Black fungus is a very common and inexpensive ingredient on Chinese dinner table. It also has been labeled as a medicinal food for thousands of years because of its nutrient content such as iron, protein, fat, vitamins, polysaccharide, and other minerals.
Flavor: Black fungus has no flavor of its own, but absorbs the seasonings it is cooked with.
Culinary Uses: Black fungus is a delightful ingredient in salads, soups and stir-fries.
Other Names: Black Fungus (Auricularia polytricha) is also known as cloud ear; tree ear; wood fungus, mouse ear, and jelly mushroom.
Name in Other Countries:
- Burma: kyet neywet
- China: mo-ei; wun yee
- Indonesia: kuping jamu
- Japan: kikurage
- Malaysia: kuping tikus, cendawan telinga kera
- Thailand: hed hunu
- Black Fungus helps in nourishing the lungs, liver and stomach. It alleviates dryness and promotes circulation in the body.
- Black fungus has a reputation in Chinese herbal medicine for increasing the fluidity of the blood (same effect as in aspirin) and improving circulation. It is given to patients who suffer from atherosclerosis.
- Black fungus contains iron. Iron contained in black fungus is indeed one of the highest among all the vegetables; eating regularly can enrich blood and prevent iron deficiency anemia. In terms of taste and price, it is a much better alternative to pig liver as a good source of iron, containing up to seven times of iron compared to pig liver
- Black fungus contains polysaccharide, this compound not only inhibits tumor growth and prevents cancer, it also neutralizes the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
- Black fungus is a good “absorbent” and “scavenger” of toxic substances in the body thanks to its pectin that can absorb dust in lungs and digestive system and then excrete together.
- Black fungus is a good source of calcium, reportedly containing twice the amount of calcium compared to milk.
- Black fungus is also rich in protein, vitamins D, B1 and B2.
|Dried Black Fungus|
Availability: It is mostly sold dried but is also available fresh.
Shelf life: If stored in an airtight container, they should keep for up to a year.
Preparation / Cooking: Before using, soak the fungus in warm water for at least 15 minutes. It will expand to several times its normal size. Then rinse the fungus and trim the stem where it was attached to the wood of the tree (cloud ears grow on trees such as the mango and kapok). Once the cloud ears have been cut up into an appropriate shape and size, add them to a dish near the end of stir-frying, so that they do not lose their crunchy texture.