So why is this mushroom called Monkey Head? That’s what you want to know, right? Well, when first picked the bulbous mushroom possesses long, hairy spines that give it a soft and furry look. That, combined with the shape, makes the mushroom look a bit like a small monkey’s noggin.
In Chinese and Tibetan cuisine the mushroom is used most often as a vegetarian replacement for pork, beef, lamb, and venison. The texture is somewhat scallop-like. Once reconstituted it usually seared or simply added to soups and stews where its meaty texture and gamey flavor can best be appreciated.