Spring Recipe: Cloud Ear and Cucumber Salad

Mushrooms and fungus are well-known for having health benefits, and the cloud ear fungus (yun mu er) is no exception. Used in cooking since the 6th century, this ingredient benefits healthy blood circulation and tonifies yin with both cooling and moistening properties. Often confused with the wood ear (hei mu er), cloud ear has a more slippery velvety texture. Both are commonly referred to as “black fungus” in recipes and are tasteless, taking on the flavor of the ingredients they are cooked with.

Cucumbers (huang gua) support the body’s ability to stay cool, hydrate and flush out toxins. Crisp and crunchy, they are the perfect counterpart to the slippery cloud ear. To keep the cooling ingredients in balance, this salad includes warming ginger, garlic and chili pepper. Serves 6.


  • 30 pc Plum Flower certified organic cloud ear fungus (yun mu er/雲耳)
  • 6 Persian cucumbers
  • 2 tsp salt


  • 1-2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Zhejiang vinegar/black vinegar
  • 1 Fresh red chili pepper (chopped and seeded, if desired)


  • Soak cloud ear in enough water to cover for 15 minutes. Drain and trim stems if needed.
  • Add cloud ear and fresh water to cover to a saucepan and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  • Slightly pound cucumbers to break open, cut into sections and remove seeds/pulp.
  • Mix with salt in a colander, let sit for 15 minutes, rinse, squeeze out excess water and pat dry.
  • In a large bowl, mix all dressing ingredients together, add cucumber and cloud ear and mix well.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.


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