Before I get into the recipe, I wanted to give you a quick peek at the Daytime TV studios where I tape cooking segments at. It’s a show that’s syndicated in nearly 200 markets in the US with hosts Cyndi Edwards and the incredibly funny Jerry Penacoli (formerly of EXTRA.) My cooking segments are around 4 minutes-ish long. We tape the segment and then it gets aired 2 or 3 days after that, depending on the market.
The studio is HUGE. This is just a picture of the back half.
Here’s another angle. I’m fascinated by the ceiling – every available inch is covered by cables that hold up lights, speakers and I have no idea what else is hidden up there.
This is from the kitchen, looking out towards the cameras. There are 3 cameras, but I pretty much don’t look straight at the camera, except for at the beginning (intro and saying hi) and at the end (saying goodbye.) My focus is on the food and cooking alongside and chatting with the co-host.
The cooking segment is divided into 4 parts:
But just because I’m not LOOKING at the camera, doesn’t mean that I ignore them! Quite the contrary. I always know with my peripheral vision which camera is on (see that red light on top of the middle camera?)
When I’m cooking and need to show something, I have to keep in mind to stop, make sure the camera gets it and hold my hands still while I’m still talking and cooking. That prevents you, the viewer, from getting all dizzy trying to follow my hands!
Whether or not my cooking is done, time over is time over! Daytime doesn’t like to re-record or “cut” – we go with the flow and do it all in one take. Unless there’s a oopsie with a camera. Even if *I* make a mistake or don’t finish cooking in time – there’s no re-do!
That’s what I love, though. Learning to tape cooking segments this way has trained me to let go of perfection. In fact, if you happen to see the segment tomorrow or Friday, you’ll see that not only did I forget an ingredient (cilantro) but also made a MASSIVE mess trying to get the Pad Thai Zoodles on the stupid plate! LOL. The co-host, Cyndi and I laughed about it on-camera and just let it slide.
It makes the show a lot more natural, less “scripted” (nothing is scripted and there is no teleprompter other than the intro and the exit.) I’ve also trained myself to mentally walk through the recipe backwards to see what I have to prep or cook beforehand, so that we end up perfectly on time. For this recipe, I had to pre-cook the tofu. I also pre-spiralized the “zoodles” so we had a batch ready to go into the wok. So I started cooking while Cyndi was zoodling away with the zoodle-maker, called the Paderno 4-Blade Spiralizer magical machine.
If for some reason, Rob waves his 2-minute fingers at us, and there’s NO WAY that I’ll be done in those 2 minutes, I’ll either:
- Cut out steps or some ingredients, just get something to taste*
- Freak out
Just kidding. I don’t freak out. One time, the chicken was not cooked through, it was obvious that it wasn’t cooked through, but time was up and it was the “taste” time. I ended up saying, “So Jerry, we are running out of time, the chicken needs to cook for another couple of minutes. Here. take a fork and give the vegetables and the sauce a try!” We proceeded to dip into the pan (it was a one-pan dish) and tasted NOT-CHICKEN. This way, Jerry had something to say about the flavor for the camera. I hope I didn’t give him salmonella or gastroenteritis.
Sooooo, enough about the TV! What about the food that I came here for????
This was the recipe I made on-air, but I had to re-create it for the photo shoot on a little camping stove in my backyard (Less than 1 week before I get a real kitchen back!)
By the way, my cilantro looks very parsley-ish, We grow both. I wonder if they cross-pollinate and now I’ve just created Cilantrey or Partro. Or, as my friend, Cheri, would call it, “You-Ruined-The-Parsley.”
The JERF Analysis
JERF is “Just Eat Real Food”
Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Sauce (though we are only using 3 tablespoons of the sauce)
*I haven’t done enough research on cooking oils yet to put them in a category.
I don’t mind using Prepared Pad Thai Sauce – or any shortcut sauce as long as the JERF column is significant. This recipe serves four, so 3 tablespoons of the sauce isn’t a deal-breaker. HOWEVER, if you want to stay JERF, go check out Todd and Diane’s version of Pad Thai Zoodles! They make their sauce from scratch, with ketchup, fish sauce, vinegar, etc.
The Zoodle Machine a.k.a. Spiralizer
This is what I used to make the zucchini noodles: the Paderno 4-Blade Vegetable Spiralizer
I had previously done a video review of the Paderno 3-Blade (earlier model) and other options – here’s the Spiralizer Review Video. This new 4-Blader is even better – extra blade to cut angelhair sized zoodles and a metal rod so that you can make those carnival-style potato chips on a stick.
The Paderno 4-Blade Spiralizer price is $49.95 on Amazon. It’s a must-by if you plan on making a lot of zoodles. If you think it’s a once-in-a-while thing, you might want to consider one of my most-used tools in the kitchen – the Oxo Julienne Peeler for $10 – it’s smaller, fits in a drawer, cheaper.
How to cook Pad Thai Zoodles
I’m a crispy-crunchy tofu-lover. To make sure they stay crispy-crunchy, you have to cook them separately and remove the tofu from the pan so that they don’t drown in the sauce or vegetables.
Toss them in a little oil, add to hot pan, Brown on each side. This takes 1-2 minutes per side. But it’s worth the wait.
Remove them from the pan
Next up, the eggs! Look how beautiful our hens’ eggs are. The yolks are so bright, vivid, vibrant.
Give ’em a good scramble. Then remove them from the pan.
