What is wood ear?
A wood ear（木耳） is a type of mushroom commonly used in Chinese cuisine. They are native to China, but can now be found in many Asian markets.
Wood ear, also known as "cloud ear", "tree ear", or “black fungus”, is a type of edible fungus that is commonly used in Chinese cooking. The fungus gets its name from its shape and appearance, which resembles a small piece of wood or an ear. Despite their name, wood ear mushrooms are not actually ears! They are a type of fungus that grows on dead wood. The mushrooms tend to be dark.
Wood ear tastes like a slightly sour, earthy, crunchy mushroom. It has a slightly bitter taste and a slightly chewy texture. It also has a woody texture and a slightly sweet flavor.
Why is it so popular among the Chinese?
The Chinese have been eating wood ear for centuries and there are a few reasons for its popularity. It is known for its medicinal benefits, such as aiding in digestion and improving blood circulation.
Chinese people believe that wood ear has many health benefits. It is a good source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Wood ear is also believed to help improve circulation, protect the liver, and boost the immune system. Wood ear is also rich in fiber, making it a healthy addition to any dish. It is also a low-calorie food, making it a good choice for those watching their weight.
How do you cook wood ear?
Wood ear mushrooms are often used in soups, salads, and stir-fries.
To cook it, first, rinse it off under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Then, soak the wood ear in warm water for about 30 minutes. After soaking, cook it in a small amount of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain any excess water and serve immediately.
Keep in mind, that wood ear is most often found in dried form, and it should be cooked before eating.
Wood ear（木耳） is a popular Chinese ingredient for a good reason. If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy way to add some variety to your meals, it is definitely worth checking out. You might be surprised by how much you like them!
Have you cooked with this special mushroom before? What’s your favorite recipe? Let me know in the comments below!