Ma Yi Shang Shu, Spicy Sichuan

A classic Sichuan dish known for its spicy and savoury flavour.

Approx 25 – 30 mins

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons water (to thicken the sauce)

For the Noodles:

  • 170g ground beef (or pork)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns (adjust to your spice tolerance)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Sichuan chilli bean paste (doubanjiang), depending on your spice preference
  • 125ml chicken stock
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 225g dried mung bean glass noodles (also called cellophane noodles or vermicelli)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chopped fresh coriander for garnish (optional)
  1. Prepare the Sauce: In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, and sesame oil. Set aside. Mix the cornflour with water in a separate bowl.
  2. Cook the Noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the dried mung bean glass noodles and cook according to the package instructions (usually 4-6 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  3. Brown the Meat: Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and heat until it starts to shimmer.
  4. Add the ground pork or beef and stir-fry until it begins to brown, breaking it apart with a spatula as it cooks.
  5. Add Aromatics and Spices: Add the minced garlic, minced ginger, and Sichuan peppercorns to the meat. Stir-fry for another minute or until fragrant.
  6. Add the Sichuan chilli bean paste (doubanjiang) and continue to stir-fry for another minute or two until the oil turns red and the mixture is well combined.
  7. Combine Sauce and stock: Pour the sauce mixture into the wok and stir to coat the meat and spices.
  8. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it cook for a couple of minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
  9. Thicken the Sauce: Stir the cornflour mixture to recombine, then pour it into the wok. Stir until the sauce thickens.
  10. Add Noodles and Finish: Add the cooked mung bean glass noodles to the wok and toss to coat them evenly with the sauce.
  11. Add chopped green onions and stir-fry for an additional minute or until everything is well combined.
  12. Serve: Garnish with chopped fresh coriander if desired.
Per serving

Calories: 450-500 calories per serving

Protein: 20-25 g per serving

Carbohydrates: 45-50 g per serving

Total Fat: 20-25 g per serving

Saturated Fat: 5-7 g per serving

In this recipe:

Ma Yi Shang Shu, also known as ‘ants climbing a tree’, is a classic Sichuan dish known for its spicy and savoury flavour. Despite the name, there are no actual ants in the dish; the name refers to the visual appearance of minced meat clinging to the cooked noodles, resembling ants climbing a tree.

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