Why remove the eggs? Good question:
1. I like my eggs to be perfectly cooked, firm, separate from the rest of the stir-fry.
2. If I cook the eggs first, and then add everything else, the eggs will be overcooked. Plus, the “everything else” will be drowned by the wetness of the eggs. I want the “everything else” to have its own time in the wok, its own chance to fry in the cooking oil. Eggs are oil-hoggers.
3. If I cook all the vegetables first, then add the egg, then the raw egg will just “coat” the vegetables, making giant, soggy mess.
4. I could do this: Cook the aromatics (ginger, garlic, green onion), then cook the carrots, then zucchini. Then make a nice big hole in middle of wok, dribble in just a bit of cooking oil. Add eggs and scramble the eggs in that empty space. Once the eggs firm up, thoroughly mix all of the stir fry together and incorporate the cooked eggs.
HOWEVER – zucchini noodles cook way too fast. They are best cooked 80% of the way so that you still get some nice texture and bite. Soggy, overcooked zucchini becomes watery. Bad.
So to be on the safe side, I cook the eggs separate. You’ll see when I add them back into the pan later.
Once eggs are out, use a paper towel and just do a couple of swipes to clean the wok. Swirl in the remaining cooking oil, just a tiny bit, and add in the aromatics: ginger, garlic, green onion. Let that stir fry in the oil until crazy fragrant. This takes about 15-30 seconds.
By the way, the reason we only use 3 tablespoons of prepared Pad Thai sauce (and not the entire jar) is because we’re amping up the “aromatics” and flavor with the garlic, ginger and green onion.
Add in the carrots to the pan and stir fry. *NOTE I didn’t use the Paderno Spiralizer to cut these carrots (I chose to just buy a bag of matchstick cut carrots to save time) – because in order to use the spiralizer effectively, the carrots have to be FAT. My store carries wimpy organic carrots. The carrots from our garden are too skinny.
Cook for a minute or so – carrots take longer than zucchini to cook, so I add carrots in first. The secret to wok-cooking is knowing when to add ingredients. If I had added in the zucchini at the same time as the carrots, the zucchini would be overcooked while waiting for the carrots to catch up.
Now add in the zucchini zoodles.
Toss very well, let it stir fry for a bit until you start seeing the zucchini change color from opaque to just beginning stages of slightly transluscent. Zucchini cooks fast, so this doesn’t take long.
Add in the Pad Thai sauce – I use Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Sauce (gluten free, dairy free, but it does contain fish sauce, so not vegetarian.) It’s on the sweet side, so if you feel like you need more salty flavor but not sweetness, try adding a few sprinkles of fish sauce or soy sauce.
Add in the tofu and the eggs. Toss! Toss! Toss!
To finish, squeeze in some fresh lime juice. (Toss again), Top with peanuts and cilantro. Serve with more lime wedges and some hot sauce!
On the TV segment that I taped, I used a new product that I just got from Rodelle. Sriracha Seasoning!!
It is like an explosion of spice, garlic, salty, sweet, tangy. When we did our “taste” on air, both Cyndi and I said, “WOW!”
The good: Adds a POW of flavor. Ingredients that I can pronounce: sugar, salt, spices, garlic, vinegar powder (maltodextrin + distilled white vinegar), citric acid, soybean oil.
The bad: Sugar is the first ingredient, but since it’s a spice, you’re only using 1/4 teaspoon per serving.
I can’t wait to try this as a dry rub for shrimp on the grill, well….anything on the grill. I’m sure it will be wonderful on a roast too!
What I used to make Pad Thai Zoodles
Thank you for using my affiliate links! 🙂
The magical Paderno zoodle machine. See my video review of different spiralizers here
The highly recommended Oxo Julienne Peeler that I love, love, love
The Sriracha spice blend:
My favorite wok:
Pad Thai Zoodles
The prepared Pad Thai sauce is sweet. Start with 3 tablespoons of the sauce and if you feel like you need more salty (but not sweet), add a teaspoon of fish sauce or soy sauce. If you enjoy more sweet, add another tablespoon of the Pad Thai sauce.
Ingredients:8 ounces extra firm tofu, cubed
2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1 stalk green onion, cut into 2" lengths
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 cup matchstick cut carrots
3 large zucchini, cut into noodle spirals
3 tablespoons prepared Pad Thai sauce (or more, depending on taste)
1 lime, halved (use 1 half for step 5, cut other half into wedges for serving)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
sprigs of cilantro, minced
1. Pat the tofu very dry with paper towels. Toss just 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil with the tofu. Heat a wok over high heat. When hot, carefully slide the tofu (be careful of any splatters). Brown all sides of tofu, about 1-2 minutes each side. Remove tofu to plate and set aside.
2. With a paper towel, wipe the wok clean. Swirl in just half of the remaining cooking oil and turn the heat to medium-high. When hot, add in the eggs and scramble. Remove the eggs to to the tofu plate and set aside.
3. Return wok to medium-high heat. Swirl in the last of the cooking oil and turn heat to medium-high. When hot, add in the green onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 15 seconds, until fragrant.
4. Turn heat to high and add in the carrots. Toss and stir fry for 1 minute. Then add in the zucchini noodles. Toss well and when zucchini begins to soften (about 1 minute), then stir in the Pad Thai sauce. Add in the eggs and the tofu. Toss, cook for 2 minutes. Taste and add additional sauce if desired.
5. Squeeze a little lime on top, top with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serve with additional lime wedges.