooms. Stir-fry briefly, then stir in the chili sauce and the noodles.
- Add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid in the middle of the wok.
- Return the ground pork to the pan.
- Stir in the green onion.
- Mix everything together and cook briefly.
- Make sure the pork is cooked through before serving.