The 5 Best Wood Ear Mushroom Substitutes

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The black fungus, also known as hei mu er (wood ear mushroom), has been used in Chinese cookery since the Han Dynasty.

Because of their neutral taste, wood ear mushrooms are often used to thicken soups and are frequently served with tofu.

They are typically available dried, but may be bought fresh in select Asian stores.

It is a popular mushroom in traditional Chinese, Taiwanese, and Hong Kong cuisines.

They have a crisp and somewhat chewy texture, as well as a relatively mild taste that allows them to absorb additional flavors.

They are frequently used in Chinese cuisines for their characteristic black color, such as golden needle mushroom soup (nou Huang xi gua cai tang) and braised meals like red-braised pork belly with preserved vegetables.

It is used in many Asian cuisines and dishes to give food a black color and a crunchy texture, as well as a faint woodsy or earthy taste.

Wood ear mushrooms are mainly found dry, however certain specialist food shops sell them fresh throughout the fall months.

Wood ear mushrooms are also known as cloud ear fungus and tree ear fungus.

In cookery, there are many alternatives to wood ear mushrooms.

If you don’t have or can’t get wood ear mushrooms for your dish, these are the top five substitutions.

What exactly is Wood Ear Mushroom?

The wood ear mushroom, commonly known as black fungus, has been utilized in Chinese cookery for over 3000 years.

It has a crisp texture and a delicate earthy taste that complements stronger components such as ginger, garlic, scallions, and sesame oil.

Wood ear mushrooms are taken when they are at their most fragile and light in color.

They are often served as an appetizer or to add texture to soups, stir-fries, stews, salads, and noodle or rice dishes.

They may also be found in recipes that are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.

Fresh wood ear mushrooms are available in most Asian grocery shops and well-stocked supermarkets.

If you can’t locate them fresh, you can have them dried or canned (in brine or sauce).

Look for clean wood ear mushrooms with a glossy, smooth shell and no evidence of drying or yellowing.

Fresh wood ear mushrooms should be kept in the refrigerator for approximately a week.

They may also be washed and prepared ahead of time to make cooking simpler.

Before using dried wood ear mushrooms, they must be reconstituted.

They come in a variety of sizes. Smaller mushrooms are great for stir-fries and soups, whereas bigger mushrooms are great for braising or preparing vegetarian meat.

The 5 Best Wood Ear Mushroom Substitutes

Even if you can’t locate wood ear mushrooms, you can still make many of your favorite meals.

Here are five viable options:

1 mushroom enoki

This is something you should try if you’re seeking for a suitable alternative for wood ear mushrooms or enoki mushrooms.

To begin, these two varieties of mushrooms have distinct textures.

The texture of the wood ear mushroom is tougher, while the texture of the enoki mushroom is more sensitive.

If this is what you’re looking, try substituting enoki mushrooms for wood ear mushrooms.

Enoki mushrooms are often white or brown in color, however they may also be found in black.

They have a mild taste and go nicely with Asian-inspired dishes.

Some even serve them as a garnish.

If you want an earthy taste, try wood ear mushrooms.

Enoki may be used in a variety of meals, including soups, salads, stir-fries, and even sushi.

They also just take a few of minutes to cook.

You may save money by growing your own enoki mushrooms at home.

2 Mushrooms, Oyster

Oyster mushrooms are an excellent substitute for wood ear mushrooms.

They provide color, texture, and nutrients to your foods while having a moderate taste.

Oyster mushrooms, like enoki mushrooms, blend nicely with Asian-inspired tastes and may also be used as a garnish.

They grow in clusters, and these fungi are often seen in the wild.

They are usually white or gray, with a tinge of brown.

You should always seek for examples with tiny, closed crowns.

If you locate one with an open top, it is beginning to dry out and will be less tasty.

Fresh oyster mushrooms are available at most supermarkets and grocery shops.

Oyster mushrooms come in a variety of sizes.

The bigger ones are ideal for vegetarian stir-fries, while the smaller ones are ideal for soups and salads.

Since raw oyster mushrooms may contain toxins, they should never be consumed or used in dishes that require cooking.

3 Mushrooms with Cloud Ears

Cloud ear mushrooms are also called as tree ear mushrooms in Mandarin.

This is another excellent option for wood ear mushrooms in dishes where they will be cooked rather than consumed raw.

It has a somewhat crunchy texture and an intriguing but not overwhelming flavor.

They have a distinct cloud-like look, as the name implies, and are often seen in Asian marketplaces.

They are mainly dried, although fresh ones may be found in certain spots.

Although it may be difficult to distinguish between cloud ear mushrooms and wood ear mushrooms while they are raw, a simple test will suffice.

While purchasing cloud ears, make certain that they are clean and mold-free.

To determine if they are fresh, place one in your mouth and chew it.

If it tastes doughy, you should avoid buying this type of mushroom because it is going bad.

4 Wood Ear Mushrooms, Drying

This is a handy option, however using dried wood ear mushrooms instead of fresh ones may be more costly.

Since they have a comparable taste and texture, there is no need to be concerned about the flavor of your dish altering much when you make this substitute.

Several Asian grocery shops sell dried wood ear mushrooms.

If you can’t locate them, you can always look them up on the Internet.

They usually come in little dried bits that may be rehydrated in warm water.

Careful not to soak them for too long or they will get slimy and lose their taste.

It is critical to never attempt to swap fresh wood ear mushrooms with dried ones.

The fresh kind is considerably more delicious than the dried version and would not work in your dish.

5 Portobello Mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms, often known as brown beech mushrooms, are an excellent alternative to wood ear.

These mushrooms have a somewhat sweet taste and go well with salads or vegetables cooked together.

Because of their robust texture, some chefs like to use them in lieu of meat.

Fresh chestnut mushrooms are normally available in most supermarkets and grocery shops, although they may also be purchased dried or tinned in select locations.

The dried version may be difficult to cook with since they take a long time to rehydrate, so don’t attempt to replace them while cooking rapidly.

Chestnut mushrooms have a light brown hue and give a variety of textures to your cuisine.

They taste similar to most other mushrooms, yet they have a distinct earthy flavor that sets them apart.


Wood ear mushrooms are notoriously difficult to locate and identify.

However, utilizing various varieties of edible mushrooms will not alter the overall flavor of your food and will bring a new flavor that you may not have experienced otherwise.

Each of these substitutions is quite nutritious and low in fat, so there’s no need to worry about your meal being unhealthy; in fact, you can convince yourself it’s a wonderful treat.

If none of these solutions work for you, don’t overthink the replacement.

There are several more edible mushrooms that will most likely suffice.

You may also inquire at your local grocery shop or farmers market about what additional possibilities are available.

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