Chiang Mai Spicy Curry (Panang Meat or Tofu Curry)

[NOTE: This recipe can be made vegetarian!]

Living in the Bay Area allows me to indulge in a large lot of Asian dining options – the diversity here is immense and incredible. Part of that, however, leads to people like me to be utterly confused about the true origin of certain dishes. For example, one of my all-time favorite Asian eateries is called ‘Mingalaba‘ in downtown Burlingame, California. I find every and any excuse to drag my friends and family there for a meal :). However, go figure, they are a ‘Burmese-Mandarin’ restaurant. Now shoot, last time I checked, those are two very different cuisines with incredibly different ingredients and spices.

My favorite two dishes there are their ‘Tea Leaf Salad’ – it’s incredible and one of these days I will try and recreate it. Once I perfect it, I PROMISE to post the recipe. πŸ™‚ The other is their ‘Ong Noh Kaw Soi’, or their Coconut Chicken Soup.

This Panang Meat Curry recipe, my friends, is my attempt, to recreate what they have at Mingalaba.

For those of you that are of Thai background, you might wonder why I ate this typical Thai curry at a Burmese and Mandarin style restaurant. To be honest, I can’t answer your question and am at a complete loss. The further research I do on this curry , the more I am lead to a Thai and Malay heritage for the dish. Perhaps over the ages, cultures merged from a culinary perspective, or there were a lot of similarities – I don’t know.

But either way, here is my rendition of one of my favorite curry soups of all time – it’s creamy, spicy, crunchy (with the right garnishes), and extremely satisfying. It is traditionally served over fresh hot noodles, however this is a low-carb version without (but feel free to serve this soup over freshly cooked noodles (spaghetti, linguine, chinese noodles, or any other long, slender noodle that you fancy or have in your pantry). Also, you can make this curry vegetarian if you wish by using firm tofu instead of the meat, and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

And lastly, if you are in a rush (like I often am), don’t fret! Pick up a fresh rotisserie chicken from the market and add the cooked chicken at the very end! This will cut your cooking time down from 30 minutes to about 8-10 minutes TOTAL! It’s an incredible ONE-POT weeknight meal, yet fancy enough to serve to guests.

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

PS – If any of you wonderful readers of mine can shed any light on the heritage of this curry or your experience at home with it, would love to hear your thoughts! πŸ™‚

Yields: 6-8 generous servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons panang curry paste [Note: this yields a pretty spicy curry – if you want a milder flavor, cut back on this paste]
3/4 lb boneless chicken, cut into big bite-sized chunks (Variation: can also use 3/4 lb boneless beef such as tri-tip or flank steak sliced thinly. To cut down cooking time, use cooked rotisserie chicken. VEGETARIANS: Use firm tofu instead!)
2 15 oz. cans of unsweetened coconut milk (can use light coconut milk for a lower-calorie result)
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 teaspoons ground turmeric or 2 teaspoons curry powder
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Garnish ideas:
cooked noodles
chopped shallot
chopped red onion
chopped fresh cilantro
thinly sliced green onion or chives
lime wedges
fried onions
a dollop of sour cream
boiled eggs, sliced


Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and panang curry paste at the same time, mashing and stirring it constantly to soften it in the oil (I prefer using a wooden stick in order to avoid damaging my pan). Do this for about 1 minute. [Note: Use a splatter screen or be VERY careful! The hot oil and ingredients can jump up out of the pan and stain your clothes or worse, burn you!].

Add the chicken (or beef or tofu) and brown for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing using tongs. Allow them to brown evenly and incorporate well into curry paste and garlic mix.

Add the coconut milk, chicken (or vegetable) broth, turmeric (or curry powder), soy sauce, sugar and salt, stirring well. Bring to a gentle boil and adjust heat, maintaining a simmer. Cook about 10-15 minutes until meat is cooked through.

