(Spicy Pork with Bean-Thread Noodles)

In this classic Chinese preparation, delicate, clear bean-thread noodles are dressed with a spicy sauce and flecked with bits of pork — the "ants" of the dish's curious name.

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

For marinating the pork
3/4 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil

6 ounces bean-thread (cellophane) noodles*
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh gingerroot
2 teaspoons Asian chili paste* or 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons Scotch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander, or to taste, if desired

*available at Asian markets.

Marinate the pork:
In a small bowl combine the pork gently with the vinegar, the soy sauce, and the sesame oil and let it marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

In a bowl soak the noodles in warm water to cover for 15 minutes, drain them, and cut them into 3- to 4-inch lengths.

In a wok or large heavy skillet heat the vegetable oil over moderately high heat until it just begins to smoke and in it stir-fry 1/4 cup of the scallion, the garlic, and the gingerroot for 30 seconds. Add the pork and the chili paste and stir-fry the mixture, breaking up the lumps, until the meat is no longer pink. Add the noodles, the broth, the Scotch, the soy sauce, the vinegar, and the sugar and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the noodles have absorbed the liquid. Transfer the mixture to a platter, drizzle it with the sesame oil, and sprinkle it with the coriander and the remaining 1/4 cup scallion.

Serves 4 to 6.