Chilled Cucumber And Wood Ear Mushroom Salad Recipe for Summer Gatherings

Chilled cucumber and wood ear mushroom salad traces its roots to East Asian cuisine and has gained popularity for its refreshing properties. It’s especially favored in Chinese and Japanese culinary traditions. The dish is a staple in various Asian countries due to its simplicity and versatility. You can often find this salad served in restaurants and homes alike, particularly in warmer climates where light, refreshing dishes are preferred.

Key Ingredients

The main ingredients in this salad are cucumbers and wood ear mushrooms, both known for their unique textures and health benefits.

  1. Cucumbers: These vegetables add a crisp, cool element to the salad. They are high in water content and contain essential vitamins and minerals, making them a hydrating and nutritious choice.
  2. Wood Ear Mushrooms: Also known as black fungus, these mushrooms offer a slightly crunchy texture. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, contributing to the overall nutritional value of the salad.

Additional ingredients often include:

  • Garlic: Adds a robust flavor.
  • Soy Sauce: Provides a savory umami taste.
  • Vinegar: Adds tanginess and balance.
  • Sesame Oil: Offers a nutty aroma and richness.
  • Chili Oil: Adds a spicy kick, if desired.

These components create a balanced, flavorful salad that’s both enjoyable and beneficial for your health.

Health Benefits

Nutritional Value of Ingredients

The chilled cucumber and wood ear mushroom salad packs a variety of nutrients. Cucumbers contribute vitamins C and K, potassium, and magnesium. Wood ear mushrooms are rich in fiber, antioxidants, iron, and essential B vitamins. Combining these ingredients creates a dish high in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial compounds while remaining low in calories, making it a nutritional powerhouse.

Benefits from Wood Ear Mushrooms

Wood ear mushrooms offer numerous health advantages. They are excellent for improved digestion due to their high fiber content. These mushrooms also help in boosting immunity, thanks to their rich antioxidant profile, which includes polyphenols. Additionally, wood ear mushrooms contribute to cardiovascular health by aiding in cholesterol level management.

Benefits from Cucumbers

Cucumbers provide hydration, as they are composed of approximately 95% water. They contain silica, aiding in skin health by improving elasticity. The nutrients in cucumbers, such as vitamin K, support bone health. Their antioxidant properties also play a role in combating inflammation and protecting cells from damage.

How to Prepare Chilled Cucumber and Wood Ear Mushroom Salad

Required Ingredients

To make this chilled cucumber and wood ear mushroom salad, gather the following ingredients:

  • Cucumbers: 2 medium-sized, thinly sliced.
  • Wood Ear Mushrooms: 1 cup dried, soaked and sliced.
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced.
  • Soy Sauce: 2 tablespoons.
  • Vinegar: 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.
  • Sesame Oil: 1 tablespoon.
  • Chili Oil: 1 teaspoon, optional for a spicier kick.
  • Salt: To taste.
  • Sugar: 1 teaspoon.
  • Green Onions: 2, finely chopped.
  • Cilantro: 1/4 cup, chopped for garnish.
  • Sesame Seeds: 1 teaspoon, toasted for garnish.
  1. Prepare Wood Ear Mushrooms
    Soak dried wood ear mushrooms in warm water for 20-30 minutes until they rehydrate. Rinse thoroughly, remove any tough parts, and slice into thin strips.
  2. Slice Cucumbers
    Thinly slice the cucumbers, ideally using a mandoline for uniform thickness. Lightly sprinkle salt on the cucumber slices and set them aside for 10 minutes to draw out excess water. Rinse and drain well.
  3. Combine Ingredients
    In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced cucumbers and wood ear mushrooms. Add minced garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili oil.
  4. Season and Mix
    Add salt and sugar to the bowl. Toss everything together until well-mixed and evenly coated with the dressing.
  5. Chill the Salad
    Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Chilling allows the flavors to meld.
  6. Garnish and Serve
    Before serving, sprinkle finely chopped green onions, cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds on top. Serve chilled for a refreshing experience.

This straightforward process ensures you prepare a delicious, nutrient-packed chilled cucumber and wood ear mushroom salad with ease.

Serving Suggestions

Best Times to Serve

Offer the chilled cucumber and wood ear mushroom salad during warmer months for a refreshing dish. It’s ideal for summer barbecues and picnics. The salad works well as an appetizer before the main course. Include it in buffet spreads to provide a light, crisp option. Serve it during Asian-themed dinners to complement traditional dishes.


Pair the salad with grilled meats like chicken or beef skewers. It balances rich, savory flavors with its freshness. Offer it alongside sushi and sashimi to add texture contrast. Combine it with noodles or rice dishes to create a more filling meal. Serve with spring rolls and dumplings for a cohesive appetizer spread.


Chilled cucumber and wood ear mushroom salad is a refreshing and nutritious addition to your culinary repertoire. Its unique combination of textures and flavors makes it a versatile dish that’s perfect for warm-weather gatherings. Whether you’re serving it as an appetizer or a side dish, this salad is sure to impress your guests with its simplicity and health benefits. Pair it with a variety of dishes to create a balanced and delightful meal. So next time you’re planning a summer barbecue or picnic, don’t forget to include this delightful salad on your menu.

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