Genius Recipes

One-Ingredient Noodles as Easy as Scrambled Eggs

This week’s Genius Recipe is a Passover tradition from the grandmother Julia Turshen never met.

March 24, 2021

Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Founding Editor and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.


Until I tried this recipe, I would not have thought homemade noodles would be on my agenda this week, this year, or at least until my 2-year-old has completed her mission to relocate every object in our home.

Even when I saw that the noodles, in this case, were simply beaten eggs, swirled in a pan to make thin, tender omelettes you can stack and slice like basil leaves, I still doubted I’d have the patience. It looked like the midpoint between crepes and omelettes, two dishes that stress skill and execution—why wouldn’t these be the same?

These homemade noodles, I can do—anytime. Photo by Linda Xiao. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.

But I was entirely wrong, and I should have realized as much, knowing that this recipe comes from Julia Turshen, champion of approachable, feel-good cooking. Her new cookbook, Simply Julia, takes doability and joy to heart perhaps more than any she’s done before.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“These noodles are awesome! I've been making these for my daughter a few years now to make eating her eggs in the morning more fun! I will definitely try adding these to broth very soon, which should cover lunches now too, lol!”
— Omaraka80
Comment

This recipe is her recreation of the egg noodles her maternal grandmother made for Passover—all beaten egg, made without flour to align with the abstention from leavened foods for the holiday—passed down through the stories of her mom and aunts, since her grandmother passed away long before Julia was born. When Julia’s wife Grace was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and they were searching for comforting recipes that were low in carbohydrates, Julia remembered the noodles.

What makes them so forgiving, when they look so precise? You can be inexact with the eggs you slosh into the pan—any that don’t start setting immediately are poured back into the bowl. You also don’t need to flip—just let them set, nudge your omelette onto a plate, repeat. They’re sturdy enough to survive tumbling to the plate gracelessly (in fact, I know no other way). And it doesn’t matter if you end up with four or five or six, or if some tear or come out amoeba-like—all will be noodles in the end.

These noodles are such a simple and natural expression of the egg, and I’ve learned they exist all over the world. I’ve most recently seen them in the xián dòu ji āng (Savory Soy Milk) and sān xiān xiǎo hún tun (Thrice-Fresh Small Wontons) in Betty Liu’s new cookbook My Shanghai and the Nyonya-Style Singapore Noodles and Peppery Vegetarian Rice in Grace Young’s classic Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge. (Please share in the comments where you’ve seen them, too.)

In Julia’s favorite version, they’re twirling in golden chicken broth, made rich with onion skins and whichever chicken parts you have on hand (or don’t—you can just buy a pound of wings). In Simply Julia, she suggests riffs like a phở-inspired broth, poaching in chicken, melting in greens. I’ve hid random scraggles of herbs in the beaten eggs, and used them to stretch leftovers into a saucy plate of pasta that suddenly feels complete.

And I’ve made them with a rascally toddler at my side, and watched as she wrapped them around her tiny fingers, popping them into her mouth one by one. One day we’ll make noodles in more complicated forms together, but on any other, nothing will stop us from making these.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Perhaps something perfect for beginners? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

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  • Jenny
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  • Omaraka80
    Omaraka80
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."

23 Comments

Jenny March 25, 2021




Actually, if you want a GOLDEN broth, be sure to include the onion peels. They are a natural dye and also impart an elusive earthy taste. I learned that trick from my Mother-in-Laws Mom, who was a Ukrainian Jewish immigrant. She considered the peels to be an absolutely essential part of the recipe.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. March 26, 2021
Yes, this is in Julia's recipe, too!
 
Rebecca March 25, 2021
I’ve been doing this for ever. I add them to my fried rice. It makes it a meal rather than a side dish.
 
Karen L. March 25, 2021
My parents had a Trinidadian-Chinese takeout restaurant. My mother would occasionally make these thin omelets are use them as a wrapper for a meat filling. (We are Chinese so she used a well seasoned wok.) She would then spread the filling on the egg pancakes, roll them up and slice them on the diagonal for presentation. These were a special order, usually for weddings.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. March 26, 2021
Thank you so much for sharing.
 
Andrew W. March 25, 2021
I haven't seen them taken out and cut noodle style before, but the technique reminds me of Japanese style tamagoyaki. If you roll the layers up to one side of the pan, add more egg while they're still in there, and keep adding the new layers to the roll you'll get a rough tamagoyaki (in japan they're made in rectangular pans for even edges). Also, you could *very* slowly twist the middle of the cooking egg with a pair of chopsticks and get a Korean "tornado" omelette (usually served over rice).
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. March 26, 2021
Could watch both of those in YouTube videos for hours.
 
Omaraka80 March 24, 2021
These noodles are awesome! I've been making these for my daughter a few years now to make eating her eggs in the morning more fun! I will definitely try adding these to broth very soon, which should cover lunches now too, lol!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. March 26, 2021
Ha!
 
Roberta B. March 24, 2021
I really enjoy my weekly deliveries of Genius Recipes. Kristen, your recipes are marvelous for their simplicity, flavor and ingenuity. Thanks!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. March 26, 2021
Thank you, Roberta!
 
Sharon K. March 24, 2021
I make a similar recipe from my BUBBE - but my recipe uses potatoe starch- the recipe can be used to make BLINTZES too
 
Anita104 March 25, 2021
What is the ratio of potato starch to egg?
 
Sharon K. March 25, 2021
GREAT-GREAT GRANDMA TILLIE’S PASSOVER NOODLES ( Grandma Sharon)

For 6 servings noodles:
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups water
6 Tablespoons Potatoe Starch
1 teaspoons kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
3 teaspoons oil + oil as needed for skillet

In a medium bowl mix thoroughly (I use hand beater) 3 eggs, 6 Tb potato starch, water, salt, pepper and oil. Mixture SHOULD LOOK THICK & CREAMY (doesn’t really you need to keep stirring potatoe starch that settles on bottom of bowl)

Heat your smallest fry pan - spray with pam , then sprinklea few drops of oil into pan- with a paper towelgrease pan with oil-( heat pan til drops of water dance in pan. Measure about 1/4 cup of batter into skillet & tilt pan to spread evenly on surface. When batter looks dry -flip over to cook other side. Try to regulate heat & time of frying so only cooks to light gold
Invert skillet above a plate or onto wax paper- let cool- when cool roll up & cut crosswise
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. March 26, 2021
Thank you for sharing!
 
Jcblue March 24, 2021
My mother made these for Passover. Thanks for the memories!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. March 26, 2021
Chag Sameach!
 
Steph March 24, 2021
I have also never seen these before, but will be trying them! Is there really no danger of them disintegrating/losing their consistency in hot broth or sauce?
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. March 26, 2021
They're amazingly sturdy, yet tender. Julia does recommend combining just before serving, though.
 
Lukshen March 24, 2021
My mom always made these “noodles” for Passover. They were great especially if she used chicken fat instead of oil.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. March 26, 2021
Oh, yum.
 
franklinhc March 24, 2021
Yes, I have seen this technique used in clear broths in Germany, specifically in southern Waden-Buttenberg, although the "Noodles" were always thinner, it looks delicious, thank you.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. March 26, 2021
Thank you for sharing!