There are a good reasons why rice is at the heart of Eastern cuisine, says Author and Indian cookery expert Nisha Katona who serves up a delicious alternative to spag bol with this recipe for ants climbing trees

  • 4
  • Medium
I cook this at least once a week. If I have minced/ground meat in the refrigerator, I’m usually inclined to head East before I get to spaghetti bolognaise and this is frequently where I end up, a fragrant, umami minced/ground meat and noodle tangle, the look of which gives the dish its evocative name.

Ingredients

  • 125g minced/ground pork
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce (plus another ½ tsp)
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (plus another ½ tsp)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 125g fine rice noodles
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm/1in piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped, green parts reserved and sliced
  • 1 tsp chilli bean paste
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 240ml chicken stock

Method

1 Mix the pork with ½ teaspoon of light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon of Shaoxing rice wine and ½ a teaspoon of sesame oil. Soak the noodles in hot water for 10 minutes until limp, then drain.

2 Heat a wok over a high heat and add the sunflower oil. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 10 seconds. Add the pork and stir-fry, mashing and separating it. It needs to brown and this should take around 10 minutes. Now add the spring onions and chilli paste and stir-fry for a few seconds.

3 Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing rice wine, ½ a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, salt, sugar and the chicken stock. Pour the sauce into the meat and toss the ingredients together well.

4 Add the noodles to the meat sauce mix and return the dish to a medium/high heat. It needs to boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 5 minutes until the noodles become soft and infused with flavour. Most of the liquid will need to evaporate.

5 Serve sprinkled with the sliced spring onion and coriander.

• Extracted from Pimp My Rice by Nisha Katona, published by Nourish Books, £20 hardback. To order your copy of Pimp My Rice at the special price of £16, please call 01206 255800 and quote ref SM2016. This offer is only available until 2 March.

Like this? See also: 

• Nisha Katona recipe: banana batter pillows

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