Cloud ear fungus, a rather strange-sounding name for a type of fungus, has been featured in Asian cooking since the sixth century. The Chinese name for cloud ear is mo-er, or “little ear,” which is fitting since it vaguely resembles a human ear when fresh. Cloud ear grows in mountainous areas of India and China on the dead, rotting branches of broad-leaved trees such as the mango tree.
Depending on the recipe, the mushroom may be added whole or cut into an appropriate shape and size for the dish. It should be added near the end of stir-frying so that it does not lose its crunchy texture; the dried mushroom needs to be reconstituted before including in a soup. Feel free to use cloud ear in any recipe calling for black mushrooms.
Nutrition and Benefits
Cloud ear fungus is high in fiber, as well as minerals such as manganese,selenium,and iron.1 It is also a good source of riboflavin and niacin and is high in antioxidants. These mushrooms have also been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to help prevent heart disease.