I rarely eat the same backcountry meal twice since I am constantly testing new recipes, but my best friend requests the same meal over and over again. We are planning a week long backpacking trip for later this summer and I’m providing the food. There was only one meal she asked me to make for our trip. One. Here is her favorite backpacking meal.


Thai Mango Chicken and Rice
Serves 1 – From One Pan Wonders II, More Backcountry Cooking

1 3 pouch chicken (or 3 tablespoons dried)
1/3 cup instant rice
3 tablespoons chopped dried mango
1 tablespoon dried bell pepper
1 tablespoon coconut crème powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

meals bagged up_std

At home: combine everything in a zip locking plastic bag. Carry the can of chicken separately. (If using dried chicken, add it with the dry ingredients)

At camp: place bag in a cozy. Add just enough water to cover. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Stir in the chicken and serve.

First you’ll need some dried chicken. If you don’t have a dehydrator or don’t want to bother with this step, substitute in a pouch of chicken. Just add it to meal after it has been rehydrated.  The rest of the ingredients can be purchased. Coconut crème powder is available at a variety Asian markets and Central Market.

I buy cans of chicken at Costco and use fruit roll liner trays. I don’t bother to drain the chicken. The liquid will dehydrate and add a little more flavor to the final product. Break up the chunks as small as possible. This is so it will both dehydrate and rehydrate quickly. If you leave large chunks, the chicken can be chewy when rehydrated.

dehydrator_std dehydrated chicken_std

Set the dehydrator to 145-150 and let the dehydrator run. It will take 6-8 hours, so be patient. You do not want any wet spots.

Once you have dried chicken, you can assemble the rest of your ingredients.  When I prepare backcountry meals, I never make just one at a time. I set up an assembly line and make 4-6.  Put out several bowls and measure each ingredient of the recipe into them.  Then dump each dry meal into a zip locking freezer bag. Don’t use regular sandwich bags. They are too thin. Label and date the bags with a Sharpie.  Now you have several backcountry meals, ready to grab and go.

meals ready to go_std

At camp, add just enough hot water to cover all of the ingredients. Stir well and let stand for 5-10 minutes or until rehydrated. Stir again and eat.  If you don’t want to eat out of a plastic bag, you can rehydrate the meal right in the pan or your bowl.

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