Good eats at camp

How to make scrambled eggs, pad thai, beef or chicken satay, and gourmet s'mores at camp


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

At home:

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.

In camp:

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

At home:

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.

In camp:

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

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