Cloud-Ear Mushroom – For Spring Detox


Cloud-Ear Mushroom – For Spring Detox

 

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April 6, 2016

By Vicky Chan

 

Spring is in the air and it is time for many households to start their spring cleaning projects around their homes and gardens. Our body, after a whole winter of inactivity and over indulgence in greasy and highly dense food, should also be in great need for a good spring cleaning.

On the subject of cleansing and detoxifying our body, you may find yourself being overwhelmed by too many product advertisements in health magazines, newspapers, online newsletters and blogs and you may find it hard to decide where to start and what product to use. I think the best approach is to have a good assessment of your body condition first and then use it as a guideline to help determine your right course of action. This, together with your honest answers to how much time, money and effort that you would like to put into the exercise, are the determining factors on how successful you can be. I think it is only sensible to take a longer time and more moderate approach rather than going through some drastic regimens of extreme and punishing diets which can only kill your will power and good intention. May I suggest just changing your food choices to more healthful ones as a start which may take longer to see the effects but at least more doable and enjoyable?

Overall, if you can manage to feed and flush yourself with more good clean and nutritional fluids such as good clean water, freshly squeezed fruits and vegetables juice and homemade broth, cut down on meat consumption, eat a little bit less and do sweat inducing exercises daily for about 45 minutes, you are on the right path to spring clean your body for better health.

On healthy food choices for detoxification, vegetables with high fiber content would be the best choice. Chive, garlic stem, daikon, bok-choy, watercress, yu-choy, collard green, kelp and seaweed are good in cleansing our stomach and digestive tract. Mushroom, beans and seeds are other good detox agents. Most mushrooms have anti-oxidant properties and are effective in fighting tumors and abnormal cell development. Beans and seeds are effective in helping the body to eliminate abnormal retention of water and waste products.

Mushrooms have a good reputation for delivering great health benefits. Most western people know about Asian shiitake mushroom and consume it regularly but they may not know about another black mushroom called cloud-ear mushroom.

Cloud-ear mushroom is smaller in size, thinner, more fragile and very different than shiitake. It is more a fungus than mushroom and the shape is like human ear. They are grown on wet tree trunks and cluster together like a stack of clouds. They are known to be very effective in cleaning the lungs, reducing plague and cholesterol. They are commonly used in Chinese home cooking because they are easily available and affordable. They are mostly sold dried therefore can be kept for a long time. They can be fully rehydrated after soaking for about 15 minutes and a little can turn into a lot so very easy and economical to use.

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The mushroom itself is almost tasteless, just needs a few minutes to cook but its slippery and crunchy texture makes it a very unique culinary ingredient. Even with longer time cooking will not change its texture. Therefore, cloud-ear mushroom is best for putting in a stir-fry, quick soup recipes and vegetarian stew. You can also put it in salad or some appetizer dishes after quick cooking in hot water.

Last week, I was so pleasantly surprised when I found fresh cloud-ear mushroom for sale in Chinese supermarkets in the Greater Toronto area. They are now being farmed in some Ontario mushroom farms together with many other exotic species. I am so happy to be able to use them fresh in many recipes now.

Whenever I buy cloud-ear mushroom, my 95 year old mom (living with me) will tell her story again on how her father made them all eat a bowl first thing in the morning before breakfast when they were young and how much he loved and cared for them. They were using the dried ones then and have them soaked in an open pot overnight on the roof-top terrace to get some morning dew before cooking with a little sugar to make it tasty for children. This is the kind of breakfast that will make so much difference to our heath compared to eating a bowl of sweet cereal. However, I think this is a hard act to follow and I truly admire the grandfather whom I had never met.

The following is an easy stir-fry recipe which I have put together just for demonstration. I used ingredients I have on hand. Crunchy and easy to cook ingredients such as onion, zucchini, cucumber and sweet peppers go well together with this mushroom. You just vary them according to your liking.  Sometimes I put the mushroom in vegetable soups and finish the soup with egg wash to make it a little bit fancier. I have also come to notice some Chinese dim-sum restaurants are using cloud-ear mushroom in their appetizers other than just in their usual steamed chicken.

Cloud-Ear Mushroom with Chicken Stir-Fry

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Ingredients

  • Cloud-ear mushroom
  • Asparagus
  • Red onion
  • King mushroom
  • Chicken breast
  • Minced ginger and garlic

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Directions

  • Rinse and cut ingredients to desire thickness and length.
  • Rinse and slice chicken breast thinly. Season with salt, pepper, cooking oil, soy sauce, potato starch and sesame oil.
  • Heat wok, add mined ginger and garlic and stir briefly. Add onion and other vegetables to cook for a couple of minutes. Then add mushrooms and mix in seasoning to taste. When the cloud-ear mushrooms starting to make popping sound, sprinkle in a little cooking wine and a little water. Mix and cover with lid to cook for a few minutes.  Then put everything aside.
  • Heat wok with a little oil and add minced ginger and garlic to stir-fry chicken slices. When about 70 % cooked, sprinkle in cooking wine and return mushrooms & vegetable to the cooking to mix the ingredients. Put everything to plate when chicken is completely cooked.