Ants in a Tree

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound cellophane noodles (also called bean threads)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chile oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock


Note: make sure you have all of the ingredients laid out on the counter and measured out because this dish cooks up fast.

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and bring back to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse under running water. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the pork with 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, the sesame oil, the cornstarch, and 1/2 of the scallions.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Add the ginger, garlic, and chile paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the pork mixture and cook for 1 minute longer.

5. Stir in the cabbage and the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Cook, stirring, until the cabbage is almost wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Add the cooked noodles and cook until the pork is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Pour in the chicken stock and add the remaining scallions.

7. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover loosely with foil and simmer until the noodles have absorbed some of the stock, about 3 minutes