Sometimes I just crave meals that I used to indulge in that are totally out of the question now, as I know they will flare up my autoimmune condition, cause a migraine, or give me GI distress... Asian food is one of those.
Typical Asian take out is full of soy, gluten, rancid oils, MSG, white sugar, nightshades, and seeds; all of which are off limits for me. But that doesn't mean I have to accept that I will never get to eat Asian dishes again!
No, no, no! I refuse to let this stop me from creating similar flavors in my own kitchen to satisfy even the most intense craving for take out!
To do this there are a few swaps I use:
Instead of using wheat or rice based noodles, I use sweet potato starch noodles. I remember when I first found these and realized they were AIP friendly and allergy friendly, made them, tried them, and nothing was ever the same! They soak up all the saucy goodness and keep a wonderful texture that reminds me of a cross between chow mien and rice noodles.
Instead of using pre-made sauces or seasonings that contain MSG, I use fish sauce. Fish sauce is amazing at adding that umami flavor you definitely need in an Asian inspired dish. Don't be intimidated by it being fish sauce and smelling quite fishy; the taste mellows out once incorporated with the rest of the sauce and you definitely don't want to skip it!
Instead of white sugar to sweeten Asian sauces, I use honey, coconut nectar, or coconut sugar. Honey helps to make the sauce thicken and coat whatever you put it on.
Instead of wheat and soy based soy sauce, I use coconut aminos. Coconut aminos have a similar taste profile but instead of being overly salty, like its counter point, it has a slight sweetness to it that works wonderfully in Asian dishes!
Instead of rancid oils, like vegetable or peanut oils, I use one of a few fats: avocado oil, bacon fat, or coconut oil. All are appropriate for high heat cooking. I love to use bacon fat we collect from cooking our uncured, sugar free, nightshade free bacon. The extra flavor it adds to dishes is phenomenal!
Instead of using nightshades like peppers, I use raw garlic; which has a spicy kick to it to give you a little bit of that heat you may be missing!
Instead of using seeds like sesame, I just omit them!
So what is japchae? Japchae is a Korean sweet potato starch noodle and veggie dish. This recipe really started as what I thought would be chow mien. But when I shared a photo of the recipe development, a friend of mine let me know that these sweet potato starch noodles are part of the japchae dish, not chow mien. So cool what you can learn from your friends!
You can also make this Japchae your own by using whatever veggies you have on hand! I have also included an option for adding a protein to this dish, chicken! You can also keep it vegetarian by omitting the chicken.
This recipe is nutrient dense, Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) friendly, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, egg free, nightshade free, paleo, primal, & has a vegetarian option!
What Makes this High-Vibing Food?
First and foremost, putting your own love, gratitude, time and energy into making foods at home will automatically raise the vibration of the foods/meal. This will also help to balance your sacral and heart chakras. Putting your love into the food you prepare will literally raise the vibrational frequency as love is the highest vibration out there!
You are what you eat and what your food eats. Using organic, GMO free, free/pasture raised, wild caught, minimally processed ingredients lead to an overall higher vibrational frequency. Basically, eating organic provides us extra energy currency!
This dish includes protein, which is grounding and protective. It also supports the root chakra.
Contains root veggies, which help to provide grounding energy to support the root chakra.
Contains mushrooms, which are grounding and support the root chakra.
This recipe is full of healthy fats and/or oils, which supports the sacral chakra.
Contains orange colored foods. Orange vibrates at about the same frequency as the sacral chakra. So, eating orange foods helps to maintain the proper root chakra frequency.
This recipe is higher in carbohydrates, providing the solar plexus chakra with both long-lasting sugar sources (like fiber) and quick acting sugars like glucose.
This recipe is high in fiber, which supports all three of the lower chakras as it aides in the movement and flow of bulk during the digestive processes.
This recipe is loaded with starchy veggies, which is supportive to the solar plexus chakra in small quantities.
