Wood ear fungus is called auricularia auricula-judae scientifically. It is not widely consumed in the west, but is a popular ingredient in many Chinese dishes, such as hot and sour soup, and also used in Chinese medicine. One high nutritional value is its rich iron - 3.5 oz has 185mg iron, or 1400% relative to US recommendations for adults. Wood ear fungus is gelatinous, firm, crunchy and tasteless. Like tofu, it absorbs  the taste of the other ingredients with which it is cooked.

This category has two types of wood ear fungus - cloud ears (black fungus, black chinese fungus, 黑木耳) and wood ears(木耳) which are realtively bigger, tougher, thicker and cheaper. Most compressed packages are black fungus.

How to Cook wood ear fungus:

  • Soak the fungus in warm water for 15-25 minutes. It will puff up to several times of its normal dry size.
  • Wash the fungus and trim the stem where it was attached to the wood of the tree
  • Cut the fungus into an appropriate shape and size if needed
  • Add the fungus to a dish near the end of stir-frying to keep the crunchy texture. Or add the fungus to soups at anytime.