That Spicy Chick

Pork and Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry

This Pork and Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry is quick and easy to make, and perfect for busy weeknights! Thinly sliced pork strips are coated in starch and briefly blanched to develop a silky and smooth texture. They’re then stir-fried with aromatics, cucumber, and tender wood ear mushrooms in a mouthwatering savory, slightly sweet, and fragrant sauce!

A round white serving bowl with stir-fried thinly sliced pork, cucumber, and wood ear mushroom with garlic, ginger, spring onion, dried red chilies, and fresh red chilies.

I have a rule: If you like something that you eat regularly at a restaurant (or get for takeaway), DO NOT FOR THE LIFE OF YOU attempt to make it at home.

One of two things will happen if you do:

A) You will nail it on the bullseye, and then never want to go back to eat at that restaurant again. Or at the very least, you’ll never want to order that particular dish at that restaurant. ← This is a problem for people like me who like routine, and who order the same two or three dishes on rotation from the same restaurant on weekends in. I’d be one choice short if I replicated the dish perfectly and have no reason to ever order it again. Now that would be a REAL dilemma. 😕
B) You will miss it by so dramatically far that you will get permanently scarred for life and never want to eat that dish ever again. 😱

However, as with all my rules, there are exceptions! Like if the boss of your favorite Sichuan restaurant gets rid of the beloved chef who used to cook all your favorite dishes. Then he hires three rather, umm, creative chefs that astoundingly don’t realize that:

  • Dousing a dish in copious amounts of oil is disgusting. 😳
  • Adding Sichuan red peppercorns to a dish that never was supposed to have any (or ever had before) is annoying. Not to mention frustrating, especially because you remind them every single time not to add the peppercorns. Yet they somehow think they need to throw in an abundance of Sichuan red peppercorns. (Very ironic since you actually always ask them to put less peppercorns in the other dish that you order…)
  • Burnt dried red chilies simply tastes nasty.
A round white serving bowl with stir-fried thinly sliced pork, cucumber, and cloud ear mushroom with garlic, ginger, spring onion, dried red chilies, and fresh red chilies. Two bowls of white rice behind the serving dish.

Anyways, I think you can see where I am going with this. I got fed up of having my takeaways from my favorite Sichuan restaurant ruined for me every weekend after the old chef left. So, I took matters into my own hands with that one particular dish I love so dearly much. ❤️

I now present to you my own mouthwatering Pork and Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry (Mu Er Rou Pian – 木耳肉片)! 🎉🤗

And I can vouch that it’s a million times better than your average Chinese takeout!

A white serving bowl with stir-fried thinly sliced pork, cucumber, and Asian black fungus with garlic, ginger, spring onion, dried red chilies, and fresh red chilies. Two bowls of white rice behind the serving dish and black chopsticks to the side.

HERE’S WHAT WE HAVE GOING ON IN THIS PORK AND WOOD EAR MUSHROOM STIR-FRY

This tasty dish is super quick and easy to make at home, and has so many brilliant textures and flavors! We’ve got:

  • Silky, smooth, and tender pork strips. The result of coating thinly sliced pork strips in a starch mixture, and then water blanching them briefly with a bit of oil.
  • Tender and chewy Asian black fungus. These mushrooms not only taste good and have an interesting texture, but they are also extremely good for you! They’re good for heart health, improve blood circulation, and are rich in B complex vitamins too.
  • Softened but still somewhat crisp English cucumber slices.
  • Aromatics like garlic, ginger, spring onion and a couple of fresh and dried red chilies for a kick of heat!
  • A fragrant sauce that’s savory and a bit sweet, and ridiculously tasty!

Right, let’s grab all the ingredients and make this easy and delicious stir-fry for dinner tonight!

Hand holding up four pieces of dried cloud ear mushrooms above a stainless steel bowl with dried wood ear mushrooms soaking in water
Dried Cloud Ear Mushroom

