Kikurage ( Dried Easy Mushroom). You might have heard of kikurage, the wood ear mushroom popular in Japanese and Chinese delicacies. Here, we will discuss its health benefits and how to prepare it in ramen and other meals. Let’s dive in!
What Is Kikurage Mushroom (Dried Ear Mushroom)?
Kikurage mushroom is a medicinal, healthy, edible mushroom commonly used as a topping in Japanese and Chinese food. It is also called jew’s ear, tree ear, cloud ear fungus, wood ear mushroom, jelly ear, and black ear fungus in English and mu er in Chinese. They are often found in moist areas in the wild in the forest.
Are there toxic fungus
My husband and I forge for mushrooms in the forest, but for those who do not have experience in foraging mushrooms, it can be dangerous as some mushrooms are poisonous. So be extra careful as some similar-looking ear mushrooms may be poisonous.
Where can I buy them?
You can buy Kukurage in the Asian store; sometimes, they can be available in the specialty market.
What does Kikurage look like?
Kikurage usually looks brownish or blackish and has an ear shape. It can be found in Asia, Europe, North America, and North Africa. It is nutritious and can be used for several delicacies, including ramen and salad. Black fungus has also been used in Chinese medicine to cure ailments for hundreds of years.
How does Kikurage taste?
- Kikurage has no distinct taste but is soft and gelatinous in texture. It is not tasty since there is no flavor in it.
Wood Ear Mushroom Benefits
The health benefits of Kikurage are endless. Here are the benefits of cooking your meals with it.
- It Is Full Of Antioxidants: this mushroom is rich in nutrients and antioxidants such as flavonoids, proteins, and polysaccharides. These antioxidants boost immunity, fight bacteria and remove radicals.
- It Is A Great Dietetic Food: it is low-fat and rich in reducing sugars. It is an excellent addition to your diet and helps reduce weight.
- It Helps To Reduce And Prevent Certain Diseases: Black ear fungus treats diabetes, improves gut health, stops blood clotting, and reduces cancer cell growth. Furthermore, it prevents iron deficiencies, enriches, and helps circulate the blood.
- It Is Good For The Heart Health: it is excellent for the heart, supporting heart health and keeping it safe.
- It Is A Good Source Of Calcium: Cloud ear fungus contains a healthy dose of calcium (even more than the quantity in milk!). It is rich in Vitamins B1, B2, and D.
How Bloom Fungus Mushrooms for Cooking
Fresh wood ear mushrooms are gelatinous and have a natural woody scent. Dried kikurage mushrooms are crunchy and can be bought in supermarkets.
- To use dried ear mushrooms, you must soak them in water for two hours. Stay calm when it expands to three times its original size. If you are in a hurry to use it, soak it in lukewarm water for thirty minutes, but note that it may not expand or be as crunchy as when using the former process.
- Store the rehydrated kikurage in the fridge to preserve it, and use it for at least two days.
How to Cook Kukirage Before using it?
- After you have bloomed the Kikurage, drain the water and boil five cups of water.
- When the water is boiling, add the bloomed mushroom and let boil for three minutes.
- Drain the water and let it cool.
- Prepare according to your preference.
Dried Wood Ear Mushroom Recipes
There are many ways to use these mushrooms in Japanese and Chinese meals. From ramen to salad, here are simple mushroom recipes.
You can use them as sushi filling.
- Shushi rice
- Cooked Kukirage
- You need Sushi rice that has been freshly cooked. You can click this Sushi Rice post to how it is done.
- Wash the spinach and sautee in a small amount of oil. Season with soy sauce. Remove from the pan and set aside until ready to use.
- Next cooked the carrots in a small amount of oil and sautee and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Scramble and egg and use it as sushi filling as well.
- Cut the cooked kukirage into strips. Add the kikurage to add crunch to your Sushi.
If you want to see how to roll a Sushi, check out this Instant Pot Sushi rice post
This popular Japanese sesame chili oil gives you the ideal Japanese flavor in your ramen meal. You can see it in supermarkets and Chinese restaurants around you.
- Two tablespoons of soy sauce– Soy sauce is a Chinese condiment for cooking delicacies. It has a strong umami taste which you need in your kikurage ramen food. It is made with soybeans, roasted grain, and brine and contains many nutrients and vitamins.
- Ten grams of kikurage mushrooms
- Two tablespoons of mirin – This sweet Japanese rice wine is used in many dishes. It adds flavor to the Kikurage mushroom food and is sold in grocery stores worldwide.
- A bowl of water
- One tablespoon of sesame oil or ra-yu.
- 1½ tablespoons of ground sesame seeds– Sesame seed is a good fiber and plant protein source, and it supports healthy bones and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. It is a critical ingredient in your kikurage ramen meal.
How To Cook Ra-yu Ramen
- Soak 10 grams of kikurage mushroom in a water bowl for 1 hour. Cut out the complex parts of the mushroom and rinse with clean water. You can also use your already rehydrated kikurage stored in the refrigerator.
- Squeeze out the wood ear mushroom and set it aside.
- Put a tablespoon of ra-yu or sesame oil in a pan, pour the kikurage, and stir fry the mix.
- Mix in the sesame seeds, mirin, and soy sauce.
- Serve with your excellent ramen.
- Scrambled Eggs Recipe
Dried Wood ear mushroom is the perfect mix of scrambled eggs, and its chewy and crunchy taste takes it to a new level. Here is how to prepare it, scrambled eggs.
- Three Eggs, beaten
- Salt and pepper to taste
- One small onion, finely chopped
- One stalk of green onion, chopped
How To Cook It?
- Finely chop Kukirage and place into a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the egg, onions and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil and cook the egg.
This mushroom can be eaten and used in preparing meals. If you love exploring the kitchen, you can make a meal using dried ear mushrooms and please your family. Ensure you have a great time while at it.