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CHINESE VEGETARIAN RECIPES

Black fungus / mu’er– health theory

Chinese black fungus

Oh, London, today, Oxford street was so … crowded, as so many people on the street … ;confusing, as so many road works everywhere…;very colorful, as the signs of Sal’ hanging on almost every window of the shops… ;and I was lost, as many languages floating over my ears, I tried to distinguish them, English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Arabic… then I got lost…; I was even more confused when seeing there was a forever queue outside Louise Vuitton, people were trying to get A brand over their shoulder?…


Probably living in Oxford really changed me, I only realized it at the moment I was so longing for quiet and peaceful street where I can embrace the air — which I’d never thought I would one day.


I said Oxford street was too busy for me, as I found really difficult to place my body among the busy crowd and to find a way to go through. My husband would laugh and ask, ‘but you grow up in China, more crowded! True, true, I used to hear the noise from the streets and early markets in the morning to wake up, used to go in the street with people shoulders to shoulders. Now… I am so used to the quietness — I was asked many times, ‘do you think you have changed in some respects since you moved to England?”


Certainly, for example, I am also used to queuing now. Only my nostalgic still make me longing for the noise from the cars, bells from the bicycles and people playing cards in the yards, but I don’t know if I can still with it… So, yes, many things changed, unconsciously…
Even my food changed — my brother came to visit couple of months ago, and said my food has changed taste. :))

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Cloud ear fungusChinese black fungus

I know that I have talked about black fungus many times already. Sorry for the repetition, and in this post, I want to add a bit more information on the health/ medicine side of the story.

You might have heard some people call black fungus “yun er” as cloud’s ears , where I normally refer it as mu’er , as wood’s ear – another difference between South and North. But I really think that it is so romantic to compare the shape of black fungus, especially the edges, to the irregular and forever changing shape of clouds, where Northern people imagine that they are the ears of the trees. :))

Black fungus in traditional Chinese Medicine

I often cook it at home, especially when we have friends over, and almost all of the friends love it after having it. But it is a bit difficult to explain what it is when friends ask — … it is more like mushroom, but different type, for example, after soaking it, it will get soft enough for having it just like that.
One can never underestimate the valuable properties in black fungus. It is often called “meat of the vegetables” because of its rich nutritious properties.

In Bencao Gangmu (the “Bible” of Chinese medicine), Li Shizhen wrote, “it is good for increasing appetite, helping with blood circle, and minimizing the bleeding of hemorrhoids or heavy period…”. In traditional Chinese medicine , black fungus has always been recommended for iron boost, stopping bleeding, increasing blood circulation.

Of course, it needs to be taken continuously, and benefits only come long term, after all, it is not medication, however, if you have it regularly, you can then avoid taking medication in the future. :)

Modern Uses of Black Fungus

In modern days, black fungus has been re-discovered for anemia if it is caused by lack of the iron in the body. One of most recommended recipes is to boil 15g black fungus and around 15 jujube dates with crystal sugar for around 30 minutes to 1 hour, then drink the soup and have the contents.

Black fungus is also used for constipation, especially good for kids. One of the simplest recipes is to boil black fungus without any seasonings after soaking it well, then have it. If you think it is too plain, there are other recipes, for example, put soaked black fungus and one egg into a mixer, mix well, then boil it, add a few drops of sesame oil, drink the ‘soup’ when it is warm. The result will show in a day or two days time.

As for blood circulation, anti-aging, preventing from cancer, it is just good to have black fungus regularly in the dishes or in congee.
Black fungus sold in the markets nowadays are from different parts of China. I like the ones from northeast, they are normally from da xing an ling . The texture is smoother after soaking, and more tasty after cooking (at least making it in northeast recipes). I have tried fresh picked wild grow ones from da xing an ling forest, wow, really “taste the difference”.

There are many recipes I will put them here, so you will never get bored of it :)

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