Cloud ear fungus that grows on dead wood, available fresh or dried. If fresh they have a bland flavour but take up the flavour of the foods with which they are cooked. They should not be fried as they explode, but should be stewed for at least an hour. If dried they are black and are broken into small pieces. They swell hugely when soaked. Dried mushrooms may also be ground to a powder, in which form it may be used to flavour soups and stocks.