This delicious stir-fry combines the benefits of mushrooms, wood ears, greens and herbs. Serve with rice.
1⁄2 cup (3⁄4 ounce, or 20 grams) dried black wood ear (hei mu er in Chinese, kikurage in Japanese)
A pinch of salt
4 medium-size (3⁄4 ounce, or 20 grams dried; 1⁄4 pound fresh) dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 (1⁄2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 medium-size green onion, chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces, roots and tough tips discarded
1 medium-size cluster bok choy, (about 1⁄2 pound), cut into 1 by 2-inch strips grouped by color (white and green parts)
1 teaspoon soy sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon powdered kudzu, arrowroot, cornstarch, or other thickener
2 tablespoons cold water
1. Place the dried wood ear in a bowl of warm water with the salt and soak for about 30 minutes, or until soft (it will expand to two to five times its original size). If you are using dried shiitake mushrooms, soak them with the wood ear; if you are using fresh shiitakes, simply rinse them.
2. Cut the wood ear and shiitakes into 1⁄4-inch pieces, discarding the fibrous base from the wood ear and, if desired, the stem from the shiitake.
3. Heat the sesame oil in a wok or sauté pan over medium-high heat.
4. Add the ginger, garlic, and green onions, and stir-fry for a few seconds, until fragrant.
5. Add the white stalks of the bok choy and stir-fry for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
6. Add the wood ear, shiitake mushrooms and leafy part of the bok choy and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
7. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for another 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are done. Stir in the soy sauce.
8. Mix the kudzu with about 2 tablespoons of cold water and stir out the lumps, then add the mixture to the wok. Cook for a minute, stirring, to mix the flavors together and set the thickener, then serve warm.
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