Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Food for the trail

Looking to broaden my diet when I go camping, so here's a couple of things I'm going to try:

Corn tortillas: These require two ingredients: Corn flour, and water. That's it. Oil your griddle with your choice of oil such as olive oil (and making a usable steel griddle that'll easily slide into a backpack is an interesting exercise for later), heat it up, mix corn flour and water to desired proportions in a bowl or something, toss on griddle for 30 seconds, turn over, wait 30 seconds, done.

Lentils: The problem with most beans for camping is that they take so friggin' long to cook. Unless you're cooking over a campfire and have a *lot* of wood available, that's not acceptable, especially here in the west where wood may be scarce and thus we're stuck with liquid-fueled or canister stoves for the most part. Red lentils (masoor dal) take only 10 minutes to cook after you bring the water to a boil (which takes about 3 minutes with typical stoves) -- acceptable. I just need to find a good recipe that can be done with only powdered spices, since that's all I can carry in a backpack...

Basmatic rice. Regular rice is too dull and dreary. This would go good with the lentils too.

Any other suggestions for what I might do for something from my local Mexican or Indian groceries that's a) easy/quick/little fuel to cook b) has a long lifespan and needs no refrigeration, and c) is easily transportable in a backpack?

-- Badtux the Food Penguin


  1. Other than the obvious "trail mix" I got nuthin'.

    Happy Trails!

  2. split peas cook more quickly than other dried beans too, but yes lentils are my favorite. and basmati rice is delicious. i haven't tried jasmine rice, but i hear it's good too.

    most dishes that can be made with beans and rice can be flavored with dried spices, especially if you add dried onion/garlic/peppers to your spice repertoire. beans generally tend to need a lot of spicing, since they seem to 'soak up' the flavors, i like curry spices with lentil dishes, but you can probably look up some middle eastern and indian recipes online that use lentils, and adpat their spice mixes.

  3. Check out Mountain House freeze-dried foods, 'Tux. They offer a wide range of menu choices in meal-sized foil pouches, great taste, light weight and compact portability for about the same price as a meal at Mickey D's. Just add boiling water to the inner pouch, let it sit for 5 minutes, and stir. I used them on a 4-day backpacking trip on the Rogue River Trail a few years back, and completely swear by them; now, I wouldn't use anything else.

  4. Phil, a) I don't like most of the Mountain House freeze dried meals, b) They're quite expensive and I'm a cheap penguin, and c) they're very bulky and you can't carry many in a compact-sized bear canister, required for hiking in the Sierra Nevada due to the bear problem. Both lentils and masa flour are very compact and it's easy to carry a lot of them in a bear canister. Hopefully that gives you some idea what I'm trying to accomplish here -- i.e., find some foods that will allow reserving the few Mountain House meals that I can carry to be a change of pace rather than the primary food I carry on the trail.

    - Badtux the Hiking Penguin

  5. Dried onion, garlic, salt, and curry powder sound like something you would like in your lentils? Olive oil brings out the flavors also.


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