Black Fungus Salad (香菜木耳)

This black fungus salad is just as much about texture, as it is about the fresh, zingy flavours of coriander and chilli. While it may look slimy, the wood ear fungus is actually crunchy and fresh. The fungus usually comes dried, and requires rehydrating before use.

This recipe uses cloud ear (often romanised as yun yee, wan yee or wun yee). This is a type of black fungus (wood ear) which is thinner, and more delicate than standard wood ear fungus. The fungus can look like a large-leafed loose tea and is black on both sides; the thicker pak pui (白背) black fungus has a white mossy looking underside to it, which makes it less desirable for this salad.

  • 4 heaped tbsp dried black fungus, rehydrated and cleaned (Try to get cloud ear, which is more delicate and does not have a white back to the fungus)
  • 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and then chopped
  • 1-2 spring onion finely sliced into thin slivers approx 2 inches long
  • ½ bunch (approx 6 heaped tbsp) coriander, washed and cut into 1½ inch pieces, including stems
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp mature rice vinegar / black rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pure sesame oil
  • small chunk of brown sugar slice (片糖 - Piàn táng) equivalent to 1 tsp brown sugar
  • ½ red chilli, sliced into small strips
  1. Prepare your spring onions, chilli, coriander and black fungus. Tear the black fungus into smaller pieces if necessary.
  2. Heat the sugar, salt, soy sauce and vinegar gently until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Take off the heat. Add the chilli, garlic and sesame oil and mix well.
  3. Bring together all the elements of the salad in a large bowl, and mix together well, ensuring the dressing covers all the fungus, spring onion strips and coriander.
  4. Transfer to your serving plate and, garnish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Now you are ready to serve!

  • Add roasted peanuts, pieces of cucumber, or celery for different flavours and textures.
  • Add chilli oil to your taste.

How to prepare your black fungus: Wood ear, and cloud ear in particular, is said to be very good for cleaning the blood and removing impurities from the body. It is widely eaten by Chinese people who believe that black fungus is good for the heart, and for lowering cholesterol.

Give the fungus a good wash; soaking, draining and rinsing a few times to get rid of any grit. Drain and put into a large pot of boiling water. Boil for 2-3 minutes, or until cooked, and then drain and plunge into icy cold water. Drain and trim off any hard woody stem that may be left on the fungus with scissors or a knife. You can feel this easily by running the rehydrated fungus between your fingers gently. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Additional Information:
Number of Portions:
Cooking Time:
<30 Min