Also known as black fungus, cloud ear fungus is valued by the Chinese for its texture and medicinal properties. Although it’s possible to find these exotic mushrooms fresh in the refrigerated sections of select Chinese grocers and delicatessens, they’re usually sold dried and require soaking in hot water to rehydrate them.
These soft, crunchy and flavourless yet versatile mushrooms are very popular in salads and braised dishes. This simple refreshing salad is easy to make and highlights the beauty of this lesser-known ingredient.
- ½ cup (10 g/¼ oz) dried cloud ear fungi
- 3 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro)
- 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 long red chilli, seeded and chopped, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon sugar
Soak the fungus in hot water for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Trim off and discard any knobbly bits, and tear the larger mushrooms into bite-sized pieces.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and tip in the fungus. Simmer for 2–3 minutes until softened, then tip into a colander. Rinse under cold running water and drain well.
To make the dressing, whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.
To serve, arrange the fungus and coriander in a bowl, drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.
Recipe by Tony Tan