Stir in lime juice, remove from heat and serve HOT! Garnish with some (or all!) of the ideas I’ve given. Or get creative and garnish with whatever you enjoy πŸ™‚

New Delhi Sloppy Joe Burger

This recipe is truly an adaptation on the ‘American’ Sloppy Joe and has a refreshing Indian twist to it! As many of you may know, it is not common to find beef in India because of the religious connotations (in Hinduism, which is widely practiced in India, cows are considered holy, and therefore it is not kosher to eat them!) πŸ™‚

I make this recipe with both beef and lamb, but have included lamb as the primary meat source just out of respect since I am calling this an ‘Indian’ recipe. But you can even make it with ground turkey or chicken with outstanding results! I think it is lovely with beef and lamb (the red meat flavors really make you believe you are eating a true sloppy joe!), but either way is great.

Some might argue that my recipe here is a simple Indian ‘kheema’ recipe without the potatoes and peas, however I do think that this recipe tastes very different than Kheema. Try it out and let me know what you think! My husband gave it two thumbs up, and in my books, that means that it’s a keeper! πŸ˜‰

PS – he loves his spice, but if you are not interested in a high spice profile, omit the red chili flakes and/or the green chilies! You can always add more later if you want (or even top your burger with some Sriracha sauce!)

Yields: 4 sloppy joes!


Spicy Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger (or ginger powder)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 thin green chilis, seeded and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 (12 or 15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup toasted cashews
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or powder)
1 teaspoon ground all-spice powder
1/2 large white onion, finely sliced
1 bell pepper (color of your choice!), seeds and membrane removed, finely diced
3 green chilis (seeds intact if you want it spicy) chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 pound ground lamb (or beef or turkey or even chicken!)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup half-and-half
Small handful chopped fresh cilantro (soft stems included)
4 hamburger buns

Garnish: thinly sliced red onion & freshly chopped cilantro


For the spicy tomato sauce:

Heat the vegetable oil in your saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and chopped green chili. Saute slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Now add the garam masala and paprika and sautΓ© for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Keep warm.

For the lamb filling:

Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet and add the cumin seeds (or cumin powder) and all-spice and cook for about 20-30 Now add chopped onions and bell pepper, stirring occasionally until softened and starting to brown. Add the chili pepper. SautΓ© for another 2-3 minutes. Add salt, ground lamb, Worcestershire, cilantro, & black pepper. Using a wooden spoon, break up the lamb and incorporate all ingredients well. Let it cook for about 5-7 minutes until the meat is no longer pink and browned. Continue to use the wooden spoon to break up the beef into smaller pieces.

Now add the honey, half-and-half, and toasted cashews, stirring throughly. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. Take pan off of heat and set aside.

Assembling your burgers:

Toast the hamburger buns on a preheated grill pan or on a skillet. Fill with the meat mixture, top with the spicy tomato sauce and serve. My favorite way to serve this burger is to garnish with fresh red onion for a bit of crunch and fresh cilantro.

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Wine Pairing: A full-bodied Zinfandel or Pinot Noir is perfect with this spicy, red meat dish!…or a SWEET MANGO LASSI! πŸ˜‰

Slow-Cooked Meat Curry

Are you guys super busy during the week at the office but want a hot, satisfying meal waiting for you when you get home? Well do I have a great recipe for you – incredibly easy, basic ingredients, and best of all, it uses a SLOW COOKER! πŸ™‚ Made this last night and wowed the hubby with this at lunch today. πŸ˜‰

Serve this over brown or white rice or with some simple noodles or even fried rice! I promise to get some noodles and rice recipes coming in the next week to pair with these asian-inspired dishes!

