White fungus (tremella fuciformisis) is also known as snow fungus. It is commercially cultivated due to it’s popularity in Chinese cuisine and medicine. It is wildly found on the dead branches of broadleaf trees.
In Mandarin Chinese, it is called 银耳 (pinyin: yín ěr; literally “silver ear”), 雪耳 (pinyin: xuě ěr; literally “snow ear”); or 白木耳 (pinyin: bái mù ěr, literally “white wood ear”), and in Japanese it is called shiro kikurage (シロキクラゲ, lit. “white tree jellyfish”). In Vietnam, it is called nấm tuyết or ngân nhĩ.
White fungus is known for its medicinal benefits, namely anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor. In Chinese families, it is commonly used in soups. It is eaten because it nourishes the body, heals dry coughs, clears heat in the lungs and keeps skin young.
It doesn’t really taste of anything but it has a gelatinous texture.
Preparation & Storage
Only dried white fungus is sold in Asian supermarkets. Usually it is stored in a cool dark place.
When it is dried it is yellow in colour. The colour changes to white once it have been soaked in water. White fungus should be covered with water as it expands considerably. I generally soak it in water for at least an hour or until it is transparent before cooking with it.
The bottom of the white fungus will still remain hard and needs to be removed before it can be used.
Cooking with White Fungus
White fungus is cooked with rock sugar in a sweet soup or with chicken in a savory version is among the popular dishes. Occasionally, you may also see it in stir-fries, vegetarian style in particular.
You can use black fungus
Where can I buy it?
Almost all Asian supermarkets will sell it.