Friday, August 06, 2010

Chinese Snow Fungus Herbal Soup

Snow fungus (雪耳) can also be called silver ear fungus (银耳) or white wood ear fungus ( 白木耳).  It is just like the name implied, it is a species of fungus, white in color that grows on dead attached and recently fallen branches of broadleaf trees.  It is widely available in the tropics and is cultivated for used in Chinese medicine and Chinese cuisine.  White fungus contains much iron, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus. It is said to be effective in nourishing the lungs, healing dry cough and clearing heat in the lungs.  We used it in sweet and savory dishes.  Most common dessert would be white fungus stewed in rock sugar with red dates and dried longan.  But I liked mine in savory herbal soup.

I think I didn't boil mine long enough as my snow fungus was crunchy instead of soft.  Is there any other way to make the snow fungus soft besides soaking it in warm water and long simmering time?  


  • Pork ribs, about a bowl
  • Snow fungus, about 2, soak in warm water overnight to soften, cleaned
  • Dried scallops or dried oysters, rinsed
  • Yellow beans, about 1/4 cup, soak for 1 hour
  • Dried red dates, about 10
  • Dried longans, about 8
  • Dried Polygonatum (Yok Chook), about 10-12 pieces
  • Salt to taste before serving


1.  In a pot, add pork ribs and cold water just enough to cover the pork ribs, let it boil for 2-3 minutes, drain and wash the pork ribs.

2.  Add in 1500ml water in a pot, let it boil, add in the cleaned ribs, dried scallops, snow fungus and the rest of the ingredients.  Turn to low heat and let it simmer for 2-3 hours or until the ribs are tender and fall off the bone.  Season to taste with salt before serving.


Belinda @zomppa said...

Whoa. This is something my dad would want to eat! Looks pretty.

tigerfish said...

The only way I know to make them softer is to cook them longer. Maybe you shd start by cooking the fungus first, then add the other ingredients? ;p

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Interesting! I always associate snow fungus with tong sui, but you are right, who is to say we can't use it in a savoury soup too?

Sook said...

The soup looks authentic and yummy!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

woman like us must drink this soup more.

daphne said...

What a nutritious and warm soup!

DuaVillas said...

you can cook it overnite in a slow cooker for 8-12 hours. that will make it gelatinous.

Little Corner of Mine said...

Thanks Belinda. Eating snow fungus is good for us.

Haha, thanks Tigerfish.

Ju, I actually prefer it in savory soup. We even use it in stir-fry along with vegetable.

Thanks Sook.

Yes Sonia, next time I will try it with slow cooker as suggested below.

Thanks Daphne.

Thank you Duavillas, will try your suggestion next time. :)

Lamchop said...

Aww, this reminds me of the shuet yi tong sui that my mom use to make. She use to boil them with fruits (pears/apples) I believe. Tastes so good refrigerated!

noobcook said...

good idea to add pork ribs and other stuff to make it a savoury soup. I've only made the tong shui version before, will try your version. Hmm I like crunchy snow fungus over soft ones hehe

Kimberly Peterson said...

This really reminds me of home, haven't had anything that looks so authentically Chinese in ages! Thanks for sharing.

Little Corner of Mine said...

Lampchop, that sounds great, will be sweet with pear/apple.

Haha noobcook, I like it crunchy and soft. :P

You're welcome Kimberly!

Baking Fiend said...

learnt this from my mom. apparently, there's 2 types of snow fungus, the crunchy and soft type. I prefer the soft ones anytime, be it in desserts or soups. :) so next time u intend to get some, ask the store-keeper for the soft ones. the soft ones u hv to keep an eye when u put them in, they turn soft pretty fast!

Anh said...

Lovely! I remember my Chinese friend made a similar soup for me once. Love white fungus

Little Corner of Mine said...

Thanks baking fiend! I didn't know there were two types of snow fungus. The one sold here is prepackaged and I don't think the store person will know the difference.

Anh, yeah it's good for our body too.

superbadkitty said...

Hello there,

Thanks for an interesting post. I have been cooking snow fungus for only a few months. It is not a myth when they say it is the poor man's bird's nest. I have found that when I have eaten snow fungus daily or 3 times a week, my complexion is at its most beautiful (even better than it has been after sweating it out at the gym!). My skin becomes fairer, clearer, softer and smoother. Better results than when I used to take bird's nest everyday. I have started to make snow fungus in savoury dishes now because I don't take sugar (even though I love the classic snow fungus dessert). I usually soak the snow fungus in cold or room temperature water for about 30 mins to 1 hour or as soon as it softens - and then cook it for about 1 hour. I have found once that soaking the snow fungus for too long - ie too many hours when I have forgotten about it or am too busy to cook it, it tends to stay whole and chewy and even after long cooking times, it doesn't break down into its wonderful gelatinous texture. Hope that helps.


Little Corner of Mine said...

Thank you Kitty, I am going to try your method next time if I am short of time or the slow cooker method. I like it gelatinous.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how long the soup lasts in the fridge?

Also I am wondering if I soak the fungus then put it in the fridge to use for a few days will it have bacteria?

Little Corner of Mine said...

Hi Anon,

Best eaten within 3-4 days. It should be fine if you put it in the fridge for 3 days before cooking.