Dried products, such as Chinese black mushrooms, cloud ears, and golden needles, have to be reconstituted in order to return them to their former pliable state. To do this, soak them for 20 minutes or longer in enough hot water for them to expand fully. Then remove them from the soaking liquid, squeeze out excess water, but leave them damp. The soaking liquid for the black mushrooms can be reserved for the stockpot or for sauce, but the liquid for cloud ears and golden needles should be discarded.
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