Kung Hei Fat Choi!
It's Chinese New Year once again and this year we enter into the lair of the Water Dragon.
A Chinese friend told me that dragons are a very auspicious sign and that many Chinese people will be trying hard to have a baby this year so their little ones will grow up as majestic, strong people.
This dish is a nice new year meal because eating long noodles on the first day of the year is supposed to symbolise prosperity throughout the year and long life in general. It does contain meat though, which isn't traditionally on a new year menu.
And to top it off, the origin of this dish's name is super cute. As SBS Feast Magazine, the source of this awesome dish, explains:
"It is thought a poet bestowed this Szechuan dish with it's name after observing that when the noodles are held up with chopsticks, the bits of meat clinging to it appear like ants climbing a tree."
Ma Yi Shang Shu (Ants Climbing Up A Tree)
Recipe from SBS Feast Magazine Issue #5. Serves 4.
250g minced pork
2 ½ tablespoons salt-reduced soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons Chinese rice wine (shaoxing)
1 ½ tablespoons chilli bean sauce (toban djan)
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
250ml chicken stock
150g vermicelli (mung bean) noodles
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4cm piece ginger, grated
Shredded spring onions, to serve
1. Combine pork, 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice wine, chilli bean sauce and cornflour. Using your hands, knead pork mixture for 5 minutes until a smooth paste. Set aside for 20 minutes.
2. Combine remaining soy sauce and 1 tablespoon rice wine, sugar, sesame oil and stock in a bowl.
3. Soak noodles in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes or until softened. Drain well.
4. Heat peanut oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add pork mixture and brown, breaking up lumps, for 2 minutes.
5. Add noodles and sauce mixture, and stir for 2 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
6. Scatter with spring onions to serve.