Contains yellow/tan/golden colored foods, which help raise the body’s frequency to that of the solar plexus, helping to balance it.
Contains cruciferous veggies, which are especially balancing to the heart chakra.
This is an ethnic food recipe, which supports both the throat and root chakras as eating these foods helps one to connect with other cultures, opening up communication.
Contains green colored foods, which support and balance the heart chakra.
As a whole, the spices in this recipe, work through the third eye chakra.
A Short Note on Swaps or Ingredients:
*While I cannot guarantee that using these swaps will yield the same flavors I have create in this recipe, these swaps should generally work well! *
You can swap the chicken for any other protein of your choice. You can even swap the chicken for organic tofu or tempeh! It's also delicious vegetarian without the inclusion of any additional protein.
Coconut aminos is a soy/gluten free soy sauce alternative that is DELICIOUS! It has a slightly sweeter tasted the soy sauce but it still deep and rich in flavor. I think it is wayyyy tastier! If you cannot find thins in your local grocery store in the Asian section, you can easily buy it online!
Sweet potato starch noodles are an Asian noodle alternative that are also known as glass noodles. They have a texture that is very reminiscent of spaghetti pasta but these noodles absorb the sauce and flavors that they are cooked in/with.
I used bacon fat as my choice fat in this recipe because it adds so much depth of flavor, but feel free to replace with another fat of choice like grass-fed butter or ghee (if you can tolerate it) or avocado oil. I wouldn't recommend coconut oil for this one as the flavor profile clashes with the savory nature of this dish!
Equipment Needed to Create this Recipe:
a wooden spoon
a good knife
Veggie Filled Japchae
(gluten free & AIP/paleo)
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 30-40 minutes Yield: 6-8
1 package of sweet potato starch noodles
3 oz. broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large zucchini, cut into half moons
¼ head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
6 oz. mushrooms, sliced
5 oz. can sliced water chestnuts
½ a 13.5 oz. can of bamboo shoots
1 cup julienned or shredded carrots
2-4 tbsp. of bacon fat, or other fat of choice
½ cup of onion, sliced
1 cup coconut aminos
1 cup of bone broth
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. Red Boat fish sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. garlic granules
6 garlic cloves, minced
Shredded meat from the breasts of 1 rotisserie chicken
½ cup green onion, chopped
How to Create the Recipe:
Prep all your veggies. Cook your sweet potato starch noodles according the package.
While your noodles cook, turn your attention back to the veggies.
In a very large skillet/wok, heat the bacon fat over medium high heat. If your skillet/wok is big enough, add all your veggies and cook for about 10 minutes (stirring occasionally so they veggies do not stick) or until the veggies are done to your liking. If your skillet/wok isn’t big enough, split the bacon fat in half and work in 2 rounds. Remove the veggies from the skillet/wok and place into a large bowl.
When your noodles are done, rinse them very well and cut them into shorter strands. Set aside.
Next, you’ll want to make the sauce. You can add all the sauce ingredients but the garlic to the same skillet. Over medium heat, cook until the sauce begins to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Then add the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute. Leave half of the sauce in the pan, and reserve the other half.
To the skillet with the sauce, add the cooked and rinsed noodles. Sauté them over medium heat for just long enough to soak up the sauce. These noodles absorb everything! Keep that in mind. Add the reserved sauce to the bowl of veggies and toss well to coat them.
Portion the noodles into 6-8 servings, followed by the veggies, then the shredded chicken (if you're using it) and finally top them with the chopped green onions.
This freezes exceptionally well! I made and stored these as post parts freezer meals to use after Luna arrived and it really came in handy to have nourishing, healthy meals ready to go once defrosted!
Feel free to cut this recipe in half to make a lesser amount, but I personally love having extra for freezer meals and leftovers for the week!
Serving Size: 1 (based off of 6 servings total including the chicken)
Fat: 7 g
Carbs: 87 g
Protein: 13 g
*All nutritional information are estimations and will vary.