This is a free-form rendition of a favourite recipe that was a staple in a list that we rotated through when we were working on the Ivvavik Grizzly Bear Study in the northwest Yukon. Only way back then, the food selection was limited at the nearest grocery store—the Northern Store in Inuvik, a mere 200 km to the east—so we used Italian pasta instead. Every 10 days or so our groceries were flown in by a Dehavilland Twin Otter or a sometimes a Bell 206 Helicopter.
Kara, Laura, and Jen started their wilderness adventure in the Mount Edziza and Spectrum Range area with this recipe. Visit Kara Pitman’s guest blog post for her story about using the cookbook that I wrote for them to support preparations for their trip. The post is filled with stunning photos. There you’ll find links to recipes for the nine dinners that they prepared (dehydrating fresh vegetables and packaging meals) a few days before heading out on their hike and then cooked, almost from scratch, each night along the way.
Recipe Rating: Beginner, Hint of Minimalist, or Just Lazy
This dinner is a relatively light weight and quick and easy to prepare. It fed three hungry women that exerted considerable amount of energy on this trip. You can try it at home to determine the amounts needed to fulfill the energy needs of your group.
Store Bought Prepared Food
300 g Rice Noodles (for Pad Thai)
1 onion, diced
1 cup peas (frozen)
200 g red pepper (1 large), diced
250 g (approx. 9 medium) mushrooms, thinly sliced
¼ onion, small dice
1 Tbsp ginger, small dice
2 cloves garlic, thin slice
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
Herbs & Spices
¾ cup coconut milk (made from powdered coconut milk)
1-2 tbsp red curry paste
1/2 peanut butter, crunchy
½ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- Prepare rice noodles as per instructions.
- Saute onions, ginger, garlic
- Add rehydrating veggies. Simmer veggies with enough water to barely cover them. Cook until well rehydrated. Add water as needed to hydrate.
Add coconut milk to strained noodles and mix thoroughly off heat. Place the pot on the stove at low heat and add remaining ingredients one at time, stirring throughout. Garnish with toasted peanuts.
I tend to use A Taste of Thai rice noodles. They seem to survive the rigors of camping well. Soak in hot water 25-30 minutes. Don’t over soak or they will be mushy.
Finding Powdered Coconut Milk
I often buy powdered coconut milk at Nature’s Pantry in Smithers. When it wasn’t available in other communities, I’ve had success at getting health food stores to special order it. At least one of them, continues to carry it.
On thinking about food safety:
Many years ago, someone warned me about the potential for food poisoning if natural peanut butter is stored without refrigeration. As I recall, that person even had a scary story about botulism to go with the warning. So at home, I use natural peanut butter, without preservatives, and refrigerate it if I don’t plan on using it in fairly short order. When camping, I take peanut butter that has preservatives in it and use it early in my trips. When I’m at home, I think the taste of natural peanut butter (crunchy!) far exceeds that of the over processed variety but when the over-processed variety is mixed with fresh air and intensive exercise it even tasted great too.
Even so, now I am re-thinking my approach. According to foodsafetysite.com, a website of Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina “Peanut butter is a not a potentially hazardous food“. Well, I’m not a food safety expert but a university website that provides “…current and relevant food safety information to farmers, consumers, and the food industry” is good enough for me. I think the flavour potential for the camping version of this recipe has just gone up a notch in my life, one of the perks of blogging.