Black Woodear Fungus Salad
This healthy black woodear fungus salad (凉拌木耳) is a classic Chinese appetizer cold dish (凉拌菜). It can also be used as a salad topping. This salad is known to improve one’s appetite (开胃) due to its tangy & mildly spicy flavours. I particularly love the fungus’ crunchy texture. Since this dish is often served chilled, it is extra refreshing when consumed during hot weather.
BLACK (WOODEAR) FUNGUS – DRIED OR FRESH?
The answer is you can use either fresh or dried fungus in cooking.
This is fresh fungus from the supermarket. I love to use fresh fungus for a dish like this where I can use them all up at one go.
With fresh ones, you can use them right away for cooking without needing to soak.
This is dried black fungus. They require soaking in a large bowl of cold water where they will expand to their original size. I always have some dried fungus in the pantry, so I will use dried ones when I can’t find them at the supermarket, or when I only needed a small amount (e.g. as dumpling filling or a stir-fry side ingredient). I personally can’t tell the difference in taste & texture of fresh or dried fungus for this recipe.
PREPARATION OF FUNGUS
Boil the fungus in a pot of water for 5 minutes before use.
Snip and discard this ‘knot’ at the base of each fungus before using as it is tough.
Prepare the various components of the salad: red chilli (for colour & heat), thinly shredded ginger, minced garlic, spring onions (0r coriander), boiled fungus & salad sauce.
The sauce is really important in this dish as fungus has practically no taste on its own, soaking up the delicious salad sauce instead. Mine is made with sesame oil, light soy sauce, vinegar, sugar …
… plus a secret ingredient, soybean paste (酱油膏). When I was doing my annual stay in Taipei, I learnt that Taiwanese used this type of soy paste a lot for their cold side dishes. I was so excited when I found this bottle of soybean sauce at Prime Supermarket. It certainly adds that savoury oomph to such Chinese cold dishes. In my early versions of recipe testing, the salad sauce with this added secret ingredient got the instant nod of approval from my family. You can substitute with oyster sauce if you can’t find soybean paste.
Scatter the ginger, chilli, garlic and spring onions & coriander evenly over the fungus which is spread out in a food container.
Then pour the sauce over and toss to coat the salad (pictured above). Alternatively, you can also cover the container with a lid and shake the contents. For best results, chill the container in the fridge for at least 2 hours for the flavours to seep in before serving.
My top favourite! So healthy and yummy :-)
So good! Can get black soybean soy sauce…MIT somemore :P
I also make this salad before and it usually ends up in stomach before can take picture