PORK AND WOOD EAR MUSHROOM STIR-FRY INGREDIENTS

  • Pork: I used pork loin. But you can also use tenderloin or lean pork instead if you like.
  • Chicken Powder: Using chicken powder to flavor meats and season stir-fries is very common in Chinese and Asian cuisines. You’ll need just a little bit to flavor the pork. I recommend using Lee Kum Kee’s Premium Chicken Bouillon Powder without MSG. If you prefer, you can use kosher salt to season the pork instead.
  • Ground White Pepper: To also flavor the pork. White pepper is actually hotter than black pepper, so you will need just a pinch to season the pork.
  • Corn Starch: To coat the pork strips before we water blanch them.
  • Potato Starch: The other half of our starch mixture for coating the pork before water blanching the strips.
  • Sesame Oil: You’ll need just a bit of oil to add to the water that you’ll be using to blanch the pork. Traditionally and in most Chinese restaurants, meats are actually blanched in a wok of oil. I’ve found that you can achieve similar results at home to create the silky and tender texture on the pork strips by water blanching with just a tiny bit of oil. This way, it’s less mess and you don’t have to worry about what to do with all the excess used oil. 🙌
  • For the Sauce: A quick and easy combination of low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil.
  • Aromatics: Some garlic, ginger, and spring onion.
  • Red Chilies: Just one or two for some heat. Feel free to omit the chilies or deseed them to make this dish milder.
  • Cucumber: I recommend using an English cucumber because they have very small and thin seeds that are easy to chew.
  • Dried Wood (or Cloud Ear) Mushrooms: These Asian mushrooms resemble ears in appearance (hence the name), and belong to the Auriculariaceae family. They have a rubbery and chewy texture, and are very popular in Chinese and Sichuan cuisine. Cloud ear mushrooms are similar to wood ear mushrooms, but the latter are more tender and smaller in size. They can be used interchangeably most of the time. In fact, I actually use whichever I have on hand in my pantry for this dish and both taste great! What you see in the pictures here are dried cloud ear mushrooms that have been rehydrated. You can find dried wood or cloud ear mushrooms in packages in Asian grocery stores in the US and UK, or purchase them online. In Asia, you can usually find fresh and dried versions of both types of mushrooms in your local supermarket and wet market.
  • Water: To help soften the cucumber slices.
  • Dried Red Chilies: Use just a few, or omit if you prefer to make this dish mild. I like to break them up into pieces so that the seeds inside can release their spicy oils in the wok. But if you aren’t big on spicy food, you can opt to add them in whole.
  • Seasonings: Just some kosher salt, sugar, and ground white pepper to taste.
  • Cornstarch slurry: To help thicken the sauce. Mix two teaspoons corn starch with ¼ cup water to make this. Be sure to mix the slurry again with a spoon just before adding into the wok because the corn starch will separate and settle at the bottom.
  • Peanut Oil and Sesame Oil: For cooking. You are welcome to swap the peanut oil for any other oil with a high burning point such as avocado oil. But the sesame oil will add plenty of flavor to the dish, so make sure you go out and grab a bottle if you don’t already have it on hand!
Hand holding up two pieces of rehydrated cloud ear mushrooms above a stainless steel bowl with water and rehydrated wood ear mushrooms.
Rehydrated Cloud Ear Mushroom

HOW TO MAKE PORK AND WOOD EAR MUSHROOM STIR-FRY

As always, I recommend getting all the prep work out of the way first. Stir-fries tend to go by very quickly, so it’s best to have everything ready and on hand once you start cooking.

  1. Marinate the pork: Trim and remove excess fat from the pork cut, then thinly slice into strips. Combine the pork, chicken powder, ground white pepper, corn starch, and potato starch in a large bowl. Mix with chopsticks or a spoon until the pork is evenly coated, then set aside for 10-20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients so that the pork can absorb the seasonings.
  2. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Thinly slice the garlic, roughly chop the ginger, and chop the fresh red chilies and spring onion. Separate the whites and green parts of the spring onion as they will be added to the wok at different times.
  3. Make the sauce: Combine the low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, rice vinegar, sweet dark soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl or measuring cup (the latter will make it easier to pour into the wok). Mix with a spoon to thoroughly combine, then set aside.
  4. Boil the mushrooms: Soak the mushrooms in a bowl of water for 20 minutes to rehydrate. Then drain and rinse thoroughly. Cut the wood ears into smaller pieces if they are on the larger side. Then heat water over high heat in a small pot until boiling. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and boil for 3-5 minutes. Drain into a colander and rinse the mushrooms thoroughly again (the water from the pot will be dirty). Set aside.
  5. Blanche the pork: Rinse out the pot you used to boil the mushrooms and fill it up again with water. Add 1 TSP sesame oil to the water and heat over high heat until boiling. Then add the pork and briefly blanch for 20-25 seconds. Switch off the heat and quickly drain into a mesh strainer. Set aside.
  6. Make the corn starch slurry: Combine the corn starch and water in a small bowl or measuring cup (for easier pouring). Mix until combined and a slurry has formed, then set aside.
Thinly sliced starch coated blanched pork strips in a mesh strainer.

Now that you’ve got everything ready, it’s time to stir-fry and have this amazing Pork and Wood Ear Mushroom dish on the table in under 15 minutes!

