Silver wood ear (银耳) is a type of fungus used in Chinese cuisine, especially in sweet dishes. It tastes pretty neutral so you have to add extra sugar to make it taste good. Many Chinese women believe eating silver wood ear that has been cooked for hours so it becomes gelatinous, is beneficial for their skin as it improves the collagen matrix. It is also soothing for your lungs if you suffer from long-term, dry coughing, according to Chinese traditional medicine.
I am not a big fan of silver wood ear. I believe good skin results from eating a healthy and balanced diet, proper exercise and good sleep, if you just want to rely solely on this, it’s not going to work. After all, it’s not a magical medicine. It’s just a nice sweet and nutritious soup to have from time to time. ;)
Fresh lychees are great, though if you can’t find it in your city, you can choose the canned one also.
Health Index: ⅘ (4 to 5 times a week)
Kitchen Gadgets: Pot
1 head of dried silver wood ear – (25g)
2 tbsp goji berries
rock sugar to taste (traditional Chinese method)
agave nectar to taste (suitable for sugar-sensitive people, I also use this in mine).
fresh lychees (1 or 2 for each bowl)
1. Soak dried silver wood ear and goji berries together for 20 minutes, rinse well and break the silver wood ear to small pieces, remove the stems and set the soaked goji berries aside.
2. Add 1ltr of water to the pot, add the soaked wood ear and sugar. (Diabetics omit sugar). Bring it to boil.
3. Turn to lowest heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or if you are using a slow-cooker, you can simmer it for 2 to 3 hours if you want to achieve the gelatinous state (I seldom have the patience).
4. Turn off the heat, add the goji berries, put on lid and let it sit for 10 to 30 minutes.
5. Add ice cubes, agave nectar, fresh lychees and enjoy!
Agave nectar is a low GI sweetener, suitable for people who are sensitive to sugar or have diabetes. It is also a healthy alternative sweetener for people without sugar problem. However agave nectar might not be readily available, plus, it is expensive. So it is up to you to choose your suitable sweetener.