So you are off camping for the last bank holiday until Christmas, I wish you safe travels, good weather and excellent campfire cuisine. Yes, just because you are going back to nature somewhat, and just very slightly off grid (in the sense that you won’t have a proper kitchen at your disposal), doesn’t mean that you have to eat poorly. As the scent of these wonderfully aromatic dishes wafts across the campsite you’ll transport yourselves to far flung corners of the globe, where there might be a slightly better chance of sun if truth be told! Never mind, bring a touch of the exotic to your chosen enclave with these easy one pot recipes.
Spinach & Chorizo Stew
Don’t be mad, this is not strictly what we would know as a curry but this dish still packs some spice. I’ve sort of combined two of my favourite foods here, a piquant meat and a somewhat metallic leaf. The advantage of using chorizo is obvious, as a cured meat it can stand not being refrigerated, it is quite happy at ambient temperatures. Plus, it’s bloody gorgeous! Spinach is packed full of goodness too, it will help revitalize you after a hard days hiking as it is known to restore energy and vitality, it’s all that iron, vitamin K, A, C and B2! The nutty chestnut mushrooms add a third distinct flavour to the dish. This is such a simple and delicious recipe I’d bet you end up making it at home too!
Ingredients for 2
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced 4 chestnut mushrooms quartered
few sprigs of rosemary 1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 200g chorizo, diced
½ tsp grated nutmeg 1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 x 400g can of chickpeas 400g bag washed spinach leaves
Salt & pepper to taste
At home – I like to prepare all of the veg ahead of the trip and store in zip lock food bags, you can dice your meat at home too. This means not having to pack a chopping board or knives. Label the bag or Tupperware box with the name of the meal so you know what is what.
At camp - In your pot slowly heat the olive oil before adding the onion and gently frying for about 5 minutes to soften. Add the carrot, rosemary and bay leaf and cook for 2 or 3 minutes before adding the chorizo, mushrooms, garlic, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Keep the heat at medium to gently soften the vegetables, stirring often. The chorizo will begin to release its oil, be careful not to over crisp it.
Add the chickpeas and 100ml of water, bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook for about another 2 minutes, or until the spinach is nicely wilted and has turned a deep green. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve immediately with crusty bread.
Mushroom, Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Curry (V)
This is super easy and a campfire winner in my opinion. You can use your favourite curry powder for this and add as much or as little as you want depending on your own tastes. I particularly like using Jaffna Curry Powder for its heat and the flavour enhances all of the ingredients in the dish. The addition of the garam masala at the end really helps lift all of the wonderful flavours and aromas too.
Whichever curry powder you choose you are sure to be impressed with the ease and simplicity of this camping curry classic.
Ingredients for 4
1 tbsp vegeteable oil 1 onion, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato, cut into 2cm cubes 1 aubergine, cut into small cubes
250g baby button mushrooms 2-4 tbsp curry powder of your choice
150ml vegetable stock 400ml coconut milk
1 tbsp Garam Masala Pre-cooked naans to serve with
As before I would usually prep the veg ahead of the trip and store in food bags (Ziploc). It’s not necessary but I like to be as prepped as possible. If you buy pre-cooked naan bread (all the major supermarkets have a good range these days, or make your own) you can simply throw in a frying pan one at a time to warm through, tear and share, and repeat.
Heat the vegetable oil in your pot or pan and then add the onion and sweet potato together. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes or so, the potatoes should be softening. Add the cauliflower and mushrooms and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Stir through your chosen curry powder making sure all of the vegetables get a coat. Now add in the vegetable stock and coconut milk and simmer for approximately 8-10 minutes, until both the potato and cauliflower are just tender. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle the garam masala over the dish, stir once and then serve.
Tip: if you’d like a meat option you can add diced chicken to this dish. Brown the chicken on all sides before beginning the recipe, it will be cooked through when ready to serve.
Lamb & Pepper Madras
I use my own Parva Lava powder in this recipe but I have included a madras style spice mix in the ingredients, prepare the mix at home. This is delicious served in pitta bread too as a sort of sandwich.
Ingredients for 4
Ginger & garlic paste if you have it, if not then a thumb size stick of ginger and 6 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped finely
12 curry leaves 600g boneless lamb, cut into cubes
3 tsp ground coriander ½ tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin seeds 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp garam masala 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp tamarind paste, or to taste salt, to taste
Heat the oil in the pan and fry the onion until it becomes golden, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic paste if you prepped ahead, if not chop the garlic and ginger as finely as possible and add to the pan with the curry leaves. Cook for a minute before adding in the lamb. Brown the meat over a medium heat, stirring continuously.
Add all of the spices (except the garam masala), salt and tomatoes and stir it all through. Add just enough water to come halfway up the lamb. When it reaches a gentle simmer cover and cook for about 25 - 30 minutes. Finally, stir through the garam masala and add in the tamarind paste. Cook for another minute or two. Now taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve in pittas or with a naan.
Cannellini Bean Curry
Smooth, sweet and easy on the wallet this wonderful curry will make you forget there is no meat in it. Ready in under half an hour if you do some of your prep at home!
Ingredients for 4:
4 tbsp veg oil 1 tsp ground coriander
150ml coconut milk 1 tsp mustard seeds
2x 400g cannellini beans, drained 14 curry leaves
10 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 small onion, chopped
Thumbnail of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped 1 tsp sugar
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped ½ tsp turmeric
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped 1 tsp red chilli powder
Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop throw in the curry leaves, stir once and add the onion. Cook these for about 8-10 minutes, until they are soft and golden.
Next add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the salt and powdered spices and stir through thoroughly. Pour in the coconut milk as well as 200ml of water. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Add the beans and tomatoes and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Nearly there. Add the sugar and stir, taste to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. To thicken the curry up you can mash some beans on the side of the pot and stir back in. Garnish with the coriander and serve.
Cauliflower Curry with Cashews
I discovered this recipe whilst hunting for interesting side dishes to liven up a Sunday roast. I am a big fan of Heston Blumenthal’s sprouts with chilli & bacon so this was a natural must try, although this particular recipe is inspired by Sanjeev Kapoor.
Ingredients for 4
200g cashew nuts 2.5cm piece of cinnamon stick
400g cauliflower florets ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 ½ tablespoons Ceylon Curry Powder
1 onion chopped 300ml coconut milk
1 large green chilli, slit 100g frozen peas, defrosted
1 pandan leaf tied in a knot 1 tablespoon lemon juice
10 curry leaves salt to taste
1 teaspoon mustard seeds 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
At home – Lightly toast the cashews in a dry frying pan. Do this over a low heat and turn them out onto a cold plate to stop them from cooking further. Store in a food bag.
Heat the veg oil in a pan and sauté the onion with the green chilli, pandan leaf, curry leaves, mustard seeds, garlic and cinnamon stick until golden (about 8 minutes). Add the cauliflower, cashews, turmeric, Ceylon Curry Powder and salt to taste. Stir for a couple of minutes before pouring in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes before adding the peas and simmer for a further 3 mins or until the cauliflower florets are cooked through. Right at the end add the lemon juice, stir through and serve immediately.
Comments will be approved before showing up.