I certainly wouldn't say the best thing about this dish is its strange name, but it rather cute. You have a pile of glass noodles (branches), mixed with spicy minced pork (the ants) and garnished with spring onion (the leaves). It's incredibly morish and very quick to boot. I used up the last of my chilli bean paste for this dish, which I was so keen to use up before I leave Australia. It has since become one of my favourite ingredients, and I am considering buying just one more jar so I can make this dish again.
There are so many different slightly different recipes to choose from when making this. As per usual, I defaulted to using Sunflower's Food Galore blog. The first time I made this dish I used about 1 and a half time the amount of meat, also upping the mince flavouring ingredients, because it needed using. After having tried it both ways, I think I prefer the version with less meat- it feels more balanced.
*Update- 26/10/15- I made this recipe after not having made it for a while, and have updated this post with a nicer photo than before.
100g dried glass noodles/cellophane noodles/ mung bean noodles (all the same thing, but it can be labelled under different names)
2 - 3 tbsp cooking oil2 - 3 cloves garlic, chopped1 tbsp of chopped ginger2 tbsp chilli bean sauce/paste, more or less to your taste 120 - 150 g minced pork1/2 - 1 tbsp light soy sauce1 - 2 tsp sugar (optional)1 stick of celery cut into very fine strips 1 chilli, deseeded and chopped
180ml cup chicken or pork stock or water 2 stalks of spring onions
Soak the noodles in warm water until soft, about 15 minutes, and then drain. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, and stir fry the ginger and garlic for a few seconds until fragrant, and then add the chilli bean paste. Cook for a few more seconds, stirring the whole time, and then add the pork mince. Continue to stir fry the mix, breaking up the pork mince as best you can. Season with the sugar and soy,and add the chilli. Stir in the celery and cook for about 30 seconds more. Mix in the noodles, and pour the stock/water into the pan. Give it a quick stir, and leave to cook on a high heat until all the liquid is absorbed. Serve straight away with the chopped spring onion sprinkled on top.