Ants in A Tree (recipe)

Ants in A Tree (Recipe)

I first learnt of this recipe via Sara Moulton‘s excellent (and now defunct) Food Network series “Sara’s Secrets”. It was my first introduction to the culinary history of Singapore, and I’ve been hooked on learning as much as I can ever since. Much like Trinidad Singapore has been a melting pot of cultures, and these influences are reflected in the local cuisine.
This particular dish, Ants in a Tree, gets its name cos the ground meat separates to resemble ants, against the cellophane noodles. Now, I hate ants but I give this dish two thumbs up! The original recipe used pork, but I substituted with ground beef. Ground chicken would also be quite delightful I’d wager :)

Ants In A Tree

SERVINGS: 8
SOURCE: Sara Moulton Cooks at Home
INGREDIENTS:

Kosher salt
1 lb. cellophane noodles (bean threads) or angel hair pasta
2 lb. ground meat
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1.33 tablespoons cornstarch
12 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
3/8 cups vegetable oil
2 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
8 cloves, garlic minced
2 tablespoons Asian chile paste
4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
1 1/3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
Freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
2) Add the noodles and bring back to a boil.
3) Boil for 1 minute for cellophane noodles and 2 to 3 minutes for angel hair pasta.
4) Drain in a colander and rinse under running water. Set aside.
5) Stir the meat with 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, the sesame oil, the cornstarch, and 1/2 of the scallions in a small bowl.
6) Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat until almost smoking.
7) Add the ginger, garlic, and chile paste.
8) Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

9) Add the meat mixture and cook for 1 minute longer.
10) Stir in the cabbage and the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce.
11) Cook, stirring, until the cabbage is almost wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
12) Add the cooked noodles and cook, cutting them slightly with the side of the spatula, until the meat is no longer pink, about 1 minute.
13) Pour in the chicken stock and add the remaining scallions.
14) Season with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to medium-low.
15) Cover loosely with foil and simmer until the noodles have absorbed some of the stock, about 3 minutes

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Passionate foodie, founder of Trinigourmet and Caribbean Lifestyle Maven. Author of "Glam By Request: 30+ Easy Caribbean Recipes"

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  • http://lilandra.com/blog Lilandra

    does she have any shows anymore?
    i’ve always loved her show and cooking live before
    i like watching her…i mean the info she gives

    man! that just sucks … hmph!

  • http://lilandra.com/blog Lilandra

    does she have any shows anymore?
    i’ve always loved her show and cooking live before
    i like watching her…i mean the info she gives

    man! that just sucks … hmph!

  • http://laurelsfoodwriter.blogspot.com Marsha

    That looks really good Nikki
    I think Sara’s show went off because the format was a little too bland for viewers

  • http://laurelsfoodwriter.blogspot.com Marsha

    That looks really good Nikki
    I think Sara’s show went off because the format was a little too bland for viewers

  • Melanie

    hi–I have heard gossip that Sara Molton may be opening an interesting sandwich shop in the East Village in New York City–

  • Melanie

    hi–I have heard gossip that Sara Molton may be opening an interesting sandwich shop in the East Village in New York City–

  • http://www.tasteslikehome.org Cynthia

    Rice noodles are my favourite cooked any way.

  • http://www.tasteslikehome.org Cynthia

    Rice noodles are my favourite cooked any way.

  • http://usanthony.blogspot.com/ Anthony Taurus

    OMG DELICIOUS… you got my vote.

    Those other guys.. pfft. Okra. I HATE OKRA. LOL.

  • http://usanthony.blogspot.com/ Anthony Taurus

    OMG DELICIOUS… you got my vote.

    Those other guys.. pfft. Okra. I HATE OKRA. LOL.

  • http://baltimoresnacker.blogspot.com John

    It looks delicious! I’d probably use either beef or pork. As for Sara Moulton: yes, she was as dull as a doornail. But a good cook? Yes. Her show was better than some of the useless shows on the Food Network today. (Does Guy Fieri really need three shows? Really?)

  • http://baltimoresnacker.blogspot.com John

    It looks delicious! I’d probably use either beef or pork. As for Sara Moulton: yes, she was as dull as a doornail. But a good cook? Yes. Her show was better than some of the useless shows on the Food Network today. (Does Guy Fieri really need three shows? Really?)

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Lilandra, Marsha – Sara ruled.

    Melanie – That would be interesting! Let me know more if you find out :)

    Cynthia – Most definitely! :)

    Anthony – awww poor lil okra :)

    John – I was about to complain about Guy Fieri, but you took the words right out of my mouth.. ack!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Lilandra, Marsha – Sara ruled.

    Melanie – That would be interesting! Let me know more if you find out :)

    Cynthia – Most definitely! :)

    Anthony – awww poor lil okra :)

    John – I was about to complain about Guy Fieri, but you took the words right out of my mouth.. ack!

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