  1. Sauté aromatics: In a large wok, heat the peanut oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the garlic, ginger, and spring onion whites. Sauté until fragrant – about 1 minute.
  2. Cook the cucumber: Next, add the cucumber slices and stir-fry to separate the slices from each other if they are stuck together. Then pour in the 1/3 cup of water and cover the wok. Briefly steam for 2-3 minutes to soften. Uncover the wok and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until almost all of the water has evaporated.
  3. Add the chilies: Add the dried and fresh red chilies and continue stir-frying for 30-40 seconds, or until they start to release their fragrance.
  4. Throw in the mushrooms: Add the mushrooms and toss briefly to combine.
  5. Add pork, sauce and seasonings: Next, add the pork, the sauce, kosher salt, sugar, and white pepper to taste and toss to combine.
  6. Thicken the sauce: Then give the cornstarch slurry a quick stir with a spoon (the corn starch will have settled at the bottom of the cup) and add it into the wok. Stir-fry for a minute or until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Add spring onion greens: Add the spring onion greens and stir-fry for 10 seconds to combine, then switch off the heat.
  8. Serve! Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately with warm steamed rice.

Full ingredient amounts/instruction in the recipe card below.

A white serving bowl with stir-fried thinly sliced pork, cucumber, and wood ear mushroom with garlic, ginger, spring onion, dried red chilies, and fresh red chilies. Two bowls of white rice behind the serving dish and black chopsticks to the side.

CAN I USE CHICKEN INSTEAD OF PORK?

Yes, you definitely can! I like to use a large chicken breast when I don’t have any pork sitting around in my refrigerator and don’t feel like going out to buy some. But you can also use chicken thighs instead. Just thinly slice the chicken and follow the exact same recipe ingredient amounts and instructions to make a Chicken and Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry!

I have not tried making this with beef or lamb, so cannot say how it will turn out. But I do think it could work. If you do try this recipe with a meat other than pork, let us know in the comments how it worked out for you!

A round white serving bowl with stir-fried thinly sliced pork, cucumber, and wood ear mushroom with garlic, ginger, spring onion, dried red chilies, and fresh red chilies. Two bowls of white rice behind the serving dish.

CAN I MAKE THIS GLUTEN-FREE?

Yes! For the pork, swap the chicken powder for kosher salt. For the sauce, use a gluten-free soy sauce and gluten-free dark soy sauce.

Black chopsticks holding up a sauce coated thin pork strip and wood ear mushroom above a serving bowl with pork, cucumber, and wood ear mushroom stir-fry.

CAN I MAKE THIS VEGETARIAN/VEGAN?

To make this vegetarian, swap the pork for diced firm tofu cubes instead. I recommend pan-frying the seasoned starch coated tofu on all sides until crispy instead of water blanching. This will help to prevent them from breaking down when you toss them with the mushrooms and cucumber in the sauce.

Black chopsticks holding up a sauce coated thin pork strip and black fungus above a serving bowl with pork, cucumber, and wood ear mushroom stir-fry.

MORE EASY WEEKNIGHT STIR-FRIES

Looking for more quick and easy Asian stir-fry recipes for busy weeknights? Check out some of my favorites below!


If you make this recipe, leave a comment and review it below with a star rating! Take a photo and be sure to tag it with @thatspicychick on Instagram and hashtag it #thatspicychick so I can see! 😉

If you like this recipe, please share it around. Your support means the world to me. 🤗

Print
A round white serving bowl with stir-fried thinly sliced pork, cucumber, and wood ear mushroom with garlic, ginger, spring onion, dried red chilies, and fresh red chilies.

Pork and Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry

This Pork and Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry is quick and easy to make, and perfect for busy weeknights! Thinly sliced pork strips are coated in starch and briefly blanched to develop a silky and smooth texture. They’re then stir-fried with aromatics, cucumber, and tender wood ear mushrooms in a mouthwatering savory, slightly sweet, and fragrant sauce!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Chinese
Scale

Ingredients

For the Pork:

  • 230g Pork Loin (tenderloin and lean pork is fine too) – excess fat removed and thinly sliced
  • ½ TSP Chicken Powder
  • ¼ TSP ground White Pepper
  • 1 TSP Corn Starch
  • 1 TSP Potato Starch
  • 1 TSP Sesame Oil (for water blanching)

For the Sauce:

  • 1.5 TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBLS Shao Xing Rice Wine
  • ½ TBLS Rice Vinegar
  • 1 TSP Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 TSP Sesame Oil

For the Pork and Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry:

