Many friends of mine like authentic Chinese food. Some of them have been to China before. When they come back to the States, one of the most commonly asked questions is “does Chinese people really eat all kinds of meat, such as snakes, rabbits, dogs, or scorpions?” Well, it depends on the region and the person himself. Personally, I’ve had snake and rabbit when I was small. It’s actually not that bad, but I definitely won’t try it again. I am an animal lover, lol.
Now imagine you are sitting in a Chinese restaurant looking at the menu. Three dish names caught your eyes, “Ants Climbing Trees”, “Tiger Skin Green Pepper”, and “Braised Lion Head”. You can’t believe what you just saw and your mouth is widely open. You are in shock! “That’s too crazy! Chinese people eat ant, tiger or even lion?” you said to yourself. Haha…That’s understandable. But just hold on a second and allow me to tell you what these dishes are about, so you don’t miss out an opportunity to try some simple Chinese food!
“Ants Climing Trees” is also called “Vermicelli with spicy minced pork”. Maybe “vermicelli” symbolizes “trees” and “minced pork” symbolizes “ants”. That’s my guessing. Vermicelli is a kind of glass noodle. It’s widely used in Sichuan cuisine, such as hot pot. “Tiger Skin Green Pepper” is the nickname of “Pan-seared Green Chili Pepper”. The green pepper is fried and looks like a tiger skin pattern. I think it’s a reasonable correlation. A similar post with the same cooking technique is fried stuffed eggplant. As to “braised lion head”, its official name is “braised pork ball in brown sauce.” I like the metaphor of “lion head” because it is just so unique and vividly expressed. Feel safer to try now? If not, look at the pictures! You won’t regret it! By the way, next time when you invite your friends over, you can grab these easy Chinese food recipes and surprise them with the names!
1. Ants Climbing Trees (Vermicelli with spicy minced pork)
- Boil vermicelli in a pot of hot water for 2 minutes. Remove and cut vermicelli to small pieces. Let it dry.
- Add some oil to the pan and heat it up. Add green onion, ginger, garlic and stir-fry. Then add grounded pork and bean paste. Stir well.
- Add water, soy sauce, sugar according to your desired taste and texture. Then add vermicelli. Mix well and sprinkle some sesame oil in the end.
2. Tiger Skin Green Pepper (Pan-seared Green Chili Pepper)
- Add pork stuffing inside green peppers.
- Add oil to a pan. Turn the heat to high level. Fry the stuffed green peppers for one minute. Then turn it to another side and fry evenly.
- Remove and place peppers to a plate. Heat the plate in a microwave for another 2 minutes in high temperature. It’s that easy!
3. Braised Pork Ball in Brown Sauce (Braised Lion Head)
- Prepare the “lion head stuffing”: add an egg, starch, pepper, salt, sugar, cooking wine, minced green onion, ginger to minced pork. Use chopsticks to stir towards one direction.
- Make the “lion head”: grab a small part of the meat stuffing. Repeatedly beat the stuffing between palms to make it more viscous. Gradually, the stuffing becomes a ball. This technique can make sure the formed balls are not easily broken.
- Pan fry the stuffing ball until its skin turns golden brown. Then remove.
- Keep some oil in step 3, stir-fry green onion and ginger.
- Add some water and wait until it boils. Add some sugar and salt according to your taste. Then add fried lion head and stew for 20 minutes. It’s ready! Serve with some steamed vegetables if you like!