Ants Climbing a Tree 蚂蚁上树


4 ounces transparent bean thread noodles (also known as cellophane noodles 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 chillie and 1 teaspoon chillie sauce, or 1 tablespoon chillie 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 chillie 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 chillie pepper and ginger. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic. Add the dried mushrooms. Stir-fry briefly, then stir in the chillie 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.

To add authenticity you can quickly fry a few threads of the noodles, they will bubble up. These are then placed into the dish before serving and give the appearance of sticks for the ants to climb.