It’s not strictly correct to call these ‘Chinese’ black fungi since they are also used in south-east Asia, most notably Thailand, and in the Philippines as well. However, I certainly associate them mostly with Chinese cookery as I generally only see them used in recipes from Chinese cookbooks and have never been served them anywhere other than at a Chinese restaurant as yet.

Serious fans of Chinese cookery have probably heard of ‘wood ears’ or ‘cloud ears’ and both of these terms refer to the fungus. As yet, however, they have not become widely recognized in the west and, indeed, most people, if they have experienced them at all, have probably only done so, possibly unwittingly, in the popular ‘Hot and Sour Soup’. Still these are interesting culinary item and well worth a look…Read More →

This is my first experiment with the Sichuan Pepper Oil I featured in a ‘Foodstuffs’ post a few days ago. I originally planned to do a cold salad with cucumber but I had some nice chicken breasts on hand and decided to do a ‘ma-la’ style dish which, readers of my Sichuan Peppercorn post will recall, uses a Sichuan recipe technique that combines the numbing ‘ma’ effect of Sichuan peppercorns with the ‘la’ spiciness of chili. There are countless ways one can throw together a mala chicken dish, of course, but I came up with what follows: Read More →