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Dried Vegetables and Fungi

Chinese dried mushrooms
Widely used for their flavour and aroma. Soak them in warm water for 20 minutes before using.

Wood ears (also known as cloud ears)
Dried grey-black fungi which should be soaked in warm water for 20 minutes before use. They have a crunchy texture and a mild flavour.

Straw mushrooms
A delight to your eye and a treat for your palate with their subtle, gentle flavor. They are completely different to other Chinese mushrooms in flavour and texture. They are only available canned.

Dried chestnuts
Soak overnight in cold water then simmer in fresh water for 20 minutes.

Lotus nuts
Available dried or canned in syrup. If dried, they should be soaked for 24 hours before use.

Lotus leaves
Often used to wrap food before cooking, in the same way the West uses foil. The food is then usually steamed, the leaves imparting a special flavour to the food. The parcels are usually served whole and unwrapped at the table, the leaves being discarded afterwards.

Tiger lily buds (also known as golden needles)
They have a musky, slightly acrid flavour. Soak for 30 minutes in hot water before use.

Dried tangerine peel
Gives a strong orangey flavour to meat and stews. Soak for 20 minutes in warm water before use. You can dry your own.

Dried seaweed
Sold in wads. When deep-fried in oil it becomes crisp and has a toasted fragrance.

Hair seaweed
Fine black dried seaweed. A traditional ingredient of some vegetarian Buddhist dishes. It should be soaked for at least 20 minutes before use.

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