Vegetarian Jap Chae (Stir-Fried Sweet Potato noodles)

My mom used to make this dish for dinner parties, so it always has a special-occasion feel for me. I love the springiness of Korean sweet potato noodles (which, by the way, are gluten-free), but they sometimes get a little long and/or tangled. If that happens, just cut them with kitchen scissors after cooking and rinsing them. Traditionally, this dish is made with beef; here I've used vegetables, but you can substitute any protein, including tofu, scallops or chicken.


Serves 4-6


for the noodles

For the eggs

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch kosher salt or sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a splash of water

For the vegetables

  • 1-inch knob ginger, peeling and grated
  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, destemmed, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls, kale, destemmed and ripped roughly
  • ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, shaved into thin ribbons using a peeler
  • 1 handful of broccolini, trimmed

For the sauce

For the garnish



For the noodles

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to the package directions until soft. Briefly rinse in cold water and then drain well. Transfer to a large bowl, toss with the soy sauce until coated, and set aside.

For the eggs

  1. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Beat the salt into the eggs, then add the egg mixture to the skillet, swirling to evenly coat the bottom. Cook, without touching, until the egg is set but just barely browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the bottom is set, again trying not to get too much color on the egg, 15 to 20 seconds more.
  2. Slide onto a cutting board; carefully roll into a log and cut crosswise into thin strips. Set the egg strips aside and wipe out the skillet.

For the vegetables

  1. In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté until just softened. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the mushrooms, kale, bell peppers and cook until slightly softened. Add the zucchini and broccolini, tossing with the other ingredients.
  3. Cook until all the vegetables are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the drained noodles and toss together.

For the sauce

  1. Add the sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce and salt to the skillet. Toss well and cook until the noodles are heated through and glossy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a platter, add the egg strips and finish with the sesame seeds and chili threads, serve immediately.

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My father was born in 1939 in Chongju, a city in what is now in North Korea. He and his family (8 brothers and sisters) fled south during the war and he grew up as a refugee on Jeju island.  He still remembers asking American soldiers for “bonbons” as a child. Somehow he made it to Seoul National University medical school through hard work and determination. He immigrated to the USA to do his internship and residency and practiced as a psychiatrist, until retiring at 75. 
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I love you daddy so much!  Happy happy birthday!  Xx❤️❤️ I’ll always be your little girl! ❤️❤️

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