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

PS – this may look a bit like my noodle-curry soup, but it’s totally different! The only likeness is the red curry paste as the base πŸ™‚

Yields: 4 servings


~2 lbs of chicken (can be any cut – thighs, breast, or even drumsticks!) – [Note: you can make this a beef or lamb dish too!]
1 large onion, sliced
1 14 oz. can coconut milk (or light coconut milk)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, grated (or 2 teaspoons ginger powder)
2 teaspoons red curry paste (can also use yellow or green curry paste, whatever you want!)
2 teaspoons brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Garnishes (optional): fresh thai or regular basil leaves (chopped or whole), fresh chopped cilantro, roasted peanuts, chopped green onions, steamed brocooli, sauteed mushrooms, or really any vegetable! πŸ™‚


Add all ingredients EXCEPT chicken into slow cooker. Whisk and make sure all ingredients are well-incorporated. Now add chicken pieces and cover with lid. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on the high setting for 3-5 hours. Taste seasoning and add salt and pepper, per your taste. Garnish with optional toppings!

Wine pairing: A sweet Riesling would be a perfect accompaniment to this spicy curry dish! – I really like the one I’ve linked to with spicy dishes and it’s very affordable and easily available too.

Priyanka’s Signature Chimichurri-Marinated Grilled Steak

Disclaimer: I have tagged this as ‘vegetarian’ because the chimichurri (the star of this dish) is in fact vegetarian and can be used on vegetables to make a delicious dish!

We are currently vacationing in Sonoma for the weekend and decided to light up the grill at the home we’re staying at for dinner last night. This recipe came together impromptu, and just comes to show how easy this is to put together on the fly as long as you have some of the crucial ingredients! We were originally going to just salt and pepper the steaks and grill them, but this chimichurri transformed our evening into a truly gourmet one! πŸ™‚ We paired it with a beautiful bottle of Nebbiolo (red) wine that we picked up earlier in the day while visiting Siduri Wines, one of my favorite wineries in the area, and it was a hit!

Chimichurri is a critical part of Argentinian cuisine, especially when we’re talking about grilled steak and meats! You can come across various versions of chimichurri at your local farmers markets, and the reason they are so incredibly popular is because of its versatility. This chimichurri does not need to be used on steak – it is fabulous with chicken, fish, and even lamb! Chimichurri is delicious as a marinade like in this recipe, but can also be wonderful drizzled over fresh vegetables (oven roasted or even raw!).

There is really no right or wrong way to do a chimichurri. You can omit cilantro if you don’t like it and make a parsley-only chimichurri or vice-versa. You can come up with your own proportions, omit certain ingredients I used, or even add fresh tomatoes to the blender for a twist! Feel free to use my signature chimichurri as a base to finding your own lovely signature chimichurri, or feel free to start with mine to find your groove with this amazing sauce. In my personal opinion, I think the garlic is so delicious with meat, and I always add lemon juice because it tenderizes the meat wonderfully.

The herbaciousness of this chimichurri is just SO out of this world that I know you will all enjoy my signature chimichurri recipe. And apologies in advance for this picture of the steak – I couldn’t grab it fast enough for a picture, and before I knew it, a few bites were already taken πŸ˜‰ THAT TASTY!!!!


1 cup fresh parsley firmly packed, stems removed
1 cup fresh cilantro firmly packed, stems removed
5-6 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons chopped onion (or 1/4 onion) – can be red, white, or yellow
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1.5 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
Red pepper flakes to taste

3-4 steaks, approximately 8 ounces each, whichever cut you like


Put all ingredients for chimichurri in a blender or food processor until well-incorporated.

Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl and taste. Adjust salt and red pepper flake seasoning to your taste (note: since this recipe does not call for salting the steak, this chimichurri should be on the saltier side as steaks should be well salted!)

**This chimichurri can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days**

Reserve some of the chimichurri in a bowl for when you serve the steaks. Pour the rest onto the steaks and marinate for 10-15 minutes while you heat up your grill (either grill pan on the stove or bbq outside!)

Grill the steaks on each side until it is cooked the way you like it – I always prefer it medium rare!

Serve and garnish with the reserved chimichurri.

Variations: Use this chimichurri on vegetables, chicken or fish! If you have some steak leftover, slice it and add it to a salad for a wonderful weekday lunch!

Wine Pairing: Drink a big bold red wine with this dish!