Rich, creamy, and super filling – this simple red curry is a great backpacking meal for your next trip into the backcountry.
When hiking at elevation, especially early or late in the season, the temperature can drop without warning. There have been times where we hike the whole day in shorts and short sleeves but are forced to throw on every layer we have the minute the sun goes down. But on cool nights, one way of the surest ways to lift our spirits is a warm bowl of spicy curry.
At home, curry is one of our all-time favorite cold weather comfort foods. It’s quick, easy, and can be modified to use whatever ingredients we have on hand. Now, making a great bowl of curry while backpacking does require a little more foresight than our free-wheeling weeknight dinner approach, but it still has all the same benefits. It’s fast and simple to cook out in the field and can be altered to accommodate an array of different special diets.
For the base grain, we’re big fans of Minute Rice instant rice. Both the white rice and brown rice versions cook incredibly fast (around 5 minutes), which saves fuel and therefore weight in our pack.
At home, we use curry paste, but out in the field, we use curry powder. For this particular recipe, we used Thai Spice from Spicely, but we have also experimented with McCormick’s Red Curry Powder and the Thai Style Red Curry Powder sold under Kroger’s Private Selection brand. Whatever spice blend you end up using, make sure you try it out before your trip to ensure that your meal has a spice level you’re comfortable with.
To make the curry sauce, we mix the curry powder together with some powdered coconut milk and a little bit of PB2 powdered peanut butter. It’s only three ingredients, but it produces a really complex sauce that’s creamy, spicy, and slightly nutty all at once.
After a long day on the trail, we think it’s important to incorporate some protein into our dinners to help our muscles repair overnight. For this recipe, we used freeze dried chicken, which we had purchased in bulk. However, TVP (textured vegetable protein) or soy curls would be excellent vegan options as well.
For this recipe we had the opportunity to partner with humangear. We’ve been using their smartly designed camping utensils for the past few years, but we recently got the chance to test out their new Flexibowl and GoToob+ liquid containers.
We really like that the FlexiBowl can fold in half for different meal sizes, turned inside out for easy cleaning, and squeezed to fit into any space inside our bear canister.
As for the GoToob+, they are the only liquid container we’ve tried that we have 100% confidence in. Trust us, all you need is one catastrophic cooking oil leak inside your pack or bear barrel to understand the importance of having a quality liquid container. We also really appreciate the extra peace of mind that the LoopLock cap provides. We’re using GoToobs now and we’re never going back!
So if you want to chase away the chills on your next backpacking trip, give this Thai Red Curry a try!
More backpacking recipes
Thai Red Curry Rice with Peanut Coconut Sauce
- At home: Add all the dry ingredients to a ziplock bag. Pack the oil in a GoToob+ bottle.
- At camp: Bring ¾ cup (6 oz) of water to a boil. Add the contents of the ziplock and the oil to the pot and stir. Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until the rice, chicken, and veggies are rehydrated.