This refreshing Wood Ear Mushroom Salad is served chilled. Bright and tangy with a delicate crunch from the mushrooms, this is a great side dish to serve on a hot day. The salad is simply seasoned with black vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Pair with rice and a protein for a complete meal!
We love to eat wood ear mushrooms. They're sold dried in many Asian markets. Here in Honolulu, we purchase them in bulk from one of the many small mom and pop shops in Chinatown. You just need to store the mushrooms in an airtight container in a cool dry place (or in the refrigerator).
Then when you're craving a dish that calls for wood ear mushrooms, just rehydrate the mushrooms in water, and they're ready for cooking! It might seem like an unusual ingredient but it's also an easy pantry item to have on hand.
Most days in Hawaii are hot, but summer days can get really hot. It's on these extra hot days that I crave crisp, cool wood ear mushrooms the most. The rehydrated mushrooms are quickly boiled and drained. Then they're tossed with a bright and light dressing made of just three ingredients: black vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. We add lots of garlic and cilantro to make it extra fresh.
And that's it! Toss, chill in the fridge for an hour. Then it's ready to eat ^_^
Here's what you'll need:
- Wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated - See section below on how to rehydrate the dried mushrooms.
- Chinese black vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
See recipe card for quantities.
What Are Wood Ear Mushrooms?
Wood ear mushrooms are a type of fungus. They're pretty small and look like tiny curled cups or ears (which is where the name comes from).
They don't have much flavor on their own. People who love to eat wood ear mushrooms love it for the texture (very light and crunchy) and it's ability to soak up flavors really well.
Wood ear mushrooms are sold dry and will keep for a long time. Before you can cook them, you must rehydrate the dried mushrooms.
How to rehydrate wood ear mushrooms? Just rinse the dried mushrooms a few times to clean them. Then place them dried mushrooms in a large bowl and cover it with room temperature water.
Let it soak at room temperature for about 1 hour until the mushrooms are soft and bendy. They should triple in size, it's pretty neat to see.
After they're rehydrated, they're ready for cooking! You can boil, steam, or stir fry the mushrooms. You can use the mushrooms whole or slice them into thin strips. The options are endless. For this recipe we boil the mushrooms and then toss them in a delicious dressing.
Let's get cooking!
Did you rehydrate the mushrooms first? Great!
Next step is to bring a pot of water to boil. Then add the rehydrated wood ear mushrooms to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and let cool.
While the mushrooms are cooling, mix together all the marinade ingredients (garlic, black vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil) in a big bowl.
Add the drained mushrooms to the bowl.
Mix well and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Top with cilantro. Mix and eat ^_^
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few things we like to do:
- Make it spicy - Add finely chopped chili peppers (we like Thai red chili peppers) to the dressing.
- Pinch of sugar - Add a pinch of sugar to the dressing to round out the dish and add a little bit of sweetness. Just a pinch is all you need.
- Green onions - You can use green onions in place of, or in addition to, the cilantro. The more herbs, the merrier!
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Leftovers will keep 1-2 days. Served chilled.
The actual "active time" for in this recipe is only 10 minutes (or less).
But it takes an hour to rehydrate the dried wood ear mushrooms. Don't forget to budget for that extra time!
No. They need to be cooked before eating. For dried wood ear mushrooms, they first need to be rehydrated in water and then cooked.
Dried wood ear mushrooms will keep in the refrigerator (or in a cool dry place) for a very long time. Make sure to store the dried mushrooms in a sealed container.
Once the mushrooms are rehydrated and cooked, they will keep in the refrigerators for up to 2 days (though try not to rehydrate and cook the mushrooms until the day that you're ready to use them 🙂
Wood Ear Mushroom Salad Recipe
Wood Ear Mushroom Salad
- Boil the wood ear mushrooms for 3 minutes to cook them. Drain and let cool.
- Mix together all the marinade ingredients (garlic, black vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil) in a big bowl.
- Add the drained mushrooms to the bowl. Mix well and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Top with cilantro. Mix, eat, and enjoy ^_^
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