23 December 2015

Ants Climbing Trees (Vermicelli with Spicy Minced Pork)

Chinese name: 蚂蚁上树 (mǎ yǐ shàng shù)
Style: Sichuan(Szechuan) Cuisine
Characteristics: Ants Climbing Trees is bright in color. The vermicelli in it appears glittering and translucent alongside brown ground pork and tastes soft and fresh after being fried and stir-fried.

Also named Ants Creeping on Trees or Ants Climbing a Hill, Ants Climbing Trees, namely vermicelli with ground pork, is a very flavorsome Szechuan dish. The stir-fried ground pork attached on the glittering and translucent vermicelli, looks just like ants climbing on trees, hence its name.
Vermicelli with Spicy Minced Pork

vermicelli, 100 g
ground pork, 50 g
broad bean paste
chicken essence (chicken stock/bouillon) or monosodium glutamate
cooking wine
green onion
ground chili
Note: the amount of the ingredients especially the seasonings listed above can be appropriately used according to one's personal taste.
Ingredients of Vermicelli

  Step 1: Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add some cooking oil and heat to 70 degrees centigrade (158 degrees Fahrenheit). Pour in the vermicelli and stir it well with the cooking ladle until every piece of vermicelli is well fried. Remove the vermicelli out of the wok when it turns white.
Fry Vermicelli

  Step 2: Leave some cooking oil in the wok, swirling to coat the sides. Add in the broad bean paste and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add in ground pork and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add in chopped green onion, ginger and garlic, ground chili, cooking wine and a little water. Stew it for about 1 minute on high heat.
Stir-fry Ground Pork

  Step 3: Add in the fried vermicelli, stir-fry it for about 2 minutes until all of the vermicelli turns soft and immersed in the liquid. Add in chicken essence and stir-fry for 10 seconds.
Sti-fry Vermicelli
  Step 4: Ants Climbing Trees is cooked. Turn off the heat. Remove it out of the wok and put onto a porcelain plate prepared in advance. Finally take it to the dinning table.
Vermicelli with Spicy Minced Pork Completed

Legend about Ants Climbing Trees (Vermicelli with Spicy Minced Pork)
In order to sit for a higher civil service examination in the capital city, Dou Tianzhang, a scholar of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), sold his daughter Dou E to his creditor Mrs Cai to be her future daughter-in-law. Dou E was attentive to her husband and her mother-in-law in Cai's home. Unluckily, her husband died of illness soon after their marriage, and Mrs Cai also got sick in bed with a sudden attack after her son's death. Dou E's peaceful life was broken, and she had to shoulder the responsibility of the family. She tried her best to cook all sorts of tasty food for Mrs Cai, while consulting doctors for her. Due to her good care, Mrs Cai's health was improved step by step.

However, Dou E's family's money became tight because of doing nothing but sitting and eating. She had to force herself to buy food on credit. Coming to the butcher's shop, the butcher refused to extend credit any longer, since Dou E had already bought meat on credit twice at his shop. After Dou E's pleading and begging, the butcher cut a small chunk of pork for her. Thinking of what to do with so little pork, Dou E went back home, and glanced a wisp of vermicelli. She placed the vermicelli in a bowl filled with boiling water to make it soft, and then chopped the pork. Finally, she stir-fried the chopped pork with ginger, green onion and soy sauce, and then added in the soaked vermicelli to be stir-fried together.

'What are you cooking? It smells so delicious' Mrs Cai asked surprisingly when Dou E finished her cooking. 'Just stir-fry vermicelli.' Dou E answered and took the dish to Mrs Cai who found that there were many black spots on the vermicelli. 'Why are so many ants on the vermicelli?' Mrs Cai asked again. After getting the truth from Dou E, Mrs Cai had a taste and praised it a lot. Later it was given the name Ants Climbing Trees.

 Our Guests Enroll in the Cooking Class:
On May 24, 2010, Ms. Hawhwa Cheng visited a local Chinese family in Xian during her China tour arranged by Travelchinaguide, through which she didn't only have more knowledge about the Chinese people's daily life, but also learned to cook a famous Chinese dish named Ants Climbing Trees (Vermicelli with Spicy Minced Pork) from the hostess.