Try this fun and comforting recipe from The Whole Chicken by Carl Clarke

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18 Feb 2021 |



 Ant tree noodles

You will be glad to hear that this dish contains no ants whatsoever. It’s a classic Sichuan noodle dish that traditionally uses glass noodles and minced (ground) pork, which I have swapped out for minced chicken. The glass noodles are meant to be representative of tree branches, spring onions (scallions) are the leaves, and the minced pork is the ants, if that makes any sense to you at all. I have used some fatty streaky bacon here in addition to the minced chicken, as pork is a little fattier and chicken can dry out quite easily if overcooked. It’s best to caramelise the bacon for depth of flavour when cooking. Another thing to note is when cooking this noodle dish is that the glass noodles will soak up the sauce very quickly, so if you like more sauce then just add a little more water or chicken stock (broth). You can make this noodle dish in no time at all once all your ingredients are weighed out and prepped – a great after-work, filling, comforting noodle dish.


400 g (14 oz) dried mung bean vermicelli noodles

6 tablespoons rapeseed (canola) oil

4 tablespoons Sichuan chilli bean paste

2 teaspoons chilli powder

500 g (1 lb 2 oz/2½ cups) minced (ground) chicken

100 g (3½ oz/ cup) fatty streaky bacon, finely chopped

4 teaspoons very finely chopped fresh ginger root

4 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) hot water 4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

2 spring onions (scallions), chopped 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped 1 fresh chilli, chopped (optional)


Soak the noodles in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes (or in cold water for 10 minutes) until they are soft and pliable. Rinse under cold running water and drain. Set aside.


Heat the oil in a wok over a medium-high heat. Add the chilli paste and chilli powder and fry briefly, then stir in the minced chicken, bacon, ginger, rice wine and soy sauce and fry for 8–10 minutes until well combined and the chicken is a nice caramelised dark colour.


Pour the hot water into the wok, then add the sugar, white pepper and reserved noodles.


When most of the water has been absorbed by the noodles, add the spring onions, garlic and fresh chilli (if using). Stir-fry for another 30 seconds, then serve warm.

The whole chicken 

The Whole Chicken is available to buy now. Find it on Waterstones and Amazon.