I heard the Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa is going to donate his entire year of earnings to help Japan.  What a great guy!  I was very impressed by his generosity.  I donated what I could to the Red Cross for the Japan Tsunami Fund. I donated to my friend’s Girl Scout troops.  I bought ticket for my vacation next month.  I bought some software for my school work.  With all these spending plus the crazy gas price, I have to cut back on other things. I made a frugal dish called Ants Climbing A Tree. It’s a traditional Chinese noodle dish. Usually it was pretty spicy, but I made it mild.  It has a little bit of ground meat and the clear cellophane noodles and some seasonings. That’s pretty much it.  It’s easy to make.  The clear noodles absorb whatever seasoning that I added, and it was delicious.  Cellophane noodles are pretty cheap, like 20 cents a pack.  I probably used 1/3 pound of the meat. So I would say the whole dish is probably like $3!!  Not bad at all for a cheap meal when I’m a budget.

Cellophane noodles
Cook Cellophane noodles first
Cook onion and ground meat
Add noodles and sauce
Ants Climbing a Tree

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Ground meat, 1/3 to ½ pound (I used ground beef. The traditional dish used ground pork. You can even use ground chicken or turkey).
  • Cellophane noodles, 2 small packs
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Scallion, 2 stalks
  • Small onion, 1
  • Chicken powder, 1 tsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Water, 4 Tbsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • White pepper, a dash
  • Chili sauce, ½ tsp (you can add more)



  1. Boil about 5 or 6 cups of water in a saucepan.  When water boils, add cellophane noodles. Let it cook for 7-10 mins until it is soft.  Use a colander to hold the noodles and discard the water.  Put it aside.
  2. Cut scallion into dices. Put it aside.
  3. Finely chopped garlic.  Put it aside.
  4. Cut onion into strips, put it aside.
  5. Prepare the sauce: In a bowl, add chicken powder, water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper and cornstarch. Mix it well.  Put it aside.
  6. Use a non-stick frying pan.  Spray non-stick cooking oil to the pan.  Use high heat.  Add garlic, onion and meat to the pan.  Add Chinese cooking wine.  Stir fry the meat until it is cooked.
  7. Add cellophane to the meat.  Let it cook for couple of minutes to make the noodles dry up a little bit.
  8. Add the sauce.  Mix everything well.  Turn down the heat to low.  Let it simmer for 4 or 5 minutes or until the sauce is fully absorbed by the noodles.  Stir the sauce well into the noodles.  Add the chili sauce to the noodles.  Taste it. Add a dash of salt or more chili sauce if needed.
  9. Add chopped scallion.  Mix it well. Turn off the heat. Serve hot.

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