Wood ear mushroom salad is a very easy and popular Chinese side cold dish. It possibly enjoys the highest ordering rate in Chinese restaurants. Do you like the dark food—wood ear mushrooms?
What’s Wood Ear Mushrooms
Wood ear mushroom (木[mù]耳[ěr]), also known as black fungus is a type of edible fungus frequently used in Chinese cuisines. It is grown on wood and looks like a ear. So Chinese people give it a lovely name, wood ear mushroom. You may find it used in meat stir-fries like moo shu pork and veggie stir-fries. But the loveliest way of enjoying the wood ear mushroom in my cabinet is to make a wood ear mushrooms that only requires several minutes preparation.
There are several types of wood ear mushroom. Common black wood ear mushroom, gray wood ear mushroom and this small black wood ear mushrooms are all member of the family. Smaller ones are called as “云耳”, usually are more crunchy and thicker.
In summer, we loves to a salad with wood ear mushrooms. They can be extremely crunchy and delicious with simple hot garlic sauce. It shares common features with louts root. When lightly cooked, they are crunchy and best for salad. If cooked for a longer time, they absorb the flavors and seasonings and turned to be extremely delicious and soft.
If wood ear mushroom is stir-fried over high fire, you should be very careful as they splash a lot and there will be pa-pa-pa sound. When I was still a child, I love the sound so much.
It is very important to remove any sandy parts of the wood ear mushroom (usually the bottom). Sand will make the dish a complete failure.
1/4 cup dried wood ear mushrooms seem to be a small amount, but you will end up with around 150g after soaking as the wood ear mushrooms will absorb lots of water during soaking. That amount should be perfect for a side dish salad.
Cut the bottom of the wood ear mushroom and wash carefully. Make sure no sand contained.
Cook soaked wood ear mushroom in boiling water for 1 minute. Transfer out and soak in cold water to cool down. It is extremely to soak the wood ear mushroom in cold water to get the crunchy texture. Then completely drain before mixing.
In a small pot, heat oil, add spring onion whites, chili pepper circles and garlic. Fry over slow fire until aromatic. Then turn off the fire, add light soy sauce, vinegar, salt, sugar and sesame oil. Mix well and set aside until cooled.
Here you are! Just mix everything and get your table a wonderful wood ear salad.
- 1/4 cup dried wood ear mushrooms
- a small bunch of coriander
- 1/4 middle size onion
- 2 garlic clove , chopped
- 1 fresh Thai chili pepper , cut into small pieces
- 2 tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
- 3 spring onion white , cut into small sections
- 1 tbsp. Chinese black vinegar
- 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
- pinch of salt if necessary
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds , optional
Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes until they absorb the water and become soft. Rinse in cold water. Tear larger pieces into bite size and remove the sandy ends. Wash carefully and make sure no sand is contained.
Cook soaked mushrooms in boiling water for around 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off fire and place the onion slices in. Transfer out immediately and soak in cold water to cool down.
Completely drain the wood ear mushrooms and then place in serving plate.
Heat oil in a pot and fry garlic, spring onion and fresh thai peppers until aromatic over slowest fire. Turn off fire and add all the other seasonings. Mix well and serve.
There are lots of other versions in China, for example you can add sliced cucumber and goji berries.