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Wok-Braised Chinese Fungus

The location of prime fungus hunting grounds in China is a secret as closely guarded as the where-abouts of truffle hunting areas in Italy. Don't worry. You can buy all three kinds of fungus, including succulent dried black mushrooms, in your local Chinese market. This typical Chinese dish is prized for its texture as well as its flavor.

Type: Vegetables
Serves: 6 people

Recipe Ingredients

1/2 oz 14gDried white fungus (snow fungus)
1/2 oz 14gDried black fungus (cloud ear)
12   Dried black mushrooms
1/2 cup 118mlChicken broth
2 tablespoons 30mlOyster sauce
1 tablespoon 15mlDry sherry or Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon 5mlSoy sauce
8   Chinese (napa) cabbage leaves - for garnish
1 tablespoon 15mlVegetable oil
1 teaspoon 5mlMinced ginger
1/2 cup 118mlCanned gingko nuts - drained
2 teaspoons 10mlCornstarch - dissolved in
4 teaspoons 20mlWater

Recipe Instructions

Soak the white and black fungus and mushrooms in separate bowls in warm water to cover for 30 minutes; drain. Rinse the white fungus well to remove sand around the stems. Cut off and discard the mushroom stems. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Cook the cabbage leaves in a large pot of boiling water for 1 minute and drain well. Arrange on a serving platter.

Place a wok or wide frying pan over high heat until hot. Add the vegetable oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add the ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the white and black fungus, mushrooms, gingko nuts, and sauce; mix well. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add the cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens. Serve over cabbage leaves.

This recipe yields 6 servings.

Tips: For extra contrast in texture, you can add a small can of sliced water chestnuts or sliced bamboo shoots.

Dried white fungus, also known as white tree fungus, snow ears, or silver fungus, have a spongy look in the dried state. After soaking, they are soft and almost translucent.

There are two common varieties of black fungus available in markets. Cloud ears are smaller and softer when soaked; wood ears are larger and firmer. They are sold dried, for the most part, for their medicinal properties (they're believed to prevent blood clots) as well as for cooking. Crumpled-looking, they have little flavor but a pleasant crunch.

Everybody's Wokking by Martin Yan, (Harlow & Ratner, 1991)


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