  • 6 Garlic cloves – thinly sliced
  • 1 inch knob of Ginger – thinly sliced into rounds, then roughly chopped
  • 1 Spring Onion – chopped, whites and greens separated
  • 2 Red Chilies – chopped
  • ½ a large English Cucumber – thinly sliced at an angle
  • ½ cup Dried Wood Ear Mushrooms or Dried Cloud Ear Mushrooms – soaked in a bowl of water for 20 minutes, then drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/3 cup Water
  • 58 Dried Red Chilies, to taste – broken up into halves and thirds depending on size
  • ½ TSP Kosher Salt, to taste
  • 23 TSP White Sugar, to taste
  • A pinch of ground White Pepper, to taste
  • 2 TSP Corn Starch + 1/4 cup Water (mixed together to make a slurry)
  • 1.5 TBLS Peanut Oil
  • ½ TBLS Sesame Oil

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Marinate the pork: Trim and remove excess fat from the pork cut, then thinly slice into strips. Combine the pork, chicken powder, ground white pepper, corn starch, and potato starch in a large bowl. Mix with chopsticks or a spoon until the pork is evenly coated, then set aside for 10-20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients so that the pork can absorb the seasonings.
  2. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Thinly slice the garlic, roughly chop the ginger, and chop the fresh red chilies and spring onion. Separate the whites and green parts of the spring onion as they will be added to the wok at different times.
  3. Make the sauce: Combine the low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, rice vinegar, sweet dark soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl or measuring cup (the latter will make it easier to pour into the wok). Mix with a spoon to thoroughly combine, then set aside.
  4. Boil the mushrooms: Soak the mushrooms in a bowl of water for 20 minutes to rehydrate. Then drain and rinse thoroughly. Cut the wood ears into smaller pieces if they are on the larger side. Then heat water over high heat in a small pot until boiling. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and boil for 3-5 minutes. Drain into a colander and rinse the mushrooms thoroughly again (the water from the pot will be dirty). Set aside.
  5. Blanche the pork: Rinse out the pot you used to boil the mushrooms and fill it up again with water. Add 1 TSP sesame oil to the water and heat over high heat until boiling. Then add the pork and briefly boil for 20-25 seconds. Switch off the heat and quickly drain into a mesh strainer. Set aside.
  6. Make the corn starch slurry: Combine the corn starch and water in a small bowl or measuring cup (for easier pouring). Mix until combined and a slurry has formed, then set aside.

For the Pork and Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry:

  1. In a large wok, heat the peanut oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the garlic, ginger, and spring onion whites. Sauté until fragrant – about 1 minute.
  2. Next, add the cucumber slices and stir-fry to separate the slices from each other if they are stuck together. Then pour in the 1/3 cup of water and cover the wok. Briefly steam for 2-3 minutes to soften. Uncover the wok and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until almost all of the water has evaporated.
  3. Add the dried and fresh red chilies and continue stir-frying for 30-40 seconds, or until they start to release their fragrance.
  4. Add the mushrooms and toss briefly to combine.
  5. Next, add the pork, the sauce, kosher salt, sugar, and white pepper to taste and toss to combine.
  6. Then give the cornstarch slurry a quick stir with a spoon (the corn starch will have settled at the bottom of the cup) then add it into the wok. Stir-fry for a minute or until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Add the spring onion greens and stir-fry for 10 seconds to combine, then switch off the heat.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately with warm steamed rice.

Notes

  1. Using Dried Wood Ear Mushrooms vs. Dried Cloud Ear Mushrooms: Pictured here in this recipe are cloud ear mushrooms. But traditionally, this dish is made with wood ear mushrooms in China and in Sichuan restaurants. You can use either interchangeably for this recipe as both taste great. Just be aware that wood ears are more chewy and larger than cloud ears. You may need to cut them into smaller pieces if your wood ears are very large once rehydrated. Cloud ears tend to be smaller and more tender, and I didn’t need to cut them into smaller pieces for this dish. 
  2. To make this with chicken: Thinly slice a large chicken breast or chicken thighs. Follow the exact same recipe ingredient amounts and instructions to make a Chicken and Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry.
  3. To make this gluten-free: For the pork, swap the chicken powder for kosher salt. For the sauce, use a gluten-free soy sauce and gluten-free dark soy sauce.
  4. To make this vegetarian: Swap the pork for diced firm tofu cubes instead. I recommend pan-frying the seasoned starch coated tofu on all sides until crispy instead of water blanching. This will help to prevent them from breaking down when you toss them with the mushrooms and cucumber in the sauce.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 453
  • Sugar: 15.2g
  • Sodium: 1048.1mg
  • Fat: 22.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 16.2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 37.7g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Protein: 30.2g
  • Cholesterol: 74.8mg

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

A white serving bowl with stir-fried thinly sliced pork, cucumber, and Asian black fungus with garlic, ginger, spring onion, dried red chilies, and fresh red chilies. Two bowls of white rice behind the serving dish and black chopsticks to the side.

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

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