- Easy on the heat while the noodles are cooking.
- Don't forget the ginger.
- Don't forget the bean sprouts!
- Don't forget the brown sugar!!
I've made this a lot so I don't use a recipe anymore, but it's been a while so unfortunately I forgot some things. I forgot the ginger until the noodles were already soft. I forgot the bean sprouts until after I had already garnished with cilantro (the picture below is pre-sprout). And I forgot the brown sugar entirely. It was still tasty, though, and hopefully I'll get back into practice.
The original recipe calls for cooking the noodles in chicken broth, but I will often use vegetable broth, depending on what I have on hand. I'm very partial to Wolfgang Puck's chicken broth, ran out of it a while ago, and it wasn't available at the last store where I was shopping. What they did have was mushroom broth, which I thought could be good. I went ahead and bought it to use here. It was tasty, but I'm not sure I want to use it again because my protein is Quorn, which is made from fungus like mushrooms, and I don't want to overdo that element.
I wanted to dress the green beans with Ginger-Hoisin Vinaigrette, but I ran out and didn't have it together enough to make more. The rice noodles have a lot of soy sauce, so it wasn't my first choice to use it on the veggies as well, but it was the easiest and most reliably tasty thing I could think of to do.
I'm so happy: this is the second meal in a row that Ben has eaten as is, the same way John and I eat it. He loves flavored noodles! AND he tried his green beans and liked them! So he ate pretty much everything on his plate, plus seconds of the noodles. Sophie only ate apples and the Quorn tenders from the noodles. She asked for seconds on them, and I tried to tell her she could have seconds if she would taste a green bean. In response, she freaked out. I definitely think we will need to use that strategy soon, but I just don't think she's able to respond to it yet.
This dinner would have been good with a beer, but I've had alcohol several nights in a row now, so I decided I'd give it a rest.
Ants on a Tree
1/2 red onion, or more to taste, chopped
4 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of minced pickled ginger (I use the kind in a tube because I hate grating the real stuff)
8 ounces ground pork or other crumbled protein (I also add Quorn tenders because they're easier for the kids to eat)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
1/4 cup soy sauce
8 ounces rice noodles, medium thickness
2 cups desired broth, plus more if needed
1/4 cup rice vinegar
5 ounces bean sprouts
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Heat the oil at a medium setting in a large pan or 300 degree on an electric skillet. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, protein, and pepper and saute until the onions are soft and the protein has browned. Add the noodles, broth, soy sauce, and vinegar. Increase the heat if necessary to bring the liquid to a simmer, and stir frequently to ensure that the noodles absorb the liquid evenly, adding more broth as needed. When the noodles are pliant, mix in the bean sprouts and then add the sugar and sesame oil. Garnish with cilantro just before serving.
Serves up to 4 people.