Ants on Tree 螞蟻上樹


Continuing from my “Asian food week”. Since I had some chili bean paste left, I decided to make use of it in different recipes.

The origin of this dish:

「螞蟻上樹」其實就是粉絲炒肉末。這道菜的由來據說與元代劇作家關漢卿筆下的人物竇娥有關。

秀才竇天章為上朝應舉,在楚州動身前將女兒竇娥給債主蔡婆婆作童養媳。竇娥在蔡家孝順婆婆,侍候丈夫,日子還算過得去。誰知在她與丈夫成親後不久,丈夫便患疾而亡,婆婆因此病倒在床。
竇娥挑起了家庭的重擔,她在為婆婆請醫求藥之餘,又想方設法變著花樣做些可口的飯菜,為婆婆調養身體,婆婆漸漸地有了好轉。只是因坐吃山空,經濟緊張起來,竇娥只得硬著頭皮去賒賬。在肉案前,賣肉的說:「你前兩次欠的錢都沒有還,今天不能再賒了。」竇娥只得好言相求,賣肉的被纏不過,切了一小塊肉給竇娥。

該做飯了,竇娥想,這麼點肉能做什麼呢?她思索的目光落在了碗櫃頂上,那上面有過年時剩下的一小把粉絲。竇娥靈機一動,她取下粉絲,用開水泡軟,又將肉切成末,加蔥、姜下鍋爆炒,放入醬油、粉絲翻炒片刻,最後加青蒜絲、胡椒粉起鍋。躺在床上的婆婆問:「竇娥,你做的什麼菜這麼香?」「是炒粉絲。」隨著話音,竇娥便將菜端到了床前,婆婆在動筷子之前,發現粉絲上有許多黑點子,她咪著老花眼問:「這上面怎麼有這麼多螞蟻?」當她知道其中原委,並動筷子嘗了一口後,不由得連連誇讚,還說,這道菜乾脆就叫「螞蟻上樹」吧!

食譜:螞蟻上樹 – 地圖日記 http://www.atlaspost.com/landmark-706040-bbs-2.htm#ixzz1MWaR2Ewe
(網址連回本文)

The gist of the above:
The dish was said to be related to Dou-er (竇娥), a character in Guan Hanqing (關漢卿)’s play (Yuan Dynasty). Dou-er was given to Mrs. Cai (Dou-er’s father’s creditor) as a child bride. Unfortunately Dou-er’s husband passed away shortly after they were married. Dou-er’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Cai, became ill due to her son’s death. Dou-er was left to take charge in the house. They were strapped for money (due to Mrs. Cai’s medical expenses and no income), but Dou-er tried to be creative with her cooking so that her mother-in-law had healthy meals and she had to start buying food on credit. One day, the butcher refused to sell her any more meat, but Dou-er managed to persuade him to give her a tiny piece of pork. She had no idea what she was going to do with this tiny piece of meat. She soaked some bean noodle in water, minced the meat and fried it with some green onions and ginger, added in the noodles with some soy sauce, garlic, and white pepper. Mrs. Cai’s eye sight was deteriorating, when she saw the dish, she asked, “what is this delicious-smelling dish? Why are there so many ants on this dish?” She thought it was delicious and said, “let’s call this dish Ants on Tree (螞蟻上樹).”

Recipe translated from http://www.atlaspost.com/landmark-706040-bbs-2.htm.

Ingredients:
Bean noodles/Glass noodles, 75g
Lean ground pork, 110g
Green onions, chopped, 2tbsp
Ginger, minced, 1 tbsp
Garlic, minced, 1 tbsp
Chili bean paste, 1 tbsp
Soy sauce, 1 tsp
Sugar, 1/4 tsp
Water, 1 cup
Sesame oil, 2 tsp
Canola oil, 4 tbsp

Instructions:

  1. Soak the bean noodles in warm water, for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Fry the ground pork in canola oil, with high heat.
  3. Make sure the ground pork is separated well. Add ginger, garlic and chili bean sauce. Mix. Add water and sugar. Bring the mixture to boil.
  4. Add the noodles. Simmer and cook. Stir occasionally to prevent noodles from sticking.
  5. Cook until liquid has been soaked up by noodles/when noodles are completely transparent. Add green onions and sesame oil before serving.

Pretty easy dish. Quick too. Caution: don’t add to much chili bean paste, you might start with less than 1 tbsp and then add more after tasting.

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