Asian cuisine involves fast, fresh cooking techniques that can produce bold flavors ― perfect for camping. Our dinner menu includes an appetizer of easy grilled satay and a simple pad thai, both of which are largely made ahead of time.
Beef or Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
1. Rinse 1 pound flank steak or boned, skinned chicken breasts and pat dry. Slice diagonally across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
2. In a zip-lock plastic bag (1-gal. capacity), mix 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons Asian red chili paste; add meat. Cover and chill up to 1 day (if making satay on first day of camping), or seal and freeze up to 1 week ahead. Pack frozen and allow to thaw in ice chest if planning to make the satay on second or third day.
3. Buy 12-inch wooden skewers and peanut sauce.
1. Lift meat from marinade (discard marinade) and thread each strip on a skewer.
2. Grill over high heat (you can hold your hand at grill level 2 to 3 seconds), turning once, until beef is browned on the outside and still slightly pink in center or chicken is no longer pink in center (cut to test), about 5 minutes.
3. Serve with peanut sauce on the side.
Camp Stove Pad Thai
1. Buy pad thai sauce, or make your own. Pour 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add 1/3 cup minced shallots and 2 teaspoons minced garlic and stir until limp, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate (or substitute 1 tablespoon dark molasses and increase lime juice to 1/4 cup), 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce, 2 teaspoons chili powder, and 2 teaspoons lime juice; cook 1 minute. Let cool; chill airtight up to 1 week.
2. Seal 1 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup rinsed bean sprouts, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped green onions, and 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts in separate plastic bags; chill vegetables and cilantro.
3. Purchase 1 package (14 oz.) dried rice noodles, 1 lime, and 1 pound frozen cooked shelled shrimp (pack frozen) or 1 pound firm tofu (cut into 1-in. chunks; seal in a bag and chill).
4. Pack a large pan; a pasta insert or a strainer; a medium pan for sauce; and tongs for combining noodles and sauce.
1. Halve and slice lime.
2. In a large pan over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until barely tender to bite, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse well in cool water. Return noodles to pan.
3. In a medium pan over high heat, heat sauce and shrimp or tofu. Add to noodles with carrots, sprouts, cilantro, green onions, and peanuts; mix to coat. Accompany with lime slices.